by Nicky Morgan MP
Post-Brexit, much is being written about “identity politics”. We clearly live in a divided country with significant inequalities and communities that are not cohesive. We need to encourage people to find ways of belonging that don’t foster hatred, and allow people to mix with others from different backgrounds. Traditionally, one of the ways of doing this was for people to step forward for public service – to be school governors, church wardens, councillors, charity trustees, and to join political parties.
My belonging has come via the Conservative Party. I’ve been a party member for almost 28 years. I’ve been a voluntary party office-holder, a council candidate, a PPC for six and a half years in a Labour-held marginal and then an MP sitting for a marginal seat. Like many ConservativeHome readers, I know what it is like to knock on endless doors, sit up until midnight writing “In Touches” which few people ever read, organise branch events, sell raffle tickets and set up street stalls.
I’ve made friends, travelled the country, learnt about different issues and been forced to confront inequalities because of my support for the Conservative Party. Many years ago, as a member of Battersea Conservatives, I remember meeting someone who by then worked in the City of London, but who had arrived in the capital decades before with his mother, who was from the Middle East. When asked why he supported the Conservatives, he said that it was because ladies from the local Conservative Women’s Organisation had welcomed his mother, and helped her to adjust to life in a very different part of the world.
I think it is fantastic that Nicky Morgan will now be a regular columnist on Conservative Home. The voice of moderate, pro-European centrist Tories needs to be heard.