Allegedly, I’m a soon-to-be extinct species. I’m 22 years old, and I’m a Conservative.
But as Tory party chairman Brandon Lewis said this week, there are far more of us than people believe. There are lots of reasons why I’m proud to be a young Conservative. Historically, the Conservatives put country before party. We rose above petty party allegiances and ideology for the good of the nation, building an economy that worked for all and making decisions in the national interest.
I learnt this growing up in a military and NHS family. My father served this country; my mother cares for it. Public service runs in my family, a tradition I hope to continue during my life. My parents gave to this country, hoping that one day it would give back to their children. And what have the next generation been given in return?
The stockpiling of medicine and food. Students and young people finding it harder and more expensive to travel for work or study due to the likely scrapping of freedom of movement and the Erasmus programme. Hard-won rights, like those of the LGBT+ community, left open for repeal due to our scrapping of EU law.
Because whether you voted Leave or Remain, the gap between what was promised in 2016 and what is being delivered on voters’ doorsteps is ever-growing. No one told us that prices in shops would be increasing because of the weak pound. Instead of there being extra money for the NHS, nurses and doctors are leaving in record numbers. People didn’t know that we would have to pay £50bn for the privilege of having less power and influence abroad.
I support our prime minister, and had hoped she could come back with a great deal for businesses, families and young people. But ultimately, there are some in my party who are making that impossible.
While many might see those things as contradictory, I do not. The Conservative Party I vote for is the party of progressive, united, one-nation politics. And let’s be frank, a People’s Vote on the Brexit deal is the only way we can continue to hold true to those values.
A Final Say wouldn’t be anti-democratic. I’m not asking for a say on the 2016 result. I and thousands of other young Conservatives are asking for a vote on the final Brexit deal. They are fundamentally different things. To pretend otherwise – as Dominic Raab has done this morning – is frankly deceitful.
This afternoon, I was at the launch of Conservatives for a People’s Vote at party conference. A standing-room-only affair, with Conservatives of all ages and backgrounds passionately talking about what they want for the future of the Tory party and the country.
Nothing makes a Corbyn-led government more likely than the disunity and undelivered promises of Brexit. If we continue on our current path, we put all of our party’s work at risk and simply hand the keys to the party of chaos.
The Conservative and Unionist Party, potentially breaking up our union. The party of economy security and pragmatism, driving our country off the edge of a cliff. The party of country first, letting personal political preferences trump national interest.
No more. The future of the Conservative Party depends on it. Far more importantly, so does the future of the next generation and our country.
That’s why I’m proud to be a Conservative and back a Final Say. Anna Soubry, Heidi Allen, Sarah Wollaston and Dr Phillip Lee are part of the groundswell of Conservatives who do too. There are far more of us than people would have you believe.
Daniel Seamarks is a member of For our Future’s Sake and the Conservative Party
The Independent has launched its #FinalSay campaign to demand that voters are given a voice on the final Brexit deal.