Jeremy Corbyn – 2017 Speech on Brexit

Below is the text of the speech made by Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, in Peterborough on 10 January 2017.

Thank you for that introduction.

Whether you voted to Leave or to Remain, you voted for a better future for Britain.

One thing is clear, the Tories cannot deliver that. So today I want to set how Labour will deliver that vision of a better Britain.

This government is in disarray over Brexit.

As the Prime Minister made clear herself they didn’t plan for it before the referendum and they still don’t have a plan now.

I voted and campaigned to remain and reform as many of you may know I was not uncritical of the European Union. It has many failings.

Some people argued that we should have a second referendum. That case was put to our party’s membership last summer and defeated.

Britain is now leaving the European Union. And Britain can be better off after Brexit. But that’s far from inevitable and it certainly won’t happen with a government that stands by whilst wages and salaries are driven down, industry is hollowed out and public services are cut to the point of breakdown.

Because while the European Union has many problems so does Britain in the hands of Theresa May after six years of Conservative misrule.

Our social care system is failing to provide essential care for people with disabilities and over a million of our elderly people.

The NHS is in record deficit; nearly 4 million people are on waiting lists, the Red Cross is describing the state of our emergency health and social care as a ‘humanitarian crisis’.

Our jobs market is being turned into a sea of insecurity, six million workers in Britain earning less than the living wage, nearly a million people on zero hours contracts, record numbers of people in work living in poverty while in fat cat Britain, the chief executives had already received more than most people will earn all year by the third day of January.

My point is this, I don’t trust this government with social care, or with the NHS or with the labour market.

So do I trust them to make a success of Brexit? Not remotely.

Only a Labour government, determined to reshape the economy so that it works for all, in every part of the country, can make Brexit work for Britain.

And there can be no question of giving Theresa May’s Tories a free pass in the Brexit negotiations to entrench and take still further their failed free market policies in a post-Brexit Britain.

The Tory Brexiteers , whose leaders are now in the government and their Ukip allies had no more of a plan for a Brexit vote than the Tory remainers, like Theresa May.

They did however promise that Brexit would guarantee funding for the NHS, to the tune of £350 million a week. It was on the side of Boris Johnson’s bus.

What’s happened to that promise now the NHS and social care are in serious crisis? It’s already been ditched.
And it’s not just on the NHS. We have had no answers from the government about any of their plans or objectives for these complex Brexit negotiations.

At no point since the Second World War has Britain’s ruling elite so recklessly put the country in such an exposed position without a plan.

As a result they are now reduced to repeating ‘Brexit means Brexit’. They are unfit to negotiate Brexit.

That is why Labour has demanded the government come to Parliament and set out their plan before they present it to Brussels and explain what they want to achieve for our country.

But in the glaring absence of a government plan Labour also believes it’s time to spell out more clearly what we believe the country’s Brexit objectives should be.

People voted for Brexit on the promise that Britain outside the European Union could be a better place for all its citizens. Whatever their colour or creed. A chance to regain control over our economy, our democracy and people’s lives.

But beyond vague plans to control borders the only concrete commitment the government has so far made is to protect the financial interests in the City of London. Though maybe that’s hardly surprising from a government that has already slashed the bank levy and corporation tax.

In the last budget there was not a penny extra for the NHS or social care but under the Tories there’s always billions available for giveaways to the richest.

As far as Labour is concerned, the referendum result delivered a clear message.

First, that Britain must leave the EU and bring control of our democracy and our economy closer to home.

Second, that people would get the resources they were promised to rebuild the NHS.

Third, that people have had their fill of an economic system and an establishment that works only for the few, not for the many.

And finally, that their concerns about immigration policy would be addressed.

Labour accepts those challenges that you, the voters, gave us.

Unlike the Tories, Labour will insist on a Brexit that works not just for City interests but in the interests of us all.

That puts health and social care, decent jobs and living standards first and a better deal for young people and the areas of this country that have been left behind for too long.

First, we will open the way to rebuilding our NHS by ending the under-funding and privatisation of health care.

Leaving the EU won’t free up the £350m a week that Boris Johnson claimed but savings in EU contributions could help close the gap.

And we will reject pressure to privatise public services as part of any Brexit settlement. Just as we oppose the attempt to give special legal privileges to corporate interests as part of the EU’s CETA or TTIP trade deals.

This government could have given the NHS the funding it needs but it has chosen not to. Their tax giveaways to the very richest and to big business hand back £70 billion between now and 2022.

That is more of a priority for the Tories than elderly people neglected in their homes, patients dying on trolleys or millions waiting in pain to get the treatment they need.

Labour created the NHS, and it is only safe under a Labour government. We will give the NHS the funding it needs. The British people voted to re-finance the NHS – and we will deliver it.

Second, we will push to maintain full access to the European single market to protect living standards and jobs.

But we will also press to repatriate powers from Brussels for the British government to develop a genuine industrial strategy essential for the economy of the future, and so that no community is left behind.

Tory governments have hidden behind EU state aid rules because they don’t want to intervene. They did so again last year when the steel industry was in trouble. Other governments in Europe acted and saved their industry, the Tory government here sat back.

But EU rules can also be a block on the action that’s needed to support our economy, decent jobs and living standards.

Labour will use state aid powers in a drive to build a new economy, based on new technology and the green industries of the future.

That’s why Labour has set out proposals for a National Investment Bank with regional investment banks that will decide the priorities for their areas. A massive programme of investment that will be needed to rebuild regional economies.

This country is far too centralized. So we will take back powers over regional policy. And instead of such decisions being made in Brussels or in London, we will make sure they taken locally wherever possible. Taking back real control and putting power and resources right into the heart of local communities to target investment where it’s needed.

Third, we will use the huge spending leverage of taxpayer-funded services to massively expand the number of proper apprenticeships.

All firms with a government or council contract over £250,000 will be required to pay tax in the UK and train young people.

No company will receive taxpayer-funded contracts if it, or its parent company, is headquartered in a tax haven.

And we will not buy outsourced public services, such as care for the elderly, from companies whose owners and executives are creaming off profits to stuff their pockets at the expense of the workforce and the public purse.

Finally, a Labour Brexit would take back control over our jobs market which has been seriously damaged by years of reckless deregulation.

During the referendum campaign, many people expressed deep concerns about unregulated migration from the EU.

In many sectors of the economy, from IT to health and social care, migrant workers make an important contribution to our common prosperity, and in many parts of the country public services depend on migrant labour.

This government has been saying it will reduce migration to the tens of thousands. Theresa May as Home Secretary set an arbitrary political target knowing full well it would not be met.

They inflamed the issue of immigration. They put immense strain on public services with six years of extreme cuts and then blamed migrants for the pressure caused by Tory austerity.

And last week a Government minister who voted ‘Leave’ told an employers’ conference, “don’t worry, we’ll still let you bring in cheap EU labour”.
Unlike the Tories, Labour will not offer false promises on immigration targets or sow division by scapegoating migrants because we know where that leads. The worrying rise in race hate crime and division we have seen in recent months and how the issue of immigration can be used as a proxy to abuse or intimidate minority communities.

Labour is not wedded to freedom of movement for EU citizens as a point of principle, but I don’t want that to be misinterpreted, nor do we rule it out.

When it comes to border controls, we are proud to say we will meet our international obligations to refugees fleeing wars and persecution.

To those EU citizens who are already here, we will guarantee your rights.

And we continue to welcome international students who come to study in this country.

We cannot afford to lose full access to the European markets on which so many British businesses and jobs depend.

Changes to the way migration rules operate from the EU will be part of the negotiations.

Labour supports fair rules and the reasonable management of migration as part of the post-Brexit relationship with the EU, while putting jobs and living standards first in the negotiations.

At the same time, taking action against undercutting of pay and conditions, closing down cheap labour loopholes, banning exclusive advertising of jobs abroad and strengthening workplace protections would have the effect of reducing numbers of EU migrant workers in the most deregulated sectors, regardless of the final Brexit deal.

Of course migration has put a strain on public services in some areas that’s why Labour would restore the Migrant Impact Fund that the Tories scrapped.

Sarah Champion is leading for Labour on our policies to ensure better integration and more community cohesion and part of that again will be about restoring funding for English language lessons.

Let’s not forget it was this Tory government that slashed funding for learning English as a second language. As we’ve seen with the Prime Minister talking about the need to strengthen mental health care, while cutting funding by 8 per cent it seems the government’s second language is hypocrisy.

It is the ripping up of workplace protections and trade union rights that has allowed unscrupulous employers to exploit both migrant and British labour, and help to keep pay low, and drive down conditions for everyone.

But let’s be clear, public services are not under pressure primarily because of immigration – especially since many migrant workers keep those public services going.

They are under pressure because this Tory government has cut them to fund tax break after tax break to the super rich and big business.
That is the Tory game – low taxes for the rich, low pay for the rest, underfund public services, and find someone to blame , It’s brutal and it’s not working.

Labour will break with this failed model and offer solutions to problems, not someone to blame.

Labour will demand that the Brexit negotiations give us the power to intervene decisively to prevent workers, from here or abroad, being used and exploited to undermine pay and conditions at work.

We need a drive to provide British people with the skills necessary to take up the new jobs which a Labour government and the new economy will generate. I’ve already set out at the CBI and TUC conferences that this means asking companies to pay a bit more in tax to fund more and better access to education and skills training, and government contractors always providing decent skilled apprenticeships.

We will end the race to the bottom in pay, working conditions and job insecurity, setting up a new Ministry of Labour to get a grip on the anything goes jobs market free-for-all.

Labour will ensure all workers have equal rights at work from day one – and require collective bargaining agreements in key sectors in a properly regulated labour market, so that workers cannot be undercut.

That will bring an end to the unscrupulous use of agency labour and bogus self-employment, to stop undercutting and to ensure every worker has a secure job with secure pay, that’s why we’ll set the minimum wage at the level of the living wage, expected to be £10 per hour by 2020.

Those changes should be made to benefit the whole country.

But while we tackle low pay at the bottom, we also have to address the excess that drives that poverty pay that leaves millions of people in poverty even though they work.

In the 1920s, J.P. Morgan, the Wall Street banker limited salaries to 20 times that of junior employees.

Another advocate of pay ratios was David Cameron. His government proposed a 20:1 pay ratio to limit sky-high pay in the public sector and now all salaries higher than £150,000 must be signed off by the Cabinet Office.

Labour will go further and extend that to any company that is awarded a government contract.

A 20:1 ratio means someone earning the living wage, just over £16,000 a year, would permit an executive to be earning nearly £350,000. It cannot be right that if companies are getting public money that that can be creamed off by a few at the top.

But there is a wider point too. 20 years ago the top bosses of the FTSE 100 companies earned just under 50 times their average worker, today that figure is now 130 times. Last year alone, the top bosses got a 10 per cent pay rise, far higher than those doing the work in the shops, in the call centres, in the warehouses.

So what can we do?

… We could allow consumers to judge for themselves, with a government-backed kitemark for those companies that have agreed pay ratios between the pay of the highest and lowest earners with a recognised trade union.

… We could ask for executive pay to be signed off by remuneration committees on which workers have a majority.

… We could ensure higher earners pay their fair share by introducing a higher rate of income tax on the highest 5 percent or 1 percent of incomes.

… We could offer lower rates of corporation tax for companies that don’t pay anyone more than a certain multiple of the pay of the lowest earner.

There are many options. But what we cannot accept is a society in which a few earn the in two and a bit days, what a nurse, a shop worker, a teacher do in a year. That cannot be right.

This is not about limiting aspiration or penalising success, it’s about recognising that success is a collective effort and rewards must be shared.

We cannot have the CEO paying less tax than the cleaner and pretending they are worth thousands times more than the lowest paid staff.

So this is Labour’s vision for Britain after Brexit.
Labour will not block the referendum vote when the time comes in Parliament, we will vote for Article 50.

But as the Opposition we will ensure the government is held to account for its negotiating demands.

At the moment they are in total disarray, on Brexit, on the NHS and social care, on the pay in your pocket.

Labour will build a better Britain out of Brexit.

That will start with the refinancing of the NHS and the creation of a more equal country, in which power and wealth is more fairly shared amongst our communities. A genuinely inclusive society with strong and peaceful relations with the rest of the world.

This is Labour’s New Year pledge to the British people.

Theresa May – 2017 Speech on Exiting the European Union

Below is the text of the speech made by Theresa May, the Prime Minister, at Lancaster House in London on 17 January 2017.

A little over 6 months ago, the British people voted for change.

They voted to shape a brighter future for our country.

They voted to leave the European Union and embrace the world.

And they did so with their eyes open: accepting that the road ahead will be uncertain at times, but believing that it leads towards a brighter future for their children – and their grandchildren too.

And it is the job of this government to deliver it. That means more than negotiating our new relationship with the EU. It means taking the opportunity of this great moment of national change to step back and ask ourselves what kind of country we want to be.

My answer is clear. I want this United Kingdom to emerge from this period of change stronger, fairer, more united and more outward-looking than ever before. I want us to be a secure, prosperous, tolerant country – a magnet for international talent and a home to the pioneers and innovators who will shape the world ahead. I want us to be a truly Global Britain – the best friend and neighbour to our European partners, but a country that reaches beyond the borders of Europe too. A country that goes out into the world to build relationships with old friends and new allies alike.

I want Britain to be what we have the potential, talent and ambition to be. A great, global trading nation that is respected around the world and strong, confident and united at home.

A Plan for Britain

That is why this government has a Plan for Britain. One that gets us the right deal abroad but also ensures we get a better deal for ordinary working people at home.

It’s why that plan sets out how we will use this moment of change to build a stronger economy and a fairer society by embracing genuine economic and social reform.

Why our new Modern Industrial Strategy is being developed, to ensure every nation and area of the United Kingdom can make the most of the opportunities ahead.

Why we will go further to reform our schools to ensure every child has the knowledge and the skills they need to thrive in post-Brexit Britain.

Why as we continue to bring the deficit down, we will take a balanced approach by investing in our economic infrastructure – because it can transform the growth potential of our economy and improve the quality of people’s lives across the whole country.

It’s why we will put the preservation of our precious Union at the heart of everything we do. Because it is only by coming together as one great union of nations and people that we can make the most of the opportunities ahead. The result of the referendum was not a decision to turn inward and retreat from the world.

