The Economy and Work

Part of Debate on the Address – in the House of Commons at 4:07 pm on 26th May 2016.

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Photo of Lucy Allan Lucy Allan Conservative, Telford 4:07 pm, 26th May 2016

It is always a very great honour to stand up in this Chamber and speak for my constituents, whom I am so proud to represent.

On the first day of this debate, we heard from my right hon. Friend Mrs Spelman. In an eloquent speech, she reminded every Member of this House of the incredible opportunities that we all have, each and every day, to change things for the better and to fight for the causes that we care about. She paid tribute to the willingness of Members from all parts of the House to work collaboratively in cross-party groups and friendships to fight for shared causes.

For all the disagreements that there are—on both sides of the House and in our own parties—there is a common desire to serve our constituents to the best of our ability and make whatever small difference we can in a world that all too often seems filled with injustice.

The Gracious Speech contained within it the very measures that drove me to fight so hard against the odds to come to this place. I am talking about social justice, social mobility and life chances. At its heart, the Gracious Speech is all about hope and possibility—specifically for those who have never had it easy. This Queen’s Speech was about tackling the barriers and obstacles that often stand in the way of too many and that rob them of the hopes and ambitions that they might otherwise realise.

I am proud that this Government have placed a commitment to strong families at the heart of this speech, as it is a strong family that will give a child the very best start in life. Some might dismiss that as insubstantial froth or, as John McDonnell put it, “fictional drivel”, but a strong family is at the core of a successful and thriving society. It is the children in struggling families, the children in care, the children in the our youth offending system who are denied the hope, possibility and chance of something better.

Too many do not want to talk about the underlying causes of disadvantage. We should not shy away from doing so. As my hon. Friend Fiona Bruce rightly said, it is about family breakdown, addiction, mental health difficulties, repeat spells in prison and homelessness. Getting out of that cycle is so difficult.

Strong families take many forms. My mother was a single parent with five children, who struggled hard to keep our family together. She taught me that you can set your mind to anything and achieve it. You might have to fight harder, you might have to try harder, and there might be obstacles in your way that others do not face, but do not let that stop you.

I want for others the ability to make their way in the world, no matter where they came from and no matter what obstacles they face. That is why I wanted to come to this place to fight for those who are too often written off and whose lives could take another direction if only they had the chance.