I am extremely pleased to be a part of the Blue Collar Conservative Group which has more than 160 MPs signed up to it. The aim of the group and this conference is to turn politics on its head, getting ministers to answer the public’s concerns and ensuring policy is shaped from the street up.
As a new MP and in a year that has been so challenging in terms of engagement with constituents, the approach of Blue Collar Conservatives led by Esther McVey has been a revelation. The opportunity to facilitate direct discussions between my constituents and government ministers and include inputs from local business leaders has been invigorating. We had discussions at Ferryhill Station, The Big Club and the Aviator Bar, both in Newton Aycliffe, and we visited Newton Aycliffe businesses Ebac and Finlay Structures, all in one day! We were the first session to be recorded and the engagement from both residents and business leaders was inspirational and I look forward to repeating this in future.
The Blue Collar Conservatives conference, in conjunction with the Daily Express, will be live streamed each evening and will see different areas of the country featured with members of the public, business owners, teachers, parents and families talking about issues most affecting them with Cabinet Ministers answering their key points.
Tatton MP Esther McVey, who devised the plan with BCC MPs believe this is the start of doing traditional party conferences in a very different way.
She said: “These are really important issues. We have been looking at local transport systems and the need to create a level playing field across the country, education and its failings to ensure we deliver for each child. We have discussed industry and how we will recover from Covid and focus on British businesses and help by continuing to shop locally and buy British goods. Other issues include tackling crime, problems around grooming and drugs, and the economy and help for those people who have fallen through the cracks and how we support people moving forward from the pandemic.
“BCC has always been about taking politics to the people, getting outside the Westminster bubble and hearing what people really have to say. In our first conference we will be travelling to Mansfield, Sedgefield, Manchester and Birmingham to hear what is being said on the ground and at the end of every day we will be having a big debate which we are going to take back to Westminster. Cabinet ministers will listen and respond, and we will push them on what they are doing now and in light of hearing the debate what they are going to do next. BCC is turning politics on its head and giving the power back to the people. We will be discussing issues that matter to people and I am proud to be part of something that is demanding action from Government which will really make a difference to peoples’ lives and those of their communities.”
Home Secretary Priti Patel, Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson and Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove will each answer a session.
When originally planned it was hoped hundreds of people from across the country could have attended the week-long event but now in order to comply with social distancing and Coronavirus restrictions the entire event will be streamed online.
To watch the event visit www.bluecollarconservatism.co.uk/live from 6.30pm each weekday evening. To take part in the live Q &A submit a question or comment to firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter using #BCC20. The live sessions will be streamed at 8pm.