Because Britain’s history and culture is profoundly internationalist.

We are a European country – and proud of our shared European heritage – but we are also a country that has always looked beyond Europe to the wider world. That is why we are one of the most racially diverse countries in Europe, one of the most multicultural members of the European Union, and why – whether we are talking about India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, America, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, countries in Africa or those that are closer to home in Europe – so many of us have close friends and relatives from across the world.

Instinctively, we want to travel to, study in, trade with countries not just in Europe but beyond the borders of our continent. Even now as we prepare to leave the EU, we are planning for the next biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in 2018 – a reminder of our unique and proud global relationships.

A message from Britain to the rest of Europe

And it is important to recognise this fact. June the 23rd was not the moment Britain chose to step back from the world. It was the moment we chose to build a truly Global Britain.

I know that this – and the other reasons Britain took such a decision – is not always well understood among our friends and allies in Europe. And I know many fear that this might herald the beginning of a greater unravelling of the EU.

But let me be clear: I do not want that to happen. It would not be in the best interests of Britain. It remains overwhelmingly and compellingly in Britain’s national interest that the EU should succeed. And that is why I hope in the months and years ahead we will all reflect on the lessons of Britain’s decision to leave.

So let me take this opportunity to set out the reasons for our decision and to address the people of Europe directly.

It’s not simply because our history and culture is profoundly internationalist, important though that is. Many in Britain have always felt that the United Kingdom’s place in the European Union came at the expense of our global ties, and of a bolder embrace of free trade with the wider world.

There are other important reasons too.

Our political traditions are different. Unlike other European countries, we have no written constitution, but the principle of Parliamentary Sovereignty is the basis of our unwritten constitutional settlement. We have only a recent history of devolved governance – though it has rapidly embedded itself – and we have little history of coalition government.

The public expect to be able to hold their governments to account very directly, and as a result supranational institutions as strong as those created by the European Union sit very uneasily in relation to our political history and way of life.

And, while I know Britain might at times have been seen as an awkward member state, the European Union has struggled to deal with the diversity of its member countries and their interests. It bends towards uniformity, not flexibility.

David Cameron’s negotiation was a valiant final attempt to make it work for Britain – and I want to thank all those elsewhere in Europe who helped him reach an agreement – but the blunt truth, as we know, is that there was not enough flexibility on many important matters for a majority of British voters.

Now I do not believe that these things apply uniquely to Britain. Britain is not the only member state where there is a strong attachment to accountable and democratic government, such a strong internationalist mindset, or a belief that diversity within Europe should be celebrated. And so I believe there is a lesson in Brexit not just for Britain but, if it wants to succeed, for the EU itself.

Because our continent’s great strength has always been its diversity. And there are 2 ways of dealing with different interests. You can respond by trying to hold things together by force, tightening a vice-like grip that ends up crushing into tiny pieces the very things you want to protect. Or you can respect difference, cherish it even, and reform the EU so that it deals better with the wonderful diversity of its member states.

So to our friends across Europe, let me say this.

Our vote to leave the European Union was no rejection of the values we share. The decision to leave the EU represents no desire to become more distant to you, our friends and neighbours. It was no attempt to do harm to the EU itself or to any of its remaining member states. We do not want to turn the clock back to the days when Europe was less peaceful, less secure and less able to trade freely. It was a vote to restore, as we see it, our parliamentary democracy, national self-determination, and to become even more global and internationalist in action and in spirit.

We will continue to be reliable partners, willing allies and close friends. We want to buy your goods and services, sell you ours, trade with you as freely as possible, and work with one another to make sure we are all safer, more secure and more prosperous through continued friendship.

You will still be welcome in this country as we hope our citizens will be welcome in yours. At a time when together we face a serious threat from our enemies, Britain’s unique intelligence capabilities will continue to help to keep people in Europe safe from terrorism. And at a time when there is growing concern about European security, Britain’s servicemen and women, based in European countries including Estonia, Poland and Romania, will continue to do their duty.

We are leaving the European Union, but we are not leaving Europe.

And that is why we seek a new and equal partnership – between an independent, self-governing, Global Britain and our friends and allies in the EU.

Not partial membership of the European Union, associate membership of the European Union, or anything that leaves us half-in, half-out. We do not seek to adopt a model already enjoyed by other countries. We do not seek to hold on to bits of membership as we leave.

No, the United Kingdom is leaving the European Union. And my job is to get the right deal for Britain as we do.

Objectives and ambitions

So today I want to outline our objectives for the negotiation ahead. Twelve objectives that amount to one big goal: a new, positive and constructive partnership between Britain and the European Union.

And as we negotiate that partnership, we will be driven by some simple principles: we will provide as much certainty and clarity as we can at every stage. And we will take this opportunity to make Britain stronger, to make Britain fairer, and to build a more Global Britain too.

Certainty and clarity

1. Certainty

The first objective is crucial. We will provide certainty wherever we can.

We are about to enter a negotiation. That means there will be give and take. There will have to be compromises. It will require imagination on both sides. And not everybody will be able to know everything at every stage.

But I recognise how important it is to provide business, the public sector, and everybody with as much certainty as possible as we move through the process.

So where we can offer that certainty, we will do so.

That is why last year we acted quickly to give clarity about farm payments and university funding. And it is why, as we repeal the European Communities Act, we will convert the ‘acquis’ – the body of existing EU law – into British law.

This will give the country maximum certainty as we leave the EU. The same rules and laws will apply on the day after Brexit as they did before. And it will be for the British Parliament to decide on any changes to that law after full scrutiny and proper Parliamentary debate.

And when it comes to Parliament, there is one other way in which I would like to provide certainty. I can confirm today that the Government will put the final deal that is agreed between the UK and the EU to a vote in both Houses of Parliament, before it comes into force.

A stronger Britain

Our second guiding principle is to build a stronger Britain.

2. Control of our own laws

That means taking control of our own affairs, as those who voted in their millions to leave the European Union demanded we must.

So we will take back control of our laws and bring an end to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in Britain. Leaving the European Union will mean that our laws will be made in Westminster, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast. And those laws will be interpreted by judges not in Luxembourg but in courts across this country.

Because we will not have truly left the European Union if we are not in control of our own laws.

3. Strengthen the Union

A stronger Britain demands that we do something else – strengthen the precious union between the 4 nations of the United Kingdom.

At this momentous time, it is more important than ever that we face the future together, united by what makes us strong: the bonds that unite us as a people, and our shared interest in the UK being an open, successful trading nation in the future.

And I hope that same spirit of unity will apply in Northern Ireland in particular over the coming months in the Assembly elections, and the main parties there will work together to re-establish a partnership government as soon as possible.

Foreign affairs are of course the responsibility of the UK government, and in dealing with them we act in the interests of all parts of the United Kingdom. As prime minister, I take that responsibility seriously.

I have also been determined from the start that the devolved administrations should be fully engaged in this process.

That is why the government has set up a Joint Ministerial Committee on EU Negotiations, so ministers from each of the UK’s devolved administrations can contribute to the process of planning for our departure from the European Union.

We have already received a paper from the Scottish government, and look forward to receiving a paper from the Welsh government shortly. Both papers will be considered as part of this important process. We won’t agree on everything, but I look forward to working with the administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to deliver a Brexit that works for the whole of the United Kingdom.

Part of that will mean working very carefully to ensure that – as powers are repatriated from Brussels back to Britain – the right powers are returned to Westminster, and the right powers are passed to the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

As we do so, our guiding principle must be to ensure that – as we leave the European Union – no new barriers to living and doing business within our own Union are created,

That means maintaining the necessary common standards and frameworks for our own domestic market, empowering the UK as an open, trading nation to strike the best trade deals around the world, and protecting the common resources of our islands.

And as we do this, I should equally be clear that no decisions currently taken by the devolved administrations will be removed from them.

4. Maintain the Common Travel Area with Ireland

We cannot forget that, as we leave, the United Kingdom will share a land border with the EU, and maintaining that Common Travel Area with the Republic of Ireland will be an important priority for the UK in the talks ahead. There has been a Common Travel Area between the UK and the Republic of Ireland for many years.

Indeed, it was formed before either of our 2 countries were members of the European Union. And the family ties and bonds of affection that unite our 2 countries mean that there will always be a special relationship between us.

So we will work to deliver a practical solution that allows the maintenance of the Common Travel Area with the Republic, while protecting the integrity of the United Kingdom’s immigration system.

Nobody wants to return to the borders of the past, so we will make it a priority to deliver a practical solution as soon as we can.

A fairer Britain

The third principle is to build a fairer Britain. That means ensuring it is fair to everyone who lives and works in this country.

5. Control of immigration

And that is why we will ensure we can control immigration to Britain from Europe.

We will continue to attract the brightest and the best to work or study in Britain – indeed openness to international talent must remain one of this country’s most distinctive assets – but that process must be managed properly so that our immigration system serves the national interest.

So we will get control of the number of people coming to Britain from the EU.

Because while controlled immigration can bring great benefits – filling skills shortages, delivering public services, making British businesses the world-beaters they often are – when the numbers get too high, public support for the system falters.

In the last decade or so, we have seen record levels of net migration in Britain, and that sheer volume has put pressure on public services, like schools, stretched our infrastructure, especially housing, and put a downward pressure on wages for working class people. As home secretary for 6 years, I know that you cannot control immigration overall when there is free movement to Britain from Europe.

Britain is an open and tolerant country. We will always want immigration, especially high-skilled immigration, we will always want immigration from Europe, and we will always welcome individual migrants as friends. But the message from the public before and during the referendum campaign was clear: Brexit must mean control of the number of people who come to Britain from Europe. And that is what we will deliver.

6. Rights for EU nationals in Britain, and British nationals in the EU

Fairness demands that we deal with another issue as soon as possible too. We want to guarantee the rights of EU citizens who are already living in Britain, and the rights of British nationals in other member states, as early as we can.

I have told other EU leaders that we could give people the certainty they want straight away, and reach such a deal now.

Many of them favour such an agreement – 1 or 2 others do not – but I want everyone to know that it remains an important priority for Britain – and for many other member states – to resolve this challenge as soon as possible. Because it is the right and fair thing to do.

7. Protect workers’ rights

And a fairer Britain is a country that protects and enhances the rights people have at work.That is why, as we translate the body of European law into our domestic regulations, we will ensure that workers rights are fully protected and maintained.

Indeed, under my leadership, not only will the government protect the rights of workers set out in European legislation, we will build on them. Because under this government, we will make sure legal protection for workers keeps pace with the changing labour market – and that the voices of workers are heard by the boards of publicly-listed companies for the first time.

A Truly Global Britain

But the great prize for this country – the opportunity ahead – is to use this moment to build a truly Global Britain. A country that reaches out to old friends and new allies alike. A great, global, trading nation. And one of the firmest advocates for free trade anywhere in the world.

8. Free trade with European markets

That starts with our close friends and neighbours in Europe. So as a priority, we will pursue a bold and ambitious free trade agreement with the European Union.

This agreement should allow for the freest possible trade in goods and services between Britain and the EU’s member states. It should give British companies the maximum freedom to trade with and operate within European markets – and let European businesses do the same in Britain.

But I want to be clear. What I am proposing cannot mean membership of the single market.

European leaders have said many times that membership means accepting the ‘4 freedoms’ of goods, capital, services and people. And being out of the EU but a member of the single market would mean complying with the EU’s rules and regulations that implement those freedoms, without having a vote on what those rules and regulations are. It would mean accepting a role for the European Court of Justice that would see it still having direct legal authority in our country.

It would to all intents and purposes mean not leaving the EU at all.

And that is why both sides in the referendum campaign made it clear that a vote to leave the EU would be a vote to leave the single market.

So we do not seek membership of the single market. Instead we seek the greatest possible access to it through a new, comprehensive, bold and ambitious free trade agreement.

That agreement may take in elements of current single market arrangements in certain areas – on the export of cars and lorries for example, or the freedom to provide financial services across national borders – as it makes no sense to start again from scratch when Britain and the remaining Member States have adhered to the same rules for so many years.

But I respect the position taken by European leaders who have been clear about their position, just as I am clear about mine. So an important part of the new strategic partnership we seek with the EU will be the pursuit of the greatest possible access to the single market, on a fully reciprocal basis, through a comprehensive free trade agreement.

And because we will no longer be members of the single market, we will not be required to contribute huge sums to the EU budget. There may be some specific European programmes in which we might want to participate. If so, and this will be for us to decide, it is reasonable that we should make an appropriate contribution. But the principle is clear: the days of Britain making vast contributions to the European Union every year will end.

9. New trade agreements with other countries

But it is not just trade with the EU we should be interested in. A Global Britain must be free to strike trade agreements with countries from outside the European Union too.

Because important though our trade with the EU is and will remain, it is clear that the UK needs to increase significantly its trade with the fastest growing export markets in the world.

Since joining the EU, trade as a percentage of GDP has broadly stagnated in the UK. That is why it is time for Britain to get out into the world and rediscover its role as a great, global, trading nation.

This is such a priority for me that when I became Prime Minister I established, for the first time, a Department for International Trade, led by Liam Fox.

We want to get out into the wider world, to trade and do business all around the globe. Countries including China, Brazil, and the Gulf States have already expressed their interest in striking trade deals with us. We have started discussions on future trade ties with countries like Australia, New Zealand and India. And President-Elect Trump has said Britain is not “at the back of the queue” for a trade deal with the United States, the world’s biggest economy, but front of the line.

I know my emphasis on striking trade agreements with countries outside Europe has led to questions about whether Britain seeks to remain a member of the EU’s Customs Union. And it is true that full Customs Union membership prevents us from negotiating our own comprehensive trade deals.

Now, I want Britain to be able to negotiate its own trade agreements. But I also want tariff-free trade with Europe and cross-border trade there to be as frictionless as possible.

That means I do not want Britain to be part of the Common Commercial Policy and I do not want us to be bound by the Common External Tariff. These are the elements of the Customs Union that prevent us from striking our own comprehensive trade agreements with other countries. But I do want us to have a customs agreement with the EU.

Whether that means we must reach a completely new customs agreement, become an associate member of the Customs Union in some way, or remain a signatory to some elements of it, I hold no preconceived position. I have an open mind on how we do it. It is not the means that matter, but the ends.

