Ben Bradley: We must show young voters our party is for them

Ben Bradley is the Tory MP for Mansfield.Ben Bradley is the Tory MP for Mansfield.
Ben Bradley is the Tory MP for Mansfield.
ONE year after the election, '¨the Conservative party has to reach out to young voters with'¨a clear message about how'¨we're trying to make their lives better.

And as we spread that message, we need to shout it loud so we can be heard above the noise of Jeremy Corbyn’s empty promises.

We have a firm record to stand on, record levels of employment, more and more new homes built each year, Help to Buy and stamp duty cuts for first-time buyers, more free childcare to support working families, support for more young people from disadvantaged backgrounds getting to university, and taking the lowest earners out of income tax.

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It’s a record that helps aspirational young people, and one we should be proud of.

Recently, I’ve launched the ‘New Blue’ project, working closely with the Centre for
Policy Studies and bright and talented young colleagues.

We want to showcase our
ideas and the initiatives 
that a new generation of young Tories can bring forward. 
We have a great pool of young MPs, and young professionals too, who are buzzing with

In advance of the project we listened to the views of those under 40. YouGov have looked at their values, and picked out some priorities. On the face of it, you could draw some tough conclusions.

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Far more young people say they’d never vote Conservative than would never vote Labour, and they are far from optimistic about their chances of ever owning a home.

However if you look more deeply at the values and beliefs they hold, the polling confirms what I have always believed – that many young people share conservative values.

These values are shared by many more young people than those who voted Conservative in 2017.

This generation want control over their resources, and over their lives. They want the freedom of choice that a socialist Labour government simply cannot and would not provide – one that we can and will always support.

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We live in the 21st century where tech and innovation drives our lifestyle. Whether it’s ordering from Deliveroo or downloading creative new apps on your smartphone, it’s the Conservative party that
supports those industries
and the entrepreneurs that give us those choices, while Labour try to ban or restrict the advances – Sadiq Khan’s attacks on Uber in London are just one example.

Delivering a change, and spreading this positive message, requires us to overcome some old stereotypes, and the climate of far-left abuse that comes with it. We need to help Conservative supporters enter a political environment that is more healthy and accessible.

I’m a 28-year-old Conservative Member of Parliament whose family came from a council house in Derbyshire. I dropped out of university and worked as a landscaper and recruiter before returning to education and finding my feet and my path in local politics.

I am proud that my family are just the kind of aspirational people I have described, wanting to get on and give our children better lives than we had. Parents who made sacrifices to give
me the opportunity to be the
first one to go to university,
while they worked hard
within our public services, helping to keep our country moving.

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We’ve done alright, my lot, through hard work and commitment (and the occasional bit of luck too). I see the Conservative party as the party that can offer that same opportunity to families and young people across the whole 
of Britain.

We now know that our values of freedom and choice are shared by an overwhelming majority of young people in Britain. So we have to show how our commitment to those things makes a difference in their lives and why the Conservative party deserves their support.

Ben Bradley is the Conservative MP for Mansfield and a contributor to ‘New Blue: Ideas for a New Generation’, a series of essays from newly-elected MPs published by the Centre for Policy Studies. He’s also a vice chairman of the Conservative Party.