Liz Truss – 2018 Speech to Conservative Party Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Liz Truss, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, at the Conservative Party Conference held in Birmingham on 3 October 2018.

It’s great to be here and a privilege to follow such esteemed colleagues.

Of course, Conference is something I look forward to every year.

It’s a platform for Conservatives to make the big arguments about our country’s future.

To fight the big fight on the Great Playing Field of ideas…

Or in my case, to talk about Cheese.

Now, I had prepared a long speech about the trends in British cheddar exports.

But I’m afraid you’ll all have to miss out.

Because this year, I’ve been told that there’s not to be any Cheese Chat.

Conference, that’s not just annoying…

That is a disgrace.

So instead, I’ll talk about the Treasury, my relationship with Philip Hammond and the important work we are doing to prepare Britain for the opportunities ahead.

As Chief Secretary, I’m charged with keeping a tight grip onthe public finances.

Since 2010, we’ve had a balanced approach to the public finances, investing in front line services including –

• Giving public sector workers a fair pay deal

• Funding the NHS

• Backing our nation’s defence with extra money for Trident.

We’ve also tackled waste and brought the deficit down,

Meaning that this year debt will fall as a share of national income.

And that’s incredibly important work.

Because Government money is our money.

Labour think they can spend as much of our money as they like.

But we know out-of-control spending means high debt, a weaker economy, fewer jobs and higher taxes on families and businesses.

Just like we saw last time, it’s the poorest who are hit hardest when the music stops.

So at next year’s Spending Review, the Chancellor and I will be assess how well we’re spending money, and how we can deliver the best possible public services.

Being Chief Secretary is thrilling work, but it can be hazardous.

I’m constantly dealing with Secretaries of State and their requests for more money.

It does mean you get a reputation for being ‘Bad Cop’.

And Ministers don’t always walk away happy.

For example, after recently denying a request from one particular Secretary of State.

…I woke up the next day to find a tarantula in my bed.

And what I’ve learned from that experience is… never mess with David Mundell.

Just to be clear… that was a joke.

I must admit, I was told by Treasury advisers not to make any jokes. They haven’t always gone so well….

But as anyone who knows me will tell you.

…I don’t like Government telling me what to do.

As well as the important day-to-day business, Philip’s Treasury team is fighting to protect the values that make this country great.

…and fighting for the hearts and minds of the next generation.

Because we have to challenge the idea that young people are a bunch of Corbynistas.

The young people I’ve met in this job aren’t heading for communes…

They are entrepreneurs, disruptors and change-makers.

They want smart and efficient Government, which has a role but doesn’t get in the way.

They’re compassionate and care about the public good, but are also fiercely entrepreneurial and independent.

They’re exactly the sort of people Labour are talking about when they call business the ‘enemy’.

It’s our duty to challenge Labour’s warped ideology that says personal ambition is evil, and success must have come through abuse of the system.

…that instead, the economy should be run by a committee of Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and Diane Abbot – the people who have never run anything in their lives.

Free enterprise is not about allowing big corporations to flout the rules.

It’s the opposite of that.

It’s about the power of competition to deliver lower prices and better services for consumers.

It’s about the power of people to transform their own lives, and change our country for the better.

Those are the freedoms we are fighting for.

And if there’s one unsung Conservative hero – who’s kept our economy on track the last few years – it’s Philip Hammond.

The boy from Essex with the punk hair and leather jacket has become the steady hand on the tiller of the economy.

We know him as ‘no-frills Phil’.

He’s the no-nonsense Chancellor:

Championing young entrepreneurs and supporting new technologies like 5G to make our economy fit for the future…

… Ensuring we spend money in a smart way that delivers results.

… Preparing Britain for the future outside the EU.

… And keeping the burden of tax under control.

We have cut income tax by over £1,000 for the typical basic rate taxpayer…

…Philip has lifted infrastructure investment to the highest in 40 years…

…he helped craft ground-breaking T-levels so young people get the technical education they need…

…he worked with the Prime Minister on our modern industrial strategy to boost the economy and create high-paid jobs.

And most important of all, in a time of extraordinary change, he has provided the integrity and stability the country needs to succeed.

He’s a man of principle with a deep sense of patriotism and optimism about our future.

A man I’m proud to call boss.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Chancellor Philip Hammond.