And those ends are clear: I want to remove as many barriers to trade as possible. And I want Britain to be free to establish our own tariff schedules at the World Trade Organisation, meaning we can reach new trade agreements not just with the European Union but with old friends and new allies from outside Europe too.

10. The best place for science and innovation

A Global Britain must also be a country that looks to the future. That means being one of the best places in the world for science and innovation.

One of our great strengths as a nation is the breadth and depth of our academic and scientific communities, backed up by some of the world’s best universities. And we have a proud history of leading and supporting cutting-edge research and innovation.

So we will also welcome agreement to continue to collaborate with our European partners on major science, research, and technology initiatives.

From space exploration to clean energy to medical technologies, Britain will remain at the forefront of collective endeavours to better understand, and make better, the world in which we live.

11. Co-operation in the fight against crime and terrorism

And a Global Britain will continue to co-operate with its European partners in important areas such as crime, terrorism and foreign affairs.

All of us in Europe face the challenge of cross-border crime, a deadly terrorist threat, and the dangers presented by hostile states. All of us share interests and values in common, values we want to see projected around the world.

With the threats to our common security becoming more serious, our response cannot be to co-operate with one another less, but to work together more. I therefore want our future relationship with the European Union to include practical arrangements on matters of law enforcement and the sharing of intelligence material with our EU allies.

I am proud of the role Britain has played and will continue to play in promoting Europe’s security. Britain has led Europe on the measures needed to keep our continent secure – whether it is implementing sanctions against Russia following its action in Crimea, working for peace and stability in the Balkans, or securing Europe’s external border. We will continue to work closely with our European allies in foreign and defence policy even as we leave the EU itself.

A phased approach

12. A smooth, orderly Brexit

These are our objectives for the negotiation ahead – objectives that will help to realise our ambition of shaping that stronger, fairer, Global Britain that we want to see.

They are the basis for a new, strong, constructive partnership with the European Union – a partnership of friends and allies, of interests and values. A partnership for a strong EU and a strong UK.

But there is one further objective we are setting. For as I have said before – it is in no one’s interests for there to be a cliff-edge for business or a threat to stability, as we change from our existing relationship to a new partnership with the EU.

By this, I do not mean that we will seek some form of unlimited transitional status, in which we find ourselves stuck forever in some kind of permanent political purgatory. That would not be good for Britain, but nor do I believe it would be good for the EU.

Instead, I want us to have reached an agreement about our future partnership by the time the 2-year Article 50 process has concluded. From that point onwards, we believe a phased process of implementation, in which both Britain and the EU institutions and member states prepare for the new arrangements that will exist between us will be in our mutual self-interest. This will give businesses enough time to plan and prepare for those new arrangements.

This might be about our immigration controls, customs systems or the way in which we co-operate on criminal justice matters. Or it might be about the future legal and regulatory framework for financial services. For each issue, the time we need to phase-in the new arrangements may differ. Some might be introduced very quickly, some might take longer. And the interim arrangements we rely upon are likely to be a matter of negotiation.

But the purpose is clear: we will seek to avoid a disruptive cliff-edge, and we will do everything we can to phase in the new arrangements we require as Britain and the EU move towards our new partnership.

The right deal for Britain

So, these are the objectives we have set. Certainty wherever possible. Control of our own laws. Strengthening the United Kingdom. Maintaining the Common Travel Area with Ireland. Control of immigration. Rights for EU nationals in Britain, and British nationals in the EU. Enhancing rights for workers. Free trade with European markets. New trade agreements with other countries. A leading role in science and innovation. Co-operation on crime, terrorism and foreign affairs. And a phased approach, delivering a smooth and orderly Brexit.

This is the framework of a deal that will herald a new partnership between the UK and the EU.

It is a comprehensive and carefully considered plan that focuses on the ends, not just the means – with its eyes fixed firmly on the future, and on the kind of country we will be once we leave.

It reflects the hard work of many in this room today who have worked tirelessly to bring it together and to prepare this country for the negotiation ahead.

And it will, I know, be debated and discussed at length. That is only right. But those who urge us to reveal more – such as the blow-by-blow details of our negotiating strategy, the areas in which we might compromise, the places where we think there are potential trade-offs – will not be acting in the national interest.

Because this is not a game or a time for opposition for opposition’s sake. It is a crucial and sensitive negotiation that will define the interests and the success of our country for many years to come. And it is vital that we maintain our discipline.

That is why I have said before – and will continue to say – that every stray word and every hyped up media report is going to make it harder for us to get the right deal for Britain. Our opposite numbers in the European Commission know it, which is why they are keeping their discipline. And the ministers in this government know it too, which is why we will also maintain ours.

So however frustrating some people find it, the government will not be pressured into saying more than I believe it is in our national interest to say. Because it is not my job to fill column inches with daily updates, but to get the right deal for Britain. And that is what I intend to do.

A new partnership between Britain and Europe

I am confident that a deal – and a new strategic partnership between the UK and the EU – can be achieved.

This is firstly because, having held conversations with almost every leader from every single EU member state; having spent time talking to the senior figures from the European institutions, including President Tusk, President Juncker, and President Schulz; and after my Cabinet colleagues David Davis, Philip Hammond and Boris Johnson have done the same with their interlocutors, I am confident that the vast majority want a positive relationship between the UK and the EU after Brexit.

And I am confident that the objectives I am setting out today are consistent with the needs of the EU and its member states.

That is why our objectives include a proposed free trade agreement between Britain and the European Union, and explicitly rule out membership of the EU’s single market. Because when the EU’s leaders say they believe the 4 freedoms of the single market are indivisible, we respect that position. When the 27 member states say they want to continue their journey inside the European Union, we not only respect that fact but support it.

Because we do not want to undermine the single market, and we do not want to undermine the European Union. We want the EU to be a success and we want its remaining member states to prosper. And of course we want the same for Britain.

And the second reason I believe it is possible to reach a good deal is that the kind of agreement I have described today is the economically rational thing that both Britain and the EU should aim for. Because trade is not a zero sum game: more of it makes us all more prosperous. Free trade between Britain and the European Union means more trade, and more trade means more jobs and more wealth creation. The erection of new barriers to trade, meanwhile, means the reverse: less trade, fewer jobs, lower growth.

The third and final reason I believe we can come to the right agreement is that co-operation between Britain and the EU is needed not just when it comes to trade but when it comes to our security too.

Britain and France are Europe’s only 2 nuclear powers. We are the only 2 European countries with permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council. Britain’s armed forces are a crucial part of Europe’s collective defence.

And our intelligence capabilities – unique in Europe – have already saved countless lives in very many terrorist plots that have been thwarted in countries across our continent. After Brexit, Britain wants to be a good friend and neighbour in every way, and that includes defending the safety and security of all of our citizens.

So I believe the framework I have outlined today is in Britain’s interests. It is in Europe’s interests. And it is in the interests of the wider world.

But I must be clear. Britain wants to remain a good friend and neighbour to Europe. Yet I know there are some voices calling for a punitive deal that punishes Britain and discourages other countries from taking the same path.

That would be an act of calamitous self-harm for the countries of Europe. And it would not be the act of a friend. Britain would not – indeed we could not – accept such an approach. And while I am confident that this scenario need never arise – while I am sure a positive agreement can be reached – I am equally clear that no deal for Britain is better than a bad deal for Britain.

Because we would still be able to trade with Europe. We would be free to strike trade deals across the world. And we would have the freedom to set the competitive tax rates and embrace the policies that would attract the world’s best companies and biggest investors to Britain. And – if we were excluded from accessing the single market – we would be free to change the basis of Britain’s economic model.

But for the EU, it would mean new barriers to trade with one of the biggest economies in the world. It would jeopardise investments in Britain by EU companies worth more than half a trillion pounds. It would mean a loss of access for European firms to the financial services of the City of London. It would risk exports from the EU to Britain worth around £290 billion every year. And it would disrupt the sophisticated and integrated supply chains upon which many EU companies rely.

Important sectors of the EU economy would also suffer. We are a crucial – profitable – export market for Europe’s automotive industry, as well as sectors including energy, food and drink, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and agriculture. These sectors employ millions of people around Europe. And I do not believe that the EU’s leaders will seriously tell German exporters, French farmers, Spanish fishermen, the young unemployed of the Eurozone, and millions of others, that they want to make them poorer, just to punish Britain and make a political point.

For all these reasons – and because of our shared values and the spirit of goodwill that exists on both sides – I am confident that we will follow a better path. I am confident that a positive agreement can be reached. It is right that the government should prepare for every eventuality – but to do so in the knowledge that a constructive and optimistic approach to the negotiations to come is in the best interests of Europe and the best interests of Britain.


We do not approach these negotiations expecting failure, but anticipating success.

Because we are a great, global nation with so much to offer Europe and so much to offer the world.

One of the world’s largest and strongest economies. With the finest intelligence services, the bravest armed forces, the most effective hard and soft power, and friendships, partnerships and alliances in every continent.

And another thing that’s important. The essential ingredient of our success. The strength and support of 65 million people willing us to make it happen.

Because after all the division and discord, the country is coming together.

The referendum was divisive at times. And those divisions have taken time to heal.

But one of the reasons that Britain’s democracy has been such a success for so many years is that the strength of our identity as one nation, the respect we show to one another as fellow citizens, and the importance we attach to our institutions means that when a vote has been held we all respect the result. The victors have the responsibility to act magnanimously. The losers have the responsibility to respect the legitimacy of the outcome. And the country comes together.

And that is what we are seeing today. Business isn’t calling to reverse the result, but planning to make a success of it. The House of Commons has voted overwhelmingly for us to get on with it. And the overwhelming majority of people – however they voted – want us to get on with it too.

So that is what we will do.

Not merely forming a new partnership with Europe, but building a stronger, fairer, more Global Britain too.

And let that be the legacy of our time. The prize towards which we work. The destination at which we arrive once the negotiation is done.

And let us do it not for ourselves, but for those who follow. For the country’s children and grandchildren too.

So that when future generations look back at this time, they will judge us not only by the decision that we made, but by what we made of that decision.

They will see that we shaped them a brighter future.

They will know that we built them a better Britain.

Theresa May – 2017 Speech in Davos

Below is the text of the speech made by Theresa May, the Prime Minister, in Davos on 19 January 2017.

Thank you Professor Schwab for that introduction, and thank you for inviting me to speak here at the World Economic Forum this morning.

This is an organisation that is, as it says in the very first line of your mission statement, committed to ‘improving the state of the world’. Those of us who meet here are all – by instinct and outlook – optimists who believe in the power of public and private co-operation to make the world of tomorrow better than the world of today. And we are all united in our belief that that world will be built on the foundations of free trade, partnership and globalisation.

Yet beyond the confines of this hall, those forces for good that we so often take for granted are being called into question.

The forces of liberalism, free trade and globalisation that have had – and continue to have – such an overwhelmingly positive impact on our world, that have harnessed unprecedented levels of wealth and opportunity, that have lifted millions out of poverty around the world, that have brought nations closer together, broken down barriers and improved standards of living and consumer choice, forces that underpin the rules-based international system that is key to our global prosperity and security, are somehow at risk of being undermined.

And as we meet here this morning, across Europe parties of the Far Left and the Far Right are seeking to exploit this opportunity, gathering support by feeding off an underlying and keenly felt sense among some people – often those on modest to low incomes living in relatively rich countries around the west – that these forces are not working for them.

And those parties – who embrace the politics of division and despair; who offer easy answers; who claim to understand people’s problems and always know what and who to blame – feed off something else too: the sense among the public that mainstream political and business leaders have failed to comprehend their legitimate concerns for too long.

This morning, I want to set out a manifesto for change that responds to these concerns and shows that the politics of the mainstream can deliver the change people need.

I want to show how, by taking a new approach that harnesses the good of what works and changes what does not, we can maintain – indeed we can build – support for the rules-based international system.

And I want to explain how, as we do so, the United Kingdom – a country that has so often been at the forefront of economic and social change – will step up to a new leadership role as the strongest and most forceful advocate for business, free markets and free trade anywhere in the world.


For that is the unique opportunity that Britain now has.

I speak to you this morning as the Prime Minister of a country that faces the future with confidence.

For a little over 6 months ago, millions of my fellow citizens upset the odds by voting, with determination and quiet resolve, to leave the European Union and embrace the world.

Let us not underestimate the magnitude of that decision. It means Britain must face up to a period of momentous change. It means we must go through a tough negotiation and forge a new role for ourselves in the world. It means accepting that the road ahead will be uncertain at times, but believing that it leads towards a brighter future for our country’s children, and grandchildren too.

So while it would have been easy for the British people to shy away from taking such a path, they fixed their eyes on that brighter future and chose a bold, ambitious course instead.

They chose to build a truly Global Britain.

I know that this, and the other reasons Britain took such a decision, is not always well understood internationally, particularly among our friends and allies in Europe. Some of our European partners feel that we have turned our back on them. And I know many fear what our decision means for the future of the EU itself.

But as I said in my speech earlier this week, our decision to leave the European Union was no rejection of our friends in Europe, with whom we share common interests and values and so much else. It was no attempt to become more distant from them, or to cease the co-operation that has helped to keep our continent secure and strong.

And nor was it an attempt to undermine the European Union itself. It remains overwhelmingly and compellingly in Britain’s national interest that the EU as an organisation should succeed.

It was simply a vote to restore, as we see it, our parliamentary democracy and national self-determination. A vote to take control and make decisions for ourselves.

And, crucially, to become even more global and internationalist in action and in spirit too.

Because that is who we are as a nation. Britain’s history and culture is profoundly internationalist.

We are a European country, and proud of our shared European heritage, but we are also a country that has always looked beyond Europe to the wider world.

That is why we are among the most racially diverse countries in Europe, one of the most multicultural members of the European Union, and why – whether we are talking about India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, America, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, countries in Africa, Asia or those that are closer to home in Europe – so many of us have close friends and relatives from across the world.

And it is why we are by instinct a great, global, trading nation that seeks to trade with countries not just in Europe but beyond Europe too.

So at the heart of the plan I set out earlier this week, is a determination to pursue a bold and ambitious free trade agreement between the UK and the European Union. But, more than that, we seek the freedom to strike new trade deals with old friends and new allies right around the world as well.

I am pleased that we have already started discussions on future trade ties with countries like Australia, New Zealand and India. While countries including China, Brazil, and the Gulf States have already expressed their interest in striking trade deals with us.

That is why, as I said in my speech on Tuesday, I want the UK to emerge from this period of change as a truly Global Britain – the best friend and neighbour to our European partners, but a country that reaches beyond the borders of Europe too; a country that gets out into the world to build relationships with old friends and new allies alike.

And that is exactly what we are going to do.

Global Britain

We are going to be a confident country that is in control of its own destiny once again.

And it is because of that that we will be in a position to act in this global role.

Because a country in control of its destiny is more, not less able to play a full role in underpinning and strengthening the multilateral rules-based system

A Global Britain is no less British because we are a hub for foreign investment. Indeed, our biggest manufacturer, Tata, is Indian – and you still can’t get more British than a Jaguar or a Land Rover.

Britain is no less British because it is home to people from around the world. In fact, we derive so much of our strength from our diversity – we are a multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-faith democracy, and we’re proud of it.

And Britain is no less British because we have led the way in multilateral organisations like the UN, NATO, IMF and the World Bank over many years.

Membership of these bodies magnifies all their members’ ability to advance the common goods of peace, prosperity and security.

I believe strongly in a rules based global order. The establishment of the institutions that give effect to it in the mid-20th century was a crucial foundation for much of the growing peace and prosperity the world has enjoyed since. And the tragic history of the first half of the last century reminds us of the cost of those institutions’ absence.

The litany of follies of that time are mistakes that we should never forget and never repeat.

So we must uphold the institutions that enable the nations of the world to work together.

And we must continue to promote international co-operation wherever we can.

One example of that is modern slavery – a scourge of our world, which we can only defeat if we work together, changing attitudes, rooting out such abhorrent practices and prosecuting the perpetrators.

That is why at Davos this year I have convened a high-level panel discussion to continue our co-ordinated effort to save those many lives which are, tragically, being stolen.

International co-operation is vital. But we must never forget that our first responsibility as governments it to serve the people. And it is my firm belief that we – as governments, international institutions, businesses and individuals – need to do more to respond to the concerns of those who feel that the modern world has left them behind.

Economic reform

So in Britain, we have embarked on an ambitious programme of economic and social reform that aims to ensure that, as we build this Global Britain, we are able to take people with us. A programme that aims to show how a strong Britain abroad can be a better Britain at home.

Because talk of greater globalisation can make people fearful. For many, it means their jobs being outsourced and wages undercut. It means having to sit back as they watch their communities change around them.

And in their minds, it means watching as those who prosper seem to play by a different set of rules, while for many life remains a struggle as they get by, but don’t necessarily get on.

And these tensions and differences are increasingly exposed and exploited through the expansion of new technologies and the growth of social media.

But if we are to make the case for free markets, free trade and globalisation, as we must, those of us who believe in them must face up to and respond to the concerns people have.

And we must work together to shape new policies and approaches that demonstrate their capacity to deliver for all of the people in our respective countries.

I believe this challenge demands a new approach from government. And it requires a new approach from business too.

For government, it means not just stepping back and, as the prevailing orthodoxy in many countries has argued for so many years, not just getting out of the way. Not just leaving businesses to get on with the job and assuming that problems will just fix themselves.

It means stepping up to a new, active role that backs businesses and ensures more people in all corners of the country share in the benefits of its success.

And for business, it means doing even more to spread those benefits to more people. It means playing by the same rules as everyone else when it comes to tax and behaviour, because in the UK trust in business runs at just 35% among those in the lowest income brackets. And it means putting aside short-term considerations and investing in people and communities for the long-term.

These are all things that I know the vast majority of businesses do already. Not just by creating jobs, supporting smaller businesses, training and developing people, but also by working to give something back to communities and supporting the next generation.

Businesses large and small are the backbone of our economies, and enterprise is the engine of our prosperity. That is why Britain is – and will always be – open for business: open to investment in our companies, infrastructure, universities and entrepreneurs. Open to those who want to buy our goods and services. And open to talent and opportunities, from the arts to technology, finance to manufacturing.

But, at the same time as promoting this openness, we must heed the underlying feeling that there are some companies, particularly those with a global reach, who are playing by a different set of rules to ordinary, working people.

So it is essential for business to demonstrate leadership. To show that, in this globalised world, everyone is playing by the same rules, and that the benefits of economic success are there for all our citizens.

This work is absolutely crucial if we are to maintain public consent for a globalised economy and the businesses that operate within it.

That is why I have talked a great deal about our country delivering yet higher standards of corporate governance, to help make the UK the best place to invest of any major economy.

That means several things.

It means businesses paying their fair share of tax, recognising their obligations and duties to their employees and supply chains, and trading in the right way; companies genuinely investing in – and becoming part of – the communities and nations in which they operate, and abiding by the responsibilities that implies; and all of us taking steps towards addressing executive pay and accountability to shareholders.

And that is why I welcome the World Economic Forum’s ‘Compact for Responsive and Responsible Leadership’ that businesses are being asked to sign up to at this conference.

It is this change – setting clear rules for businesses to operate by, while embracing the liberalism and free trade that enable them to thrive – which will allow us to conserve the ultimate good that is a globalised economy.

I have no doubt at all about the vital role business plays, not just in the economic life of a nation, but in society too. But to respond to that sense of anxiety people feel, I believe we – business and government working together – need to do even more to make the case.

That is why in Britain, we are developing a new Modern Industrial Strategy. The term ‘industrial strategy’ has fallen into something approaching disrepute in recent years, but I believe such a strategy – that addresses the long-standing and structural weaknesses in our economy – is essential if we are to promote the benefits of free markets and free trade as we wish.

Our strategy is not about propping up failing industries or picking winners, but creating the conditions where winners can emerge and grow. It is about backing those winners all the way to encourage them to invest in the long-term future of Britain.

And about delivering jobs and economic growth to every community and corner of the country.

We can’t leave all this to international market forces alone, or just rely on an increase in overall prosperity.

Instead, we have to be practical and proactive – in other words, we have to step up and take control – to ensure free trade and globalisation work for everyone.

Social reform

At the same time, we have embarked on an ambitious agenda of social reform that embraces the same principles. Active, engaged government that steps up and works for everyone.

Because if you are someone who is just managing, just getting by, you don’t need a government that will get out of the way. You need an active government that will step up and champion the things that matter to you.

Governments have traditionally been good at identifying, if not always addressing, the problems and challenges faced by the least disadvantaged in our societies.

However, the mission I have laid out for the government I lead – to make Britain a country that works for everyone – goes further. It is to build something that I have called the shared society – one that doesn’t just value our individual rights but focuses rather more on the responsibilities we have to one another. That respects the bonds that people share – the bonds of family, community, citizenship and strong institutions.

And that recognises the obligations we have as citizens – obligations that make our society work.

It is these bonds and obligations that make our society strong and answer our basic human need for definition and identity.

And I am absolutely clear that it is the job of government to encourage and nurture the relationships, networks and institutions that provide that definition, and to correct the injustice and unfairness that divides us wherever it is found.

Too often today, the responsibilities we have to one another have been forgotten as the cult of individualism has taken hold, and globalisation and the democratisation of communications has encouraged people to look beyond their own communities and immediate networks in the name of joining a broader global community.

To say this is not to argue against globalisation – nor the benefits it brings – from modern travel and modern media to new products in our shops and new opportunities for British companies to export their goods to millions of consumers all around the world.

But just as we need to act to address the deeply felt sense of economic inequality that has emerged in recent years, so we also need to recognise the way in which a more global and individualistic world can sometimes loosen the ties that bind our society together, leaving some people feeling locked out and left behind.


I am determined to make sure that centre-ground, mainstream politics can respond to the concerns people have today. I am determined to stand up for free markets, free trade and globalisation, but also to show how these forces can work for everyone.

And to do so, I turn to the words of the 18th century philosopher Edmund Burke who said “a state without the means of some change is without the means of its own conservation”.

That great conservative principle – change in order to conserve – is more important than ever in today’s complex geopolitical environment.

And I feel it is of huge relevance to those of us here in Davos this week.

And it is the principle that guides me as I lead Britain through this period of change.

As we build a new, bold, confident Global Britain and shape a new era of globalisation that genuinely works for all.

As we harness the forces of globalisation so that the system works for everyone, and so maintain public support for that system for generations to come.

I want that to be the legacy of our time. To use this moment to provide responsive, responsible leadership that will bring the benefits of free trade to every corner of the world; that will lift millions more out of poverty and towards prosperity; and that will deliver security, prosperity and belonging for all of our people.

Thank you.

Philip Hammond – 2017 Speech in Davos

Below is the text of the speech made by Philip Hammond, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in Davos on 19 January 2017.

The theme of this year’s conference is ‘responsive and responsible’ leadership.

It’s quite clear why this title was chosen.

That leadership has never been more necessary as we leave 2016 behind us, and face the challenges of 2017.

At home, last year delivered the decision of the British people to leave the European Union.

In the US, the decision of the American people to elect a President who ran as an anti-establishment outsider.

And across Europe, a rise in support for non-mainstream parties, the effects of which may start to be seen in elections later this year.

Clearly something is going on and governments have to respond.

And what better way to respond than to gather the global elites for a serious discussion in an exclusive mountain ski resort?

The most immediate challenge facing the UK is negotiating and executing our departure from the European Union.

There have been many assessments made of, and conclusions drawn from, the referendum outcome in the UK, and the lessons will no doubt be pored over by historians and political scientists for years to come.

But two things in particular strike me:

First, while the drivers of global political events in 2016 may well be linked, we should be cautious about attributing motive to votes in a referendum, as opposed to an election.

I do not doubt that a section of the population is disillusioned by the obsolence of their skills and the stagnant real wages that implies – and happy to kick the political establishment when given an opportunity to do so. And we, as politicians, need to hear that message and react to it.

But it’s a big step to say the UK electorate as a whole is fundamentally rejecting capitalism or globalisation. It isn’t.

Some of them were simply expressing a view on the European Union! And, of course, on immigration.

As the Prime Minister has made clear, we need to show how we can build an economy – on the bedrock of our tired and proven system – that will work for everyone in an age, not just of globalisation but of unstoppable technological change.

And second, the UK vote to leave the European Union was clearly not a vote to turn inwards, whatever is going on elsewhere in the world.

The rhetoric of the referendum was not one of insularity and isolation, of protectionism and retreat.

In fact it was quite the opposite.

The UK takes pride in being the most open economy in the world.

And the successful leave campaign was premised on the rapid conclusion of free trade agreements with China, with India, with Japan, with the US and the wider Anglosphere – as well as other countries beyond it.

The argument put forward to the British people was that by leaving the EU we could do more, not less, trade with the rest of the world. And that the EU itself is too inward looking and is ill-equipped to exploit the full potential of the rebalancing of the world’s economy to the East and the South.

Politicians on both sides of that debate have been consistent and entirely aligned since the referendum in emphasising that Britain is open for business and will remain an open economy and an outward-looking society.

So we should react to signals of the popular mood, but we should not overreact.

In Britain, at least, what we have heard was a rumble of discontent, rather than a nascent revolution.

So as we move into 2017, we must define, and then deliver a new relationship with our European neighbours.

You heard from the PM on Tuesday, that we want to maintain the closest possible relationship with them – including the most comprehensive possible free-trade agreement.

But we must do that in a spirit of realism about the political context that we and our European partners operate within.

It is clear for instance, that on migration we cannot continue with freedom of movement as we have it today.

That doesn’t mean we’re pulling up the drawbridge: we must continue to attract the brightest and best to work and study in Britain; immigration from the EU will remain crucial to filling skills shortages, delivering public services and maintaining Britain as one of the most competitive places in the world to start and grow a business.

But we must be able to demonstrate that we can control the migration process in our own interest.

And we are equally clear that we must respect our EU partners when they say membership of the Single Market means accepting the so-called “four freedoms”.

That’s their political reality.

That is why the Prime Minister made clear this week that as we negotiate our future relationship with the European Union, membership of the Single Market is not our objective.

And because we want to be able to strike our own free trade agreements with countries around the world, we may not seek full membership of the Customs Union either.

It is on the basis of this pragmatic framework, recognising political realities on both sides, that we will set out to achieve the best possible deal for the British economy:

A trade-maximising deal, across low friction borders: a solution that delivers for the UK and for the EU alike.

It is clear that it is in European manufacturers’ interests to maintain access to our market, but access to our financial services should also be a priority for our EU partners.

Thanks to their depth and liquidity, UK capital markets provide a highly efficient source of finance to European companies and, indeed, governments. So much so that 60% of all EU capital markets activity is executed through the UK.

UK based banks provided more than £1.1 trillion of cross-border lending to the EU during 2015.

Half of all UK private equity investments in 2014 were in mainland European companies.

And this isn’t just about hedge funds and mergers and acquisitions.

It’s about the loan that gives someone a leg up onto the housing ladder for the first time; the insurance that protects cars and homes; the savings pot that provides support in retirement.

Consumers across Europe, as well as businesses, rely on our financial services industry for many of these critical services.

London’s financial services industry is a complex ecosystem that has grown up over decades.

In my conversations with business leaders in the sector I am told repeatedly that it is this scale and depth that has generated such strength.

Replicating this elsewhere in Europe in a short timescale is simply not feasible. Punishing the UK, by trying to fragment that ecosystem would only mean European businesses having to go to New York for some, at least, of the financial services they need.

Any diminution of London’s financial markets would be bad for businesses and consumers in Britain and in the EU. It would drive up costs. And it would act as a drag on the economy of this entire continent.

It is therefore in everyone’s interest to transition to a new relationship with the EU which provides the greatest possible degree of mutual access to each other’s market for goods and services, so that we can minimise the disruption to existing patterns of business and supply chains.

Of course, the interests we share are not solely economic.

The continuing risk of terrorism and geopolitical instability demonstrate the need to continue our close cooperation in areas such as security. And we want to maintain our close relationships in culture, science and technology, educational exchange and research and development too.

We recognise that we won’t achieve a deal overnight. But it is in nobody’s interests either to prolong uncertainty or for there to be a cliff-edge for business or a threat to stability as we transition to our new partnership with the EU.

