John Stevenson is the Member of Parliament for Carlisle and the Chairman of the Blue Collar Conservatism Advisory Group. Follow John on Twitter.
On Monday, I will be speaking at a Blue Collar Conservatisn event on perceptions of the Conservatives amongst ordinary voters and their implications for victory in 2015. I will be speaking alongside former Defence Secretary, Liam Fox; fellow North West MP and Disabilities Minister, Esther McVey and the journalist Martin Durkin, producer of Margaret Thatcher: Death of a Revolutionary.
Going into this event, I believe that last week’s local election results are the perfect illustration for the challenge and the opportunity awaiting the Conservative Party in 2015. Much has been written in the past week about what the results mean for each of the parties, with a good deal of advice about what David Cameron should do - ranging from tacking right to tacking left to doing nothing at all.
In the 2015 Election, I will be defending one of the most marginal seats in the country. Carlisle is a traditionally Labour Northern, industrial and largely urban seat. It is at the front line of the seats we need to hold, but is also representative of the kind of seats which we need to win. Without Carlisle and the seats like it across the North and Midlands, we will not be forming the next government. Yet despite the difficulties which the Party faced in the County Council Elections, I am actually more confident than I have been in a long time.
Do not get me wrong: we have a mountain to climb to win the next election. No one can deny the scale of the challenge which the Conservatives face in 2015, just to maintain our current position, let alone secure an overall majority.