The Queen's Speech in 2015 was the first of this Conservative Majority Government. A proud Yorkshire lass on loan to London at the time, I was blessed enough to be in Parliament on the day and I can still clearly remember the buzz of anticipation in the place.
I was proud to stand as a Conservative Party Parliamentary Candidate during the 2015 General Election, knowing I was standing representing a Party that was putting support for working families, a passion for increasing the life chances of the most disadvantaged and investment in the North at the heart of its platform. Therefore I, like many, was keen to hear in the Queen's Speech in 2015 how the Government would take this forward now it had a clear mandate from the British public.
It did not disappoint. Pledges to push apprenticeships, cut tax and support small business; mixed with the expansion of the Troubled Families programme, the expansion of free childcare and measures to improve education proved to me and many others that this Government was taking its duty towards helping families, towards tackling the root causes of poverty and towards investing in our local communities seriously.
On the day of the Queen's Speech last year, a friend and I started a conversation on Twitter. We were letting off steam about how we are often wrongly stereotyped as being extremely well off because we are Conservatives. The public responded in their thousands telling similar stories. Nurses, teachers, former coal miners and many others joined in to declare publicly why they are Conservatives. 24 hours later #WorkingClassTories was trending at number one on Twitter in the United Kingdom. The so-called 'quiet Tories', who had been labeled as such during the General Election, were quiet no more. After the Queen's Speech last year, the nation stood up and took notice of this new Conservative Majority Government and threw its weight behind it.
Now working back in my home county of Yorkshire, this year I had to wait until my break to catch up on the Queen's Speech on my phone.
Though I was watching it in a different location under different circumstances, today's Queen's Speech was no different in signaling the Government's intent to carry on with the same agenda of opportunity, aspiration and support for everyone, no matter what their background or current situation.
Today the Government made it clear it will continue in its all-out assault on poverty, its work to increase the life chances of many and its push to help people save for the future; along with much needed reforms to prisons, expansion of access to high speed broadband and further development of the Northern Powerhouse.
It has been an interesting few months politically, there is no doubt. However this speech was a signal that, whatever may come, this is a Government committed to building a strong economy, investing in our communities and supporting people of all ages. A Government committed to opportunity, aspiration and increasing life chances for all.
In an article I wrote after last year's Queen's Speech, I spoke about how Conservatism 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. I still stand by this today and I am glad the Government is too.
Although I am as guilty of using them as the next person, I do not actually like how we have to use phrases like 'one nation Conservatism' and 'modern, compassionate Conservativsm'. To me, this is simply 'Conservatism', it does not need branding separately. But whatever you call it, I am proud to see it securing its place as the firm foundation of the current Conservative Party. Long may it continue.