Therefore we will seek to agree a phased process which gets us from where we are now to the end-state of our future, permanent, relationship with the EU.

Anything else would be damaging for both UK and European economic, and potentially financial, stability.

And a UK in a close, ongoing, partnership with the EU, will have a vital national interest in the future success of the EU. So we will do nothing that could undermine that success.

Let me be clear: our ambition is to remain in the economic mainstream of Europe, with a comprehensive deal with our European neighbours.

But maintaining Britain’s competitiveness is not an optional extra; it’s an existential necessity.

So if somehow, despite our best efforts, political retribution were to triumph over economic logic and we don’t get a fair deal providing the reasonable access to each other’s markets…

…we will have to do whatever is necessary to ensure the continued competitiveness of our economy in those circumstances.

That is not a threat, it’s a statement of the blindingly obvious.

Negotiating Brexit is not the only challenge of 2017. We have to understand and learn to work with a new administration in our closest ally and partner.

We have to manage the impact of currency driven inflation after a period of stable prices.

And we have to get our economy match-fit for the post-Brexit world that awaits us.

I am confident we will get a sensible Brexit deal. But to take full advantage of it, we need to focus on overcoming a weakness that has plagued our economy for well over a decade: our poor productivity performance.

The UK needs to up its game urgently.

We lag US and German labour productivity by some 30 percentage points. But we also lag France by over 25 and Italy by 9.

That means it takes a German worker less than 4 days to produce what a British worker makes in 5. And inevitably that means that too many British workers work longer hours for lower pay than their counterparts.

Our upcoming Industrial Strategy consultation will address this challenge head on.

The quality of public infrastructure, insufficient skills, and regional imbalances are all factors restraining productivity, alongside underinvestment in businesses.

That’s why I took the decision in the Autumn Statement to allow additional borrowing to invest £23 billion in a new National Productivity Investment Fund over the next five years, specifically focused on productivity-generating infrastructure, housing, research, development and innovation.

That means real-terms public sector set investment is forecast to be over 50% higher than the whole period of the last Labour government, and focused more clearly on the needs of the economy.

And we are taking a long term approach by establishing the National Infrastructure Commission as a permanent body.

I look forward to their first National Infrastructure Assessment later this year – which will offer the first comprehensive view of our long-term infrastructure needs.

And, of course, we are making sure Britain remains one of the most competitive places to invest with corporation tax set to fall to 17%, by far the lowest overall rate of corporate tax in the G20.

And addressing the productivity challenge is not only good for our economy – it also helps to address some of the social challenges we face.

That is important because, over the coming years our economy, and our social structures, will have to cope not only with the impacts of globalisation and an ageing population profile, but also with a quickening pace of technological change as the fourth industrial revolution gathers speed.

On the positive side, many of the new, disruptive technologies are being developed in the UK.

To support that we will be investing over £8 billion of public money in R&D annually by the end of the decade, ensuring that what is invented and discovered here gets developed and commercialised here.

And, yes, ultimately, taxed here.

But that won’t, in itself, protect us from the impact as first unskilled, and then skilled workers, find their jobs disappearing.

Indeed, looking at the relative speed of development of recent advances in computerised medical diagnostics on the one hand and driverless vehicles on the other, it could well be skilled workers who are under the most immediate threat.

I only hope that I’ve left the office before they automate the Chancellor of the Exchequer!

Of course, it is possible to mask the effects of change in the short-term: and we will certainly face demands to do so.

But Politicians who take the populist route will find it a very short road.

There is no sustainable future for a developed economy in protectionism, subsidy, and high debt.

So whether it’s on restoring the public finances to health, getting the right Brexit deal for Britain or tackling the long-term productivity challenge facing our economy, this government is providing the responsible economic leadership that our country needs.

That means facing up to the fact that we have some hard graft ahead.

There are no easy answers. Populism is a fool’s paradise.

I hope I have already demonstrated that I welcome suggestions from business and will act on them where I can.

You asked us to confirm the businesses rates reductions – and we did.

You asked us to boost spending on research and development, and at the Autumn Statement we responded by increasing public R&D spend by £2 billion a year by 2020-21.

You asked for investment in infrastructure – and we will deliver a higher rate of public sector net investment than in every year from 1993 until the financial crash.

But in the end, economic growth is not delivered by what we do. It’s delivered by what you do.

So let me close by thanking the CBI and business leaders for your enduring commitment to growing our economy and creating the jobs and the ideas on which it depends.

As we navigate our way through the unchartered waters of Brexit, the partnership and dialogue between business and government will be more important than ever.

So let us work together, using all our networks to impress on our European neighbours how much it’s in all our interests to retain that strong trading relationship.

Let us work together to ensure we retain the innovation, the dynamism, and the job creation that mark out the British economy from many of its competitors.

And let us work together to secure our long term prospects by matching public sector investment in productivity with a renewed wave of private investment as the fog of Brexit begins to clear.

Working together, we can be confident that our best days lie ahead of us.

Theresa May – 2016 Speech to the Gulf Co-operation Council

Below is the text of the speech made by Theresa May, the Prime Minister, in Manama on 7 December 2016.

I am delighted to be here in Manama, following in the footsteps of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales in celebrating 2 centuries of relations between Bahrain and the United Kingdom. And I am very grateful to His Majesty King Hamad for bestowing on me this special honour – to be invited to address the leaders of the Gulf Co-operation Council.

We meet at a time of great change in the world. Political change, economic change, social change; in almost every sphere we are confronted with change and uncertainty.

The risks to our shared security are growing and evolving, as terrorists operate across national borders to plot attacks against our people; as new threats emerge from the malevolent use of the internet, and as certain states continue to act in ways that undermine stability in your region – undermining, in turn, our own security in the West and further reinforcing the need for all of us to work together.

We, in the West, face the challenge of trying to manage those forces of globalisation that have in recent times left some of our people behind.

Here in the Gulf you, too, are facing the challenges of securing jobs and opportunities for your peoples and building what I call an economy that works for everyone.

In this uncertain world, people are searching for direction and leadership and we have a responsibility to provide it. I believe it is more than a responsibility. For if we work together, it is also an unparalleled opportunity to show that we understand the scale of the change people need; understand truly what lies behind it; and most importantly of all; that we as leaders are trusted to deliver.

One of the prevailing sentiments in all my conversations with GCC leaders over the last 5 months since I became Prime Minister has been this sense that in challenging times, you turn to your oldest and most dependable friends.

That is the spirit in which I come here today.

We have a rich history on which to build. From the very first treaties, in the mid-17th century, which saw the East India Company reach agreements on British trade and a military presence in Oman, to our deep partnership as Cold War allies, the UK has been proudly at the forefront of a relationship between the Gulf and the West that has been the bedrock of our shared prosperity and security.

And as the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, I am determined that we should seize the opportunity to get out into the world and to shape an even bigger global role for my country: yes, to build new alliances but more importantly, to go even further in working with old friends, like our allies here in the Gulf, who have stood alongside us for centuries.

There has never been a more important, or more challenging time to do so. In the face of growing extremism and radicalisation, not unique to this region but here in its most egregious form; in the face of threats to the rules-based order which has underpinned not just our shared security but also the foundations for our shared prosperity, the UK stands here today seeking not just to reaffirm a relationship that is of great historic value but to renew a partnership that is absolutely fundamental to our shared future.

So in accepting the honour of addressing GCC leaders, I seek not just to offer a message of continuity, but to begin to build a bold new chapter in our co-operation; not to develop a transactional relationship but rather to forge a strategic relationship, a relationship based on true partnership and an enduring commitment between our countries and our peoples; a relationship through which together we can meet these great challenges to our shared security and prosperity, and grab this opportunity to build an exciting future for the generations that follow us.

So let me set out some of the ways in which the UK will step up its relationship with the GCC. And let me start with security.

Gulf security is our security

Gulf security is our security. Extremists plotting terror attacks here in this region are not only targeting the Gulf but, as we have seen, targeting the streets of Europe too. Whether we are confronting the terrorism of Al Qaeda or the murderous barbarity of Daesh, no country is a more committed partner for you in this fight than the United Kingdom.

Today UK servicemen and women are putting their lives on the line at the heart of the international mission against Daesh in Iraq and Syria. We are making progress. And as we are seeing with the current operations in Mosul, the days of Daesh as an occupying force are numbered.

Through our close co-operation on counter-terrorism we are succeeding in foiling terrorist plots and a range of threats against citizens in all our countries. For example, intelligence we have received in the past from Saudi Arabia has saved potentially hundreds of lives in the UK.

And by focusing not just on violent extremism, but on the whole spectrum of extremism, violent and non-violent, at home and abroad, we are not just going after the terrorists but working to address the causes of this terrorist threat by targeting the ideology of extremism and all those who seek to spread it.

As we address new threats to our security, so we must also continue to confront state actors whose influence fuels instability in the region. So I want to assure you that I am clear-eyed about the threat that Iran poses to the Gulf and the wider Middle East.

The UK is fully committed to our strategic partnership with the Gulf and working with you to counter that threat. We secured a deal which has neutralised the possibility of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons for over a decade. It has already seen Iran remove 13,000 centrifuges together with associated infrastructure and eliminate its stock of 20% enriched uranium. That was vitally important for regional security. But we must also work together to push back against Iran’s aggressive regional actions, whether in Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen, Syria or in the Gulf itself.

We must also continue to work together to achieve a just and comprehensive settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian issue, building on efforts such as the Arab Peace Initiative and harnessing the influence of all of us around this table to bring together those with a stake in a lasting peace, built around a 2-state solution. This remains fundamental to the long-term security and prosperity of the whole Middle East.

In recent years we have retained the ability to defend our mutual interests when threatened by deploying UK assets to the region, as we did when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, and as we are continuing to do with HMS Ocean – which I visited yesterday – as it begins its deployment here in Bahrain.

But as part of the renewed relationship that I want to forge with you, the United Kingdom will make a more permanent and more enduring commitment to the long-term security of the Gulf.

We will invest in hard power, with over £3 billion of defence spending in the region over the next decade, spending more on defence in the Gulf than in any other region of the world.

Through the construction of HMS Jufair, and thanks to the generosity of the Kingdom of Bahrain, we will create a permanent presence in the region, the first such facility east of Suez since 1971, with more British warships, aircraft and personnel deployed on operations in the Gulf than in any other part of the world.

At the same time, a regional land training hub in Oman is establishing a permanent British army presence in the region. And I am delighted to announce that Saif Sareea 3 will take place in Oman in 2018 – the largest UK-Omani exercise for 15 years.

We will also go further in deepening our defence co-operation through a new Strategic Partnership between the UK and the GCC, supporting the development of your defence capacity and capability, including for humanitarian operations and crisis response planning.

As part of this we will establish a new British Defence Staff in Dubai to co-ordinate our regional activities and, here in Bahrain, we will embed a dedicated military officer with the Ministry of Interior bomb disposal unit to provide bomb scene management support and training.

We will establish a new Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism and Border Security and a new National Security Dialogue at GCC level to protect critical national infrastructure, facilitate faster intelligence sharing on suspected foreign terrorist fighters and implement traveller screening systems to detect terrorists attempting to pass through any GCC airport.

And because we know that our enemies are increasingly using the internet against us, we will use our expertise in cyber security technologies to build our resilience, and that of our international partners.

So we are appointing world-leading cyber experts with extensive backgrounds in delivering cyber security in the UK to provide focused advice to Gulf States on developing your own capacity – as well as a new Cyber Industry Representative based in the region who will build links between cyber sectors in the UK and the Gulf.

In all of these ways, I am determined that the UK will be at the forefront of a wider Western effort to step up our defence and security partnership. Not just to provide greater stability and security to the region but also to protect the rules-based order that has been so fundamental to our shared prosperity.

When I think of the growth of this region over the past 50 years, from the transformation of Dubai to the position of the Gulf as the UK’s third largest export market, I never forget that the bedrock of this prosperity and stability has been the relationship between the Gulf and the West.

Now, in this period of uncertainty, is the time to recommit to this relationship. That is why I am here – to signal my commitment to this relationship and to build on the foundations of our continued partnership in security and prosperity for decades to come.

Your prosperity is our prosperity

For just as Gulf security is our security, so your prosperity is also our prosperity.

Already the Gulf is a special market for the United Kingdom. Last year alone, trade between the UK and GCC was worth more than £30 billion.

At the same time Gulf investment in the UK is helping to regenerate cities from Aberdeen to Teeside, and from Manchester to London.

I am determined that we should do everything possible to build on this and elevate our trade and investment to an even more ambitious level.

So I will continue the work that the UK has been leading over the past 3 years to make London one of the great capitals of Islamic finance anywhere in the world. And as Britain leaves the European Union so we intend to take a leap forward, to look outwards and seek to become the most committed and most passionate advocate of free trade in the world.

For free trade makes us all richer. It creates jobs. It increases investment. It improves productivity. It transforms living standards and creates opportunities for all of our citizens.

And nowhere is that more important than here with our friends and allies in the Gulf.

So first, I am delighted that we agreed yesterday to set up a new Joint Working Group to examine how we can unblock remaining barriers to trade and take steps to further liberalise our economies for the benefit of our mutual prosperity.

For example, we have just reached a new agreement with Saudi Arabia to allow British businesses to obtain 5-year multiple entry visas for the first time, creating new opportunities for more bilateral business. And we have agreed that in March next year, the UK will host an event on Gulf national transformation and economic diversification plans at the Mansion House – for centuries, a home of finance and trade at the heart of the City of London.

These steps are exactly the sort of measures that we can pursue together to advance everything that is possible from business and trade for the benefit of all of our economies and therefore all of our citizens.

Second, I can confirm that the UK will take part in Dubai’s Expo 2020 continuing the tradition started in Britain with The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations in Hyde Park in 1851.

Dubai 2020 will offer an enormous commercial opportunity. There will be over 180 nations taking part with more than 25 million visitors expected – from the world’s top business leaders to its biggest investors. It is an opportunity which I am determined we should seize together.

And third, I want these talks at official level to pave the way for an ambitious trade arrangement for when the UK has left the EU. And I want us to be imaginative about the scale and reach of this.

I want us to explore whether in this dynamic and diverse market, we could forge a new trade arrangement for the whole of the Gulf area.

I want to leave no-one in any doubt about the scale of my ambition or the extent of my determination to establish the strongest possible trading relationships between the UK and the Gulf.

Building societies that work for all

Just as we take every possible step to break down the barriers that are restricting our trade and prosperity; it is also important that we continue the work to bring our peoples together and to ensure that the benefits of greater prosperity are shared by all.

In Britain I have talked about the need to create a country that works for everyone.

In doing so, I have set out Britain’s great global opportunity to lead the way in managing the unintended negative forces of globalisation so that large segments of our society are not left behind; and so we restore trust between citizens and institutions.

Just as we face some major economic and social challenges in the West, so in your own economies you also face the challenge of helping to secure jobs and opportunities for your peoples.

We all recognise that there is some way to go before we can say that these economies really work for everyone. But I have been encouraged by recent economic and social reforms you have taken forward and by the bold vision set out by all of the Gulf States for more fundamental and lasting change, most recently with Saudi Arabia’s vision for 2030.

We in the UK are determined to continue to be your partner of choice as you embed international norms and see through the reforms which are so essential for all of your people.

And this is only possible because the strength of the relationship between our countries, and the respect that we have for each other, enables us to speak frankly and honestly as friends.

Together we can meet the challenges of these changing times and secure greater prosperity and security. But to do so will require more than an occasional meeting or a visit every few years. It will require a strengthening of relationships between our countries at every level.

So I look forward to the next chapter of the Manama Dialogue run by the UK’s International Institute for Strategic Studies which the Foreign Secretary will attend later this week.

This vital strategic relationship between the UK and the Gulf – a partnership steeped in so much history and so full of potential for our future – now demands even more concentrated efforts.

That is why I want to continue the hugely positive discussions we are having this week in this first ever UK-GCC dialogue at leader level.

I am delighted that you have agreed to make this an annual event. And I look forward to welcoming you to London next year.


In the face of some of the greatest challenges to our security and our prosperity, we will succeed together. We will succeed through our continued commitment to the rules-based order on which our prosperity has been built. And we will succeed by deepening our security co-operation, expanding our trade and working harder than ever to build economies and societies that work for everyone.

I believe there has never been a more important moment for us to get this right. And under my leadership, Britain will play its full part in delivering on that vision.

Baroness Anelay – 2016 Speech on Human Rights

Below is the text of the speech made by Baroness Anelay, the Minister of State for the Commonwealth, on 8 December 2016.


Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen, distinguished guests, colleagues. Welcome to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. It is a pleasure to see so many of you here tonight.

The theme of this year’s UN Human Rights Day is ‘stand up for someone’s human rights’. It is more relevant this year than ever, because all around the world people’s human rights are under threat every single day. Whether it is through a squeeze on civil society space, a stifling of public debate or free speech, or a ban on freedom of assembly: it all means the same thing: our human rights are at risk. A short while ago, Hannah who helps me with all my human rights work, asked me what human rights mean to me. Human rights are the right to be yourself without fear of prosecution or persecution, because that runs a theme across everything that makes human beings who they are and who they can be.

Importance of civil society

That is why the role of civil society is so important to ensure that human rights can be both promoted, and where they do exist, preserved. It is also why this year’s theme is so relevant to our work here in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, with our focus on civil society and democracy. I share the Foreign Secretary’s belief that human rights, vital in themselves, are also good for the security, prosperity and development of countries around the world. If the Foreign Secretary were here today – as he would very much like to have been – he would tell you how much he personally values civil society as the mechanism through which all citizens can exercise their freedoms and make their voices heard.

Today I would like to talk to you about the work that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is doing to support civil society, and our commitment to promote and defend human rights around the world.

Work of FCO

Many of you are regular visitors to this building and may have attended some of our recent events – such as our ground breaking conference in October on freedom of religion or belief as a bulwark against extremism, or last month’s Week of Women events. Some of you were with us just this week for the visit of the UN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery; or at Australia House for the event we co-hosted an event on the Abolition of the Death Penalty. Those are just a few examples of the human rights work we do here in London.

Overseas, our Embassies and High Commissions are also working on human rights every day. Whether it is supporting organisations that defend human rights, lobbying host governments or debating rules in international fora, our diplomats put human rights at the heart of everything they do. They promote and defend human rights not just because it is the right thing to do, but because it is integral to our national interest and our international reputation.

Their efforts are making a real and positive impact – for example, in helping to create the Human Rights Council’s first ever mechanism to combat violence and discrimination against LGBT communities – that was crucial work they did. When that mandate was challenged at the UN General Assembly, our diplomats helped rally support around the world, to ensure that challenge was defeated, as it should be.

Our work with the UN is crucial, and the UK has been a member of the Human Rights Council for 8 of the last 10 years. I was delighted that earlier this autumn we were re-elected last month to serve a further 3-year term.

Traditional diplomacy like this is still highly effective but we are also moving with the times and adapting how we promote human rights and democracy. Today, that means harnessing traditional and social media channels to get our messages across. They are enabling us to reach some of the most hostile and least democratic corners of our world. An example of this media diplomacy is our support via social media to the UN’s “16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence”, which concludes on Human Rights Day. Naturally, we all know that we need more than 16 days to achieve our goals. Our commitment to promote human rights is for the long term.

Civil society space

I mentioned earlier that one of our current priorities is to counter the “shrinking of civil society space” we are seeing happening around the world. It is a problem that has been on the rise for some time: our last 2 annual Human Rights Reports both noted the alarming rise of anti-NGO legislation and other practices that stifle basic human rights, such as public debate and freedom of assembly. The evidence is clear that shrinking civil society space harms a country’s stability, economic prospects and wider social development.

One example of where we are seeing this is Egypt. I am concerned that the new law on non-governmental organisations passed by the Egyptian Parliament on 29 November will be used to prevent Egyptians from contributing to their country’s future, and will create obstacles for international support for Egypt. At a time of economic hardship, Egypt needs civil society more than ever before, and I hope Egypt accepts the UK’s friendly offer of support.

Human rights defenders

In this context of shrinking space for civil society, the work of human rights defenders has never been more important than it is now. In their efforts to stand up for the human rights of others, they exemplify the theme of this year’s Human Rights Day as well as the wider principles and values of democracy and the rule of law. They deserve our support and protection and they are going to be the focus of our social media activity on Human Rights Day this year. You’ll be able to see some of our clips being played in the background tonight.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office works with human rights defenders around the world, sharing information with them and learning from them. We hugely value their courage and dedication. They are a crucial dimension of the projects that we support. This year we are funding 129 human rights projects in over 60 countries through our Magna Carta Fund for Human Rights and Democracy, and that fund is reaching some of the harder to reach communities, who are benefiting from that. But we know we can learn how to do more. Since 2014 the Fund has supported 9 NGO-led projects focused specifically on the work of human rights defenders.

Colombia, which I visited earlier this year, remains one of the most dangerous countries in the world for human rights defenders. We are running a project to open up dialogue between human rights defenders, local and national government, and the international community. It aims to foster a common understanding of the many challenges they face, and of the potential solutions.

We are also investing in the next generation of human rights defenders, through awarding 60 Chevening scholarships for postgraduate studies in human rights. Our scholars are selected for their academic talent and their future leadership potential, and we are confident they will be a force for good when they return home. As I travel the world for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, it is always a joy to be able to meet our Chevening scholars and see the work they are achieving. They tell me how the opportunity offered to them is making a difference on issues of human rights in their country.


An active civil society is the hallmark of a mature society; a healthy society: one that is open to challenge and able to protect the rights of its citizens. Governments should open the space for civil society, not close it down. They should commend human rights defenders – not condemn them.

That is our message from across the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, that we will continue to promote, at home and abroad. This Human Rights Day, let’s all stand up for human rights.

Thank you for working with us.

Keir Starmer – 2016 Speech at Bloomberg

Below is the text of the speech made by Keir Starmer, the Shadow Secretary of State for Brexit, on 13 December 2016.

I would like to thank Bloomberg for hosting this speech today.

At this time of year, it is natural to reflect.

To look back on the year that has passed and to look forward to the year ahead.

Years that are so full of significance that the year itself becomes a shorthand for a set of events are rare.

But there can be no doubt that 2016 will go down as one of the truly defining years of the 21st century.

Two years ago today – on 13 December 2014 – I was in St Pancras Church opposite Euston Station.

I was speaking to hundreds of Labour Party members, having just been selected to succeed Frank Dobson as Labour’s candidate for my home constituency of Holborn & St Pancras.

How different the world looked then.

Is it any wonder that we are still attempting to understand the world as it has now become and how we got to here?

But the real challenge is not just to interpret the past but to chart a path towards the future.

And that is my task for today.

Coming here to Bloomberg to deliver a speech on Britain and the European Union might be considered to be tempting fate.

When David Cameron spoke here in January 2013 he decided – as was so often the case – to put short-term political considerations ahead of the national interest.

My speech today will be guided by a different lodestar – our country’s interest.

I want to talk about how Labour should respond to Brexit in the national interest.

First, the context.

The Labour Party campaigned to stay in the EU.

I campaigned to stay in the EU.

The vote was to leave.

A high turnout.

A relatively close result.

But a clear result.

Yes, there were half-truths and untruths told in the campaign – none more egregious than the promise of £350 million a-week for our NHS that was daubed on the Vote Leave bus.

Yes, the tone of the referendum was deeply divisive, with social consequences that we all have a duty to tackle.

But we had a referendum and we have a clear result.

Had it gone the other way, those of us who passionately campaigned for Remain would have expected the result to be accepted and respected.

And that cuts both ways.

Now we face an uncertain future.

The first step is for the Prime Minister to distil the diverse and divergent views within her own party into a model of Brexit that can be negotiated with the EU.

I understand what a difficult position the Prime Minister is in.

Her predecessor, leading a government in which she served as Home Secretary, oversaw one of the greatest derelictions of duty of a British government in modern times.

The decision not to undertake any preparations whatsoever for a vote to leave has left the country without a plan and the government without direction.

The stakes could not be higher and the risks of getting this wrong should not be underestimated.

The Prime Minister must embark on the most difficult and complicated negotiations this country has undertaken since the end of the Second World War.

The outcome will determine not just our place in Europe but also our place in the world.

The role of the opposition is crucial.

This is not business as usual.

Setting out what Labour would do in 2020 does not suffice.

This is real opposition in real time.

By 2020, we will be living in a different world.

So how should Labour approach the task?

Some have argued that Labour should adopt the stance taken by the Liberal Democrats.

Frustrate the process: vote against the triggering of Article 50, block the road and somehow turn the clock back to 22 June this year.

Insofar as those advocating this course of action fear that in exiting the EU we risk becoming isolated, abandoning our values of tolerance and damaging our economy, I can understand the plea.

But it is the wrong response for three reasons.

First, as a matter of principle, no serious political party can claim to accept and respect the outcome of the referendum and in the next breath say that it will seek to prevent the Prime Minister from even starting the Article 50 negotiations.

A short point; but an important one.

Second, any political party with an ambition simply to frustrate the process cannot unify or heal the country.

Since I was appointed to my current role, I have travelled all over the UK – including to Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

I have met groups and individuals, held public events, talked to businesses large and small and discussed Brexit with different political parties and leaders.

From this, the evidence is clear: As a society we are more divided now than at any time in my life.

The divide is deep and, in some instances, it is bitter.

The surge in hate crime across the country and the reaction to the High Court judges who delivered judgment in the Article 50 case are testament to this.

In some London constituencies, 75% of those voting in the referendum voted to Remain.

Yet in other areas the precise opposite is the case.

Last Friday, I was in the Midlands, where in some areas 75% of those voting voted to leave.

A new fracture in politics has emerged.

And it is real.

The role of any responsible government ought to be to repair the breach.

Bring the country back together.


But from the start, the Prime Minister has only had a message for one side of the divide.

The Conservative Party failed to act in the national interest by not planning for Brexit.

And this Conservative Prime Minister has set aside the national interest once again by serving the interests of just one side of the divide.

It is a double dereliction of duty.

Extrapolating the view of a group within the 52%, who were seriously concerned about freedom of movement and immigration, the Prime Minister has issued a ‘loud and clear’ warning that control over immigration will be prioritised over jobs, the economy and living standards.

I’m not going to shy away from the question of immigration, or to suggest that it was not a powerful factor in the referendum debate and outcome.

But by clinging to the discredited promise to get immigration into the tens of thousands, the Prime Minister is raising Brexit expectations which cannot be fulfilled without seriously harming our economy and public services.

Most reasonable people expect that the government should aim both for economic security and for the fair management of migration.

Not that it would sacrifice jobs and living standards to make arbitrary reductions in immigration.

Pursuing Brexit in the partisan interest might make Tory party management easier in the short run.

But as David Cameron could tell Theresa May: stray too far from the national interest, and you will be found out in the end.

The Prime Minister’s approach is also alienating the 48% of voters who voted to remain in the EU.

They feel increasingly despondent and despairing.

The government is treating them as if they voted themselves out of their own future.

They did no such thing.

And no party that proceeds against our economic interests in such a divisive way deserves to govern for long.

The government should be negotiating in the national interest, pulling the 52% and the 48% together, imagining and striving for a future that works for the 100%.

But those who advocate frustrating the Article 50 process are making the same mistake.

The Liberal Democrats hold out the false promise to the 48% of being able to frustrate the process.

But what have they got to say to the 52%?

Absolutely nothing.

How can their stance unify the country?

It can’t.

And Labour should not fall into the same trap.

A party that can only speak to and for half a nation cannot heal the rift in our society.

A party that can only speak to and for half a nation does not deserve to govern.

A party that can only speak to and for half a nation cannot forge a bold inclusive vision of the future capable of working for everyone.

The same is true of UKIP’s approach to Brexit.

Immediate withdrawal, without even bothering to negotiate a deal.

The hardest of hard Brexits.

Not only would this be deeply divisive – ignoring the 48% and many more besides – it would be disastrous for our economy, for jobs and for working class communities across the country.

That brings me to the third reason why Labour should not set its sights simply on frustrating the Article 50 process.

That is because to do so would mean walking away from the bigger battle that we must fight.

As we stand on the brink of profound change, it is clear that there are two versions of our future that could be negotiated.

The first is a future that tears us apart from our EU partners.

Standing outside and shut off from the European market of 500 million people who could buy our products and services.

