Theresa May's speech has reminded me why I am a Conservative. Her vision for post-Brexit Britain is based on ambition, optimism and opportunity for all.
I am the son of a cabinet maker and the grandson of a retired fireman. I am a proud product of the state school system and I was the first person in my family to go to university in two generations. I am not a Conservative because of where I am in life today, I am a Conservative because of how I got to where I am today.
As a working class kid from a small town in Worcestershire, it's safe to say politics wasn't exactly on my parents' minds when I was growing up. They voted at every election, but apart from that, and like the vast majority of people, there were far more important things going on in their lives than politics! My path into politics is still alien to them to this day.
No one in my family has ever worked in politics or ran for public office. It's not a career path my family ever thought was open to them. That’s not to say my parents lacked ambition for me; quite the opposite. "Always do your best" were the words which rang in my ears as I was growing up. "Do better than us", my parents would always say. And for me, those words sum up Conservatism and what it offers me as a working class kid from rural England.
That theme ran through the Prime Minister's speech to the Conservative Party Conference on Thursday. Opportunity for all, no matter your background and where you have come from. That's what the Conservative Party offers me, and offers everyone in our country.
Whether you're a working class kid from Worcestershire, the daughter of a Pakistani immigrant or an openly gay man - nothing should hold you back from achieving your dreams and realising your ambitions. In Britain, who you love, the colour of your skin or your disability should not be a barriers to success. The Prime Minister made that clear in her conference speech.
I'm not naive. Of course there is still more to do to ensure these barriers are removed, but let's not forget the progress we have made. That progress was on display at the Conservative Party Conference this week. It's the Conservatives who elected the second female Prime Minister, it's the Conservatives who made Sajid Javid the first BAME Home Secretary and it's the Conservatives who made Ruth Davidson, an openly gay woman who's expecting her first child with her girlfriend, the official opposition leader in the Scottish Parliament. Now that's real progress. That's not just talking the talk, that's walking the walk.
“A Party that believes your success in life should not be defined by who you love, your faith, the colour of your skin, who your parents were, or where you were raised – but by your talent and your hard work," Theresa May said.
For me, that one sentence perfectly sums up why I am a Conservative. My working class background hasn't held me back in life, and the Conservatives want to ensure everyone can say the same.