The Best is Yet to Come

On the back of one of the biggest Conservative majorities ever, calm has descended on Westminster.

Boris was true to his word, with ministers bringing the Brexit deal to parliament just a day after the Queen's Speech to get it passed before the Christmas recess began, and we have heard more about the details of his vision over the past few days.

Of course, there is a lot of speculation over what specifically the government is going to do to keep the votes lent to them in the North of England. The election saw constituencies who had never voted Conservative before returning Conservative members of parliament at unprecedented levels, and we cannot assume that we will hold these former Labour heartlands next time round.

The intent certainly looks like it is there. Already there have been rumours leaked to the press about a cabinet funding hotline being made available to some Northern MPs, considerations about new and existing Whitehall departments being moved around the country and even a new world-leading, MIT style project to be based in the North.

As a Northerner myself, it is clear to see that a lot less people up here are as engaged as in London, and these steps could enthuse a lot of people. That may well be about to change, if these rumours turn out to be true.

We have elected 109 new Conservative MPs, with a lot of new, fresh, young faces. Even on the Labour benches this is the case, with 23 year-old Nadia Whittome taking her place in the Commons opposite Sara Britcliffe, 24, and Dehenna Davison, 25.

This is a reinvigorated Commons, with an equally reinvigorated mandate to take the country forwards.

But most strikingly, it is not just the faces which have changed. Not just the policies either. It seems to be the entire attitude of the country.

Quite late on in the General Election campaign, in my home constituency of Bury North, I knocked on a door in what could be classed as a safe Labour ward. I was met with a response that I really did not expect.

The man who answered started off by saying "well I'm a Labour man, a Labour member, I'm a union man and I've voted Labour all my life". Not the best start on a doorstep! But then he went on to say "I'll always want to vote Labour, but this time I can't bring myself to give them my personal mandate. I'm still a Labour member, but Boris has my vote this time".

That conversation did go on for another five minutes or so, but I'll leave it there. That was quite a powerful moment, and it will stay with me perhaps forever - the look of anguish and discomfort on his face encapsulated what it meant for him, not being able to support the party he has always supported, and of which he could not bring himself to terminate his membership.

Even during the Cameron years, these people were not for moving. Something fundamental has changed.

These are the votes we are fighting to keep hold of. If we deliver, we will, and I have full confidence in this government to do so.

Jack Rydeheard, editor of the Conservative on Sunday for Conservative Progress