Reverting to World Trade Organisation rules, which as the CBI have said “would do serious and lasting damage to the UK economy and those of our trading partners”.

A global race to the bottom which would not only put our economy and jobs at risk, but which would also abandon our shared scientific, educational and cultural endeavours with the EU.

So-called ‘Hard’ Brexit.

The second version of our future is a version where we exit the EU but build a new and strong relationship with our EU partners based on the principles of co-operation, collaboration and mutual benefit.

A future which preserves our ability to trade in goods and services with our biggest market of 500 million people.

A future that values joint scientific, educational and cultural work with our EU partners, and maintains our status as a global scientific superpower.

A future that guarantees our continued co-operation in the fight against organised crime and terrorism.

A future which allows the UK to retain its leading position in the world, influencing and contributing to developments across Europe and beyond.

The battle between these two versions of our future is the battle of our times.

It will be fought out over the next few years.

Labour needs to be leading that battle.

As the opposition, we need to be fighting the battle for the future of Britain.

If we do not, the chance to shape the future of our country will be lost.

Future generations will not forgive us for such a dereliction of duty.

But accepting and respecting the referendum result is not the end of the process; it is the beginning.

The referendum answered the question of what we should do, but provided no answer to how we should do so.

That question was not on the ballot paper on 23rd June.

It was not in the Conservative Party manifesto.

And it was not addressed by Theresa May before she became Prime Minister.

But it is the now the most pressing question Britain has faced for generations.

So what does fighting for the right version of our future entail?

Let me start with trade.

A good deal of ink has been spilt in the last few months on the finer distinctions of the single market and the customs union.

I’m not sure how much clarity that has provided.

So let me attempt to put Labour’s position succinctly by focussing on function not form.

Put simply, Labour will push for a Brexit model which maintains and protects our ability successfully to trade goods and deliver services with and to the EU.

That means:

A model that ensures continued tariff-free trade for UK businesses with the EU

A model that ensures that any new regulatory frameworks do not add bureaucratic burdens or risk harmful divergence from the EU market.

A model that protects the competitiveness of our services and manufacturing sectors; and

A model that ensures that existing protections at work provided by the EU are maintained.

These tests complement the aims set out by John McDonnell earlier this year and set a blueprint against which the government’s endeavours can be measured.

Significantly, the Government has provided far less clarity about its approach.

It has veered between a hard, extreme Brexit and some other undefined, vaguer form of Brexit.

The Prime Minister’s conference speech outlined the former: a UK out of any EU rules based systems altogether.

Necessarily isolated and detached.

When I visited Brussels shortly afterwards, it was clear this had been received by our EU colleagues as the Prime Minister wanting to take the UK out of the single market, out of the customs union and adopting the stance of a remote third party to the EU.

Hence the description, “Hard Brexit”.

Contrast that with the tone struck by the Business Secretary Greg Clark when he announced Nissan’s welcome investment in Sunderland.

We were told that the Government had given private assurances to Nissan that the UK would seek to achieve ‘continued access’ to the single market ‘without tariffs and without bureaucratic impediments’.

Amid those two very different visions of Brexit we have had a range of contradictory messages from Cabinet Members, as well as leaks, hints and Boris Johnson’s never ending running commentary.

Given the complexity of the issues before us and the deliberate lack of planning by the Cameron government, it is perhaps not surprising that we have this level of chaos and confusion.

But it needs to end now.

That is why Labour’s victory last week in securing a commitment from the government to publish a plan before invoking Article 50 was so important.

During the debate last week, I set out five tests for the plan to satisfy:

Does it end uncertainty surrounding the Government’s position on fundamental issues such the access to the single market, the customs union and transitional arrangements?

Does it include sufficient detail to allow the Brexit select committee and other relevant Parliamentary bodies to carry out their scrutiny functions effectively?

Does it enable the Office of Budget Responsibility to do its job properly in assessing the economic impact of Brexit?

Does it include sufficient detail to allow the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to be assured that their particular and specific concerns are being addressed?

Will it help build a national consensus on Brexit?

A late vague plan will not do.

And I have put the government on notice that if no meaningful plan emerges, Labour will seek to amend any Article 50 Bill brought forward early next year.

Anyone who thinks that the government has been handed a blank cheque is very much mistaken.

Let me now turn to freedom of movement.

If Labour has the ambition to bring the 52% and the 48% together and to build a national consensus on Brexit, we have to recognise that changes to the way freedom of movement rules operate in the UK have to be part of the Brexit negotiations.

When I was Shadow Immigration Minister I spent months visiting every region of the UK to listen to views on immigration.

I know how important the issue is to many voters.

I know that any party that seeks to govern needs to listen to their concerns and come up with adequate and appropriate responses.

No comprehensive approach to Brexit or response to the referendum result can ignore the issue of freedom of movement.

As Len McCluskey recently said:

“There is no doubt that concerns about the impact of the free movement played a significant part in the referendum result, particularly in working-class communities…We are well past the point where [this] issue can be ignored”.

Labour needs a bold and ambitious response.

The rules must change.

And our new relationship with the EU will have to be one which is based on fair migration rules and the reasonable management of migration.

If Brexit forces us to confront the appalling and enduring skills gap in the UK, that is a good thing.

If Brexit forces us to confront low pay exploitation, that is also a good thing.

But the status quo is not an option.

Labour’s response must, of course, be driven by our values.

As President Obama recently said, the rapidly changing nature of:

“….politics in all of our countries is going to require us to manage technology and global integration…in a way that makes people feel more control, that gives them more confidence in their future, but does not resort to simplistic answers or divisions of race or tribe, or crude nationalism”.

The Labour Party and the wider Labour movement have always been at the forefront of fighting discrimination and building a fairer, more equal society.

Labour recognises that without the hard work and skill of migrants our public services, our businesses and our economy would suffer.

But we have also always been the party that values strong, cohesive communities.

It was striking that the referendum results showed the areas in the country with the highest levels of immigration voted most strongly to Remain.

But the areas with the highest pace of change voted most strongly to Leave.

That tells me that the British people are open and tolerant; but that they also expect change to be managed, rather than simply allowing the free market to rip through communities.

This is not to pretend that arguing for changes to freedom of movement will not make a deal on single market access harder.

It will.

But in the negotiations to come, it is incumbent on the government to fight for the fullest possible market access and reasonable management of migration.

We should demand nothing less.

But our new relationship with the EU has to go beyond an economic argument and protecting our ability to trade in goods and services – vital though they are.

Underpinning everything we have done with our European partners since the war have been shared values – British values.

Of peace.
Of co-operation.
Of collaboration.
The rule of law.
Human rights.
Shared security and safety.

As we forge a new future outside the EU, it is vital that we re-assert these values and use them to guide us through the turbulent times ahead.

Labour must argue for a bold, progressive domestic policy post-Brexit.

It is true – as many of us argued during the referendum campaign – that EU legislation has been a driver of progressive UK policy in areas such the environment, consumer rights and employment rights.

Protecting these gains is essential.

Particularly since some Conservative MPs have already signalled an intention to use the Great Repeal Bill as an opportunity to water down or erode these vital rights and standards.

But defending the status quo should never be the summit of Labour’s ambitions.

Enshrining rights in our law is important, but we should also pursue more progressive, more ambitious policies than those enshrined in EU law.

Not to match EU standards but to use Labour values to go beyond them.

And, in doing so, to seek to address some of the underlying causes of the division in our society.

So to conclude.

Many of the certainties and policy assumptions we have made for more than four decades are now up for grabs.

That is why the role of the opposition is so important right here; right now.

The future of Britain is being decided and Labour will be at the centre of it.

Respecting the result.

Fighting for a confident and outward looking country and a co-operative, collaborative and values-led version of our future.

Bringing a fractured country back together.

Responding to Brexit in the national interest.

That is Labour’s task.

Sarah Olney – 2016 Winning Speech at Richmond Park By-Election

Below is the text of the speech made by Sarah Olney following her by-election victory in Richmond Park on 2 December 2016.

Let me start by thanking the other candidates for a hard-fought campaign – and to Zac Goldsmith in particular, I wish you well and assure you that I will continue your fight against the expansion of Heathrow.

I also would like to thank the returning officer, the staff that have worked so hard today and yesterday and of course the police. I want to thank my amazing campaign team led by James Lillis and the thousands of volunteers who have taken time to support me over the course of the campaign. I want to thank my family and friends for the wonderful support they’ve given me – particularly my husband Ben and our children. I want to thank our leader Tim Farron, and all the other party members who could not have been more supportive. And I’d like to thank the Greens, More United, the Women’s Equality Party and all the other people beyond the Lib Dems who have supported me in this campaign.

A year and a half ago, I wasn’t involved in politics. I wasn’t a member of a political party. I’d never been involved in a political campaign. I’d never thought about being a politician. But I knew I was a Liberal – I believed in openness, tolerance, compassion, working with our neighbours at home and around the world – and when I saw what happened at the General Election and I felt I had to get involved.

I think a lot of people in this community had the same feeling this summer. Richmond Park is full of people like me who felt that something was going wrong. That the politics of anger and division were on the rise. That the liberal, tolerant values we took for granted were under threat. We were seeing the UKIP vision for Britain in the ascendancy – intolerant, backward-looking, divisive; just as we see it in America and across Europe.

Well today we have said no. We will defend the Britain we love. We will stand up for the open, tolerant, united Britain that we believe in. The people of Richmond Park and North Kingston have sent a shockwave through this Conservative Brexit Government. And our message is clear: we do not want a ‘hard Brexit’; we do not want to be pulled out of the Single Market; and we will not let intolerance, division and fear win.

Boris Johnson – 2016 Speech on the UK’s Policy in the Gulf

Below is the text of the speech made by Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, in Bahrain on 9 December 2016.

It is a great honour to be speaking here at this Manama dialogue in this 200th anniversary year of the friendship between Britain and Bahrain.

I have just come from an audience with His Majesty King Hamad during which we hailed the strength of a friendship that has been unbroken, and that was inaugurated in 1816 by one Captain William Bruce, who rejoiced in the title of British Resident in the Gulf.

In between chasing slavers and harrying pirates he discovered that the milk from the local cows was a cure for smallpox.

As he said: “Of the truth of it I have not the smallest doubt. I have asked some 40 or 50 persons” which strikes me as a pretty solid piece of medical research.

Perhaps lured by this magic milk the British came in growing numbers to the region until 1861 when the UK and Bahrain signed a “treaty of perpetual peace and friendship” and through two world wars assisted by all sorts of formalities of friendship and fealty the relationship progressed until 1968 and then something went wrong. Not here. Not in the Gulf. But in London.

And so, Ladies and Gentlemen, I want us tonight to drag our eyes back from this splendid dinner to a less opulent scene – to Britain in January 1968, a nation in the grip of a freezing winter with debts so bad that we were dependent – as Harold Wilson put it – on the mercy of the gnomes of Zurich (apologies to any gnomes for his political incorrectness).

A Britain where the snow was so deep that kids couldn’t get to school; the Beatles were on the verge of breaking up and the national self-confidence had sunk like mercury in the thermometer and I want to take you into that Cabinet room where two powerful figures were battling over the direction – the whole orientation – of the country.

On the one side there was Roy Jenkins, the urbane Chancellor of the Exchequer, with his frog-like beam who yearned to take Britain into what was then called the European Common Market, even though the UK had already been rejected twice by “nos amis” and in the other corner there was the colourful and brilliant Foreign Secretary George Brown, the man who gave the euphemism “tired and emotional” to the English language.

A man who once went up to a lovely scarlet clad creature at an embassy soiree in Peru and asked for the honour of dancing a waltz and was rebuffed on three grounds. The first was that he was drunk, the second was that this was not a waltz but the Peruvian national anthem and the third was that his interlocutor was the Cardinal Archbishop of Lima.

Those were the two adversaries, Roy Jenkins and George Brown, and the argument went on in the Cabinet for 7 consecutive meetings, breaking sometimes for only a brief meal, lasting a total of 36 hours.

And what was that argument about? It was about Britain’s role in the Gulf, and everywhere East of Suez; and whether the country, my country, could any longer afford it. Roy Jenkins said that British overseas expenditure was already £381 million a year (less than we give today in overseas aid to some countries these days) and he said this spending had to be cut back.

George Brown came back strongly. Yes, Europe was important, he accepted, but so was the rest of the world. And he made the key point that military and political partnerships went hand in hand with trade, and economic growth. On and on went the debate in tones that contemporaries described as “icy”, “bad-tempered”, “furious” until I am afraid Harold Wilson, the Prime Minister, summed up in favour of the defeatists and the retreatists.

George Brown lost; the flag came down; the troops came home, from Borneo, from the Indian Ocean, from Singapore, and yes from the Gulf and we in the UK lost our focus on this part of the world.

And so tonight I want to acknowledge that this policy of disengagement East of Suez was a mistake and in so far as we are now capable, and we are capable of a lot, we want to reverse that policy at least in this sense: that we recognise the strong historical attachment between Britain and the Gulf, and more importantly, we underscore the growing relevance and importance of that relationship in today’s uncertain and volatile world.

We are here at the Manama dialogue – and I am following a stellar series of emissaries including the Prince of Wales and the Prime Minister to make a strategic point that was symbolised by the GCC inviting our Prime Minister, Theresa May to be guest of honour at their summit. That any crisis in the Gulf is a crisis for Britain – from day one; that your security is our security and that we recognise the wisdom of those who campaigned for a policy of engagement east of Suez – that your interests military, economic, political – are intertwined with our own. Of course I don’t believe we can run the Union Jack Flag back up on every outpost around the world even if anyone else wanted us to do so – and they don’t – but we are reopening HMS Jufair, a naval support facility here in Bahrain, which His Majesty the King said he remembered from his childhood before our disengagement.

We are renewing military ties with old friends: Britain’s Gulf Defence Staff is being located in Dubai. The Al-Minhad air base in the UAE provides a hub for the RAF. In Oman, the British Army is establishing a Regional Land Training centre – one of only four in the world – and creating a permanent present in the Sultanate.

We cooperate intensively with our friends in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere on counter-terrorism, in sharing military technology, in what is still a highly dangerous geopolitical landscape where the spores of terrorism can be incubated and are incubated not just in the Middle East, but in our own country as well.

And it is absolutely right that we should so share and cooperate because our interests and our problems are shared.

