Beth Prescott was Parliamentary candidate for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford in the 2015 General Election.
Twenty-two years old, Yorkshire lass, no degree, former apprentice, former Sainsbury’s worker and the child of a family who work in the NHS and in local education.
The Conservative Parliamentary Candidate who took on Yvette Cooper in the 2015 Election?
Recently, a friend and I started a conversation on Twitter. We were simply letting off steam about how we are constantly wrongly stereotyped: people assume that because we are Conservatives we must be middle aged, privately educated and have been born with a silver spoon in our mouth.
Skip forward 24 hours and #WorkingClassTories was trending at number one in the United Kingdom on Twitter.
What ignited such passion? What caused people to tweet in their thousands wanting to tell their story about why they are #WorkingClassTories. What caused “shy Tories” to be silent no more? So many people tweeted in saying they voted Conservative but are not what people would deem ‘typical Conservatives’. Is there even such thing as a ‘typical Conservative’ anymore? Was there ever?
Twitter showed story after story pouring in from thousands of people: former miners, people who grew up on council estates, the children of NHS workers – the list went on and on.
A new group of Conservatives are making themselves heard. People from across all generations and from across the United Kingdom. The people that have seen the way the Conservatives are rewarding hard-working people and how Labour never actually did anything to help, despite claiming to be the party for working people.
Record employment, a tax-free minimum wage, an increase in the personal allowance, record numbers of students from disadvantaged backgrounds at University, millions of apprenticeships created – of which I was proudly one – extension of the right-to-buy scheme, free childcare and many, many more. People are not Conservatives despite all these things, people are Conservatives because of all these things. It is not about pushing things down to people; it is about giving them a hand up whilst still protecting those who do need it most.
Rob Halfon, the Party’s new Deputy Chairman, could not have put it better when he said: ‘“We are the party of the ladder, it was Churchill who first said that…The ladder symbolises everything we’re about. It’s not just leaving people to climb up it themselves, we hold that ladder for them. Labour on the other hand are the party of dependency and the welfare state, and that’s why they didn’t get in.”
Yes, a few left-wingers joined in the hashtag offering sarcastic remarks. In doing so they continued to prove the point we were making. Many again accused me of being from a rich, posh background and this of being an orchestrated publicity stunt – completely wrong and completely missing the point.
The Left will not win another election until it realises that you cannot win back voters by insulting them. They stand on the left hoping that the country will move towards them one day, not realising that it is about time they moved with the country.
I am from Dewsbury in West Yorkshire. West Yorkshire is one of the many areas Labour think they claim a monopoly over, simply because we are Northern and from former mill towns and mining towns. Every day they become increasingly mistaken. Every day more and more people come out as Conservatives.
Yorkshire hit the headlines during the Election when Morley and Outwood, a constituency very close to Dewsbury, said a definitive ‘no thank you’ to five more years of the Shadow Chancellor, Ed Balls. A clear sign that the people have had enough of Labour’s failed economic policies and wanted to know more about the Conservative plans to invest in the North.
I grew up under Labour. Being from a town that’s sometimes believed that have a bit of an iffy reputation, I was often told, growing up: ‘you are not going to make anything of your life because of where you are from’. That is the atmosphere Labour create. Labour claim to be the party of the North. What they actually mean is they are the Party who try to keep the North down.
The Conservatives, however, are investing in the North. It is the Party that encourages people to work hard and teaches that if you do, we will reward you. Ever since I joined the Conservative Party, I have been made to feel like I really do have a bright future. That if I work hard, no matter what my background, I will get somewhere.
One of the most important things my parents taught me growing up was to always work hard and that, if you do, you will get somewhere in life. This is the very basis of what the Conservative Party is all about and that is why I joined it. It teaches that no matter what your background or who you are, if you work hard you will get somewhere.
What did the Conservative Party do with a working-class lad from Brixton? It made him Prime Minister. What has the Conservative Party done with a working-class lass from West Yorkshire? It has given her an apprenticeship, it has given her a job, it has given her a run at Parliament, a run at her dreams.
The Conservative Party is and always will be the Party for hard-working people. Last week, Twitter exploded as it realised just that. Long may it continue.