James Brokenshire – 2018 Speech to Conservative Party Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by James Brokenshire, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, at the Conservative Party Conference held in Birmingham on 1 October 2018.

Thank you to Shazia for your kind words of introduction.

Shazia is a great example of Conservatives making a difference in local government and making a difference in the communities they serve.

Thank you for your public service and all that you do.

Can I also introduce my fantastic team at the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government.

My ministers Kit Malthouse, Jake Berry, Rishi Sunak, Heather Wheeler and Nigel Adams. Our tireless PPSs Chris Philp and Leo Docherty and our whip Jeremy Quin.

Friends, it’s been quite a year for me and today is a particular personal milestone.

When I addressed our Conference twelve months ago, I didn’t know it, but I had lung cancer.

In some of my darker moments earlier this year, I questioned whether I would be here at all – let alone fit, well and able to speak on this stage today.

When you receive a cancer diagnosis… when you are forced to confront your own mortality head on… it makes you appreciate what’s important… what makes life worth living.

I know I couldn’t have got through this period without the incredible love and support of my wife Cathy and our three children, Sophie, Jemma and Ben.

They’ve kept me positive, they’ve helped get me through surgery, through my recovery and back to strength.

But I also know that if it wasn’t for our amazing NHS I wouldn’t be here today.

They saved my life and in some way will have touched the lives of every person in this hall.

To all those who work in our NHS – thank you.

You are amazing and we pay tribute to all that you do.

Now I may be part of one lung lighter, but it hasn’t diminished my passion for our party, my pride in our country and my earnest belief that our best days lie ahead of us and not behind us.

That is what makes us Conservatives.

And a key part of this is building the homes our country needs.

The Prime Minister is right in seeing this as our biggest domestic priority.

And I am proud to serve alongside her to meet the challenges of our time and harness the opportunities of the future.

We must respond to the uncomfortable truth that through decades of under-investment and lack of political will for too many a home of your own is unaffordable and out of reach.

Everyone deserves a decent, affordable and secure place to call home.

When a generation is locked out of the housing market it hurts us as a country.

It’s the impact it has on the lives of individuals and their families.

It’s about social justice, opportunity and building a fairer, stronger Britain.

A Britain where ‘Generation Rent’ can become ‘Generation Own’.

A Britain where we turn the vision of a place you call home into a reality.

The last time a Government committed to building 300,000 homes a year was in 1951 when Harold Macmillan was Conservative Housing Minister.

Super Mac did it then and we will do it again.

We will build 300,000 homes a year by the mid 2020’s.

And we have made an important start.

Since 2010 one point one million new homes built.

Nearly half a million families are now home owners thanks to Help to Buy and Right to Buy.

And a million first time buyers are expected to benefit from our cuts to stamp duty with 80% of first time buyers paying no stamp duty at all.

If you aspire to own your own home then I want to say this to you.

We will help you.

We will build the homes our country needs.

We will support you to save for your deposit.

We will break down the barriers standing between you and the opportunities you deserve.

We will fix our broken housing market and make it work for you.

As for Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party they may have given the Red Flag a reboot, but it’s the same old socialism that brought our country to its knees and would do so again.

Under the last Labour government house building fell to levels not seen since the 1920’s.

The number of first time buyers collapsed by over 50%.

Housing became more unaffordable, not less.

Labour doesn’t believe in increasing home ownership.

They would suspend Right to Buy and shatter people’s hopes and dreams of the chance to buy their own home.

It’s same old story from the same Old Labour.

No matter what they say, you know we’ll all have to pay.

But I know that there is much more to do to get the homes we need built.

We need to be bold and radical to remove unnecessary barriers and speed up delivery.

And in doing so we need a reformed planning system that is effective and responsive.

In July I published the new planning rule book.

It provides greater certainty and clarity for developers and communities alike.

To know the requirements and expectations and encourage a plan led approach to development.

Strengthening the protections for our environment and our precious Green Belt.

But we need to be smarter on how we use land and the space available.

Prioritising brownfield but also looking at land that’s already been built on.

That’s why I will publish proposals to permit people to build up on existing buildings rather than build out to use more precious land.

And give Councils greater powers to deliver the garden communities of the future.

But it’s not just about getting homes built – it’s about fairness.

Some practices in the leasehold market – such as unexpected costs that