That is why Britain has in total 1,500 military personnel in the region and 7 warships, more than any other Western nation apart from the US. We are spending £3 billion on our military commitments in the Gulf over the next 10 years and that is deepening a partnership that is stronger than with any other group of nations in the world outside NATO.

Together with our allies in the Gulf, we are fighting together to defeat Daesh in Iraq and Syria, and we are winning. The RAF is the second biggest contributors to the airborne strike missions after the Americans. And together we have helped dramatically to reduce the footprint of that terrorist organisation.

We are steadily exposing the absurdity of their pretensions to be a caliphate. And of course we all know the immensity of the challenges we face in this region. Helping – when stability is finally restored – Iraq to rebuild and unify that country. And we all know, as the Prime Minister said only a few days ago, that we must be clear-eyed and vigilant about the role of Iran.

And yes, I believe that it was worth spending 12 years to negotiate the JCPOA, the nuclear agreement with Iran. I think it was a genuine achievement of diplomacy that has helped to make the world a safer place. And I think we must build on this foundation and try to develop a better relationship with Tehran. But that can only happen if Iran plays by the same rules, and exercises its influence by diplomacy and by dialogue.

And so when you look at what is happening in Yemen – where the hand of Iran is clearly visible – I of course understand Saudi concerns about security and the paramount importance of Saudi Arabia securing itself from bombardment by the Houthis.

But I must also share my profound concern – which I’m sure is universal in this room – about the present suffering of the people of Yemen and I think we can all agree on this key point: that force alone will not bring about a stable Yemen. And that is why we in London have been working so hard with all our partners to drive that political process forwards and the same point – about the need above all for a political solution – can be made about every other conflict and struggle in this region.

Yes, it may very well be true that after months of barbaric bombing Bashar al-Asad and his Russian and Iranian sponsors are on the point of capturing the last of rebel-held Aleppo – perhaps within a matter of days, we can’t know. But if and when that happens it will assuredly be a victory that turns to ashes, it is but a Pyrrhic victory.

Remember that two thirds of Syria is currently outside Asad’s control, and that he is still besieging 30 other areas containing 571,000 tormented inhabitants. Surely to goodness, there can be no lasting peace in Syria, if that peace is simply re-imposed by a man who has engendered such hatred among millions of his own people.

And that’s why there must be a political solution in which the people of Syria take the lead. Of course we can all work together to try and bring about peace and stability.

But ultimately it must be up to the people of those countries to find the leadership and the solutions from within themselves – to reach out across communities and to build unity with their own new and uplifting national narratives and the best way we can all help, all of us, the whole region is to answer the social and economic challenge to meet the demands of this amazingly young and growing population and what they need is the prospect of an exciting economic future. They need jobs. And it’s here I think there is so much that we can do together.

And I think now is the time for us to recognise the wisdom of those “East of Suez” cabinet members around the table in 1968– to build partnerships and relationships that deliver for all of our constituents whether in the UK or in the Gulf. And now is the time for us in the UK to seize the opportunities of leaving the EU.

And let me stress as I have told so many representatives from the Gulf who have been to see me that though we may be extricating ourselves from the treaties of the European Union we are not leaving Europe. That would be geographically, culturally, physically, intellectually, aesthetically, morally impossible to do. You couldn’t take Britain away from the European continent unless you towed us out into the middle of the Atlantic and tried to shell us, it’s not going to happen.

We are going to be part of Europe we will be part of Europe’s security architecture, we will be there to work for European peace and stability. And by the way, we will still be able to stick up for our friends and partners in the Gulf. But now for the first time since the 1970s we will additionally be able to do new free trade deals and we will be able to build on the extraordinary commercial relationships that already exist between the UK and the Gulf.

You may remember that I used to be Mayor of London. Look at the impact of the Gulf on London. The Shard – which I opened myself, at least twice. The only building in the world that looks as though it is actually erupting through the skin of the planet like the tip of a super-colossal cocktail stick erupting through a gigantic pickled onion. Owned by the Qataris as they own the Olympic village, Harrods, Chelsea Barracks.

The UAE owns the Excel exhibition centre and the Tidal Array, so much of our energy comes from that vital green investment in the Thames estuary. It is thanks to the Gulf that we have such vital pieces of transport infrastructure as the DP World Port. And of course the Emirates cable car, an indispensable mode of transport, thank you very much for that. And do I hear a small murmur of assent there from the audience? It is a little known fact that Kuwait owns City Hall itself. I didn’t know it until today but I’m stunned to find out.

I don’t know whether our Kuwaiti friends want to claim credit for all City Hall’s policies – including the popular cycle superhighways which we are now extending but when you consider that we have 20,000 Gulf students in London and they are very welcome may I say, as are their fees when you think the academic exchanges, the cultural exchanges you can see why London is sometimes called the eighth Emirate. I think I may have made that up myself, but we’re proud of it. And of course we get the ball back over the net in our own modest British way – Brits pay 1.7 million visits to the Gulf every year.

We export colossal and ever growing numbers of Jaguar cars and Land Rovers. Marks and Spencer is here in force. I was told just now we have done a big deal to sell Rolls Royce engines to Gulf Air. And it really is true that for the purposes of some golf bunkers we have managed to export sand to Saudi Arabia. It’s true. And all that adds up to an export market for the UK in the Gulf region worth £20 billion per year, we sell more to the Gulf than any other non-EU export market, second only to the United States.

Almost 50 years since that famous disagreement in the British cabinet, which went the wrong way, I hope that we can conclude this evening that the conversation has ended in a triumphant vindication of George Brown, at least in this sense that Britain is back East of Suez not as the greatest military power on earth, though we certainly pay our share and we certainly have a fantastic capability.

Not as the sole guarantor of peace, although we certainly have a huge role to play. But as a nation that is active in and deeply committed to the region. And I want to stress that this is not just about politics, not just about trade, not just about strategic support. This is about building on and intensifying old friendships. Britain has been part of your story for the last two hundred years, and we will be with you for the centuries to come.

Thank you very much.

Sajid Javid – 2016 Speech on Cornwall

Below is the text of the speech made by Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, in Penhale, Cornwall, on 8 December 2016.

It’s great to be here, many thanks to Joel for the invite.

Thanks to Barclays for hosting us today.

And thank you all for coming along.

I know you’re all busy people with businesses to run.

But this is a very good opportunity for me to tell you what government is up to, and for you to tell me what more we need to do.

Like most of you I’m a businessman at heart.

I’m a relative novice at politics.

I spent the first 20 years of my adult life working in international finance.

Some would say that’s not a good thing.

I remember when I became culture secretary in 2014, some leading lights of the arts world asked “what does this banker know about culture?”

At least I think they said “banker”.

I don’t know if you saw, earlier this week, the new list of Britain’s most and least-trusted professions.

Nurses, doctors and teachers are at the top, the people the public thinks are most likely to tell the truth.

And down at the very bottom, the least-trusted professions included government ministers, politicians generally, and of course bankers!

Three out of three for me!

For my next job, I’m going to become an estate agent.

Joking aside, I know that everyone in this room went into business or politics for the right reasons.

We all want to make things better.

It might mean passing laws or allocating funding that make a difference.

It might mean delivering a service or a product that nobody else can deliver.

We’re all here because we want to serve our communities in the best way we can.

From what I’ve seen today I think that’s particularly true of smaller businesses here in Cornwall.

It’s a place that has a very strong sense of identity and community, and a very real pride in that.

And that’s something I applaud.

The last time I was back in the south west of England was in October, speaking at a business event in Exeter.

And I talked about how all the counties in the south-west of England can achieve even more when they work together on issues that affect all the people who live here.

This seemed to upset a few people, certainly on Twitter, who thought I was talking up some kind of regional assembly idea.

I think the comment that hurt most was “what do you expect from someone who went to university in Devon!”

But the critics couldn’t be more wrong.

Cornwall is a unique place. A very special place.

By far the biggest county in southern England, it has its own history, its own culture, its own needs.

I’ve absolutely no interest in steamrollering Cornwall into some kind of forced regional identity.

The failed vision of a South West Assembly has rightly been consigned to the scrapheap of history, and there it will stay.

Of course, that doesn’t mean Cornwall exists in isolation.

Devon lies just across the Tamar.

The rest of the South West and the United Kingdom lie beyond.

And, while it’s vitally important that we protect and respect the Cornish identity, there are undoubtedly areas in which working across boundaries can bring benefits to the people of this very special county.

In 2016 people live, work and shop across county lines, across national borders even.

Supply chains and customer bases for even the smallest companies can stretch for hundreds or thousands of miles.

Joined-up, strategic thinking can bring huge benefits to employers, employees and the general public alike.

There are plenty of cases where that’s happening already.

Thanks to Devon and Cornwall Police you have some of the lowest crime rates in the country.

Exeter and Plymouth universities operate in both counties too, with numerous projects that help people right across the south west and beyond.

It just shows how locally-led co-operation is much more effective than top-down, Westminster-imposed regional government.

Which is precisely why I’m an enthusiastic supporter of the Cornwall Devolution Deal.

The devolution deal was conceived locally, refined locally and now it’s going to be delivered locally.

It will bring the county closer together and give it a stronger voice when dealing with the wider south west and the rest of the UK.

And, most importantly, it puts power over decisions that affect Cornwall right back where it should be.

In the hands of Cornish people.

That doesn’t mean central government is just leaving Cornwall to get on with it, to sink or swim alone.

We’re still very much on your side.

For starters, we’re guaranteeing funding for European Union projects signed before the UK’s departure from the EU.

You don’t need me to tell you that this move is particularly important for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

The area has an allocation of almost £350 million in the current European Regional Development Fund round, nearly £160 million of which has already been allocated.

This guarantee gives Cornish businesses the certainty they need, allowing you to plan for funding that’s already in place and even apply for further EU funding right up until the moment we leave.

And let me be very, very clear that we WILL be leaving the European Union.

The majority of people in Cornwall voted for it, the majority of people right across the UK voted for it.

There will be no backdoor attempts to remain a member, and certainly no second referendum.

Now, you’re all business leaders.

You know as well as I do that you don’t go into a negotiation with all your cards on the table – at least not if you want a good outcome!

When I worked in finance, I knew that the key to landing the best deal was always having better information.

Knowing the stuff the guys on the other side of the table didn’t.

It gave us leverage, it gave us power and it repeatedly gave us success.

So I can’t give you the inside track on our negotiating position.

We won’t be giving you a running commentary on every twist and turn as the negotiations unfold.

But know this.

We’re going to secure a deal that works for all British businesses.

Large and small, international and local, online and high street, in the service sector, in tourism, in the creative industries, in manufacturing, in fisheries, in farming…

Nobody will be left behind.

Of course, there’s more to life than Brexit.

You might not believe it from reading the papers recently, but it’s true!

So our commitment to Cornwall’s economy goes beyond simply steering you through our departure from the EU.

Over the past few years we’ve invested tens of millions of pounds in Cornwall and Isles of Scilly through Local Growth Deals.

The latest round of funding will be announced shortly, but to see the kind of impact it can make you just have to look at the Newquay Growth Area, which I visited earlier today.

£2 million from the first Local Growth Deal paid for transport improvements that have opened up the enterprise zone and created countless jobs for Cornish people.

In the grand scheme of things it’s a relatively small amount of money.

But thanks to the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) it was carefully targeted exactly where it would make the biggest difference.

And that’s what local growth funding is all about.

Local business leaders working with local political leaders to deliver local economic success

You’ve got a great LEP here in Cornwall.

I know that your brilliant local MPs are really closely involved with it.

And if you’re not already engaging with the LEP I’d urge you to do so.

After all, you understand Cornish business needs far better than any politician or Westminster bureaucrat. But I know there are some things that ALL businesses want and need.

Top of that list is a strong, stable, growing economy.

And that’s exactly what this government has helped give you for nearly 7 years now.

The economy is 14.3 per cent bigger than it was in 2010

The deficit has been cut by two-thirds.

In 2014, we were the fastest growing economy in the G7.

And in ‎2015 only the US did better than us.

But this isn’t just a paper recovery, something of interest only to economists.

It’s changing real lives.

Since 2010, the number of unemployed people in Cornwall has halved.

Nationwide, more people are in work than ever before.

We’ve gone from a record-breaking recession to record-breaking employment.

The number of households in which nobody works has fallen by more than 20%t.

And more than a million private sector businesses have been created, a 20% rise.

We want that success to continue.

So we’re cutting Corporation Tax to 17%, the lowest in the G7.

We’re doubling Small Business Rate Relief and cutting the Business Rates of 900,000 smaller properties.

We’re increasing the Employment Allowance by £1,000, helping half a million businesses.

And we’re helping small businesses secure the funding they need in order to grow, with the British Business Bank supporting more than £3 billion of finance.

Businesses leaders like the people in this room are capable of doing great things.

All you need is the right conditions, the right environment.

And I’m proud to say you’ve got a government that’s totally committed to giving you just that.

Maintaining that success for another six, seven, eight years or more is not going to be easy.

There are storm clouds over the global economy.

There are challenges ahead.

And leaving the European Union will be a momentous change for many businesses in this country.

But we’re here today to talk about moving forward in business.

Not looking back, not pondering what might have been.

So let’s look forwards.

Let’s move forwards.

And let’s work together.

So I don’t want to just stand here and talk at you all afternoon.

I’d much rather hear from you.

The truth is, in this job, it’s very easy to spend too much time stuck in London surrounded by politicians, lobbyists and Civil Servants.

If we’re going to make Brexit work, if we’re going to make LEPs work, if we’re going to maintain Cornwall’s incredible record of success, we can’t just be a government of Westminster navel-gazers.

That’s why this government got behind initiatives like the creation of the Tourism Industry Council.

It gives the people who actually work in the tourism sector a direct line to government.

And it helps us all work together to deliver the change you need.

Nobody knows Cornwall better than you.

Nobody else knows as much as you do about what investment is needed where, about what regulations are causing you problems, about what infrastructure needs updating in order to let the economy grow.

So there’s no point me coming here and just giving you the usual sales pitch for half an hour or more.

I’d rather have a conversation.

I’d rather hear what’s on your minds.

If we talk together we can work together.

And if we work together we can do what we’re all here today to do.

We can build a Cornwall that works for everyone.

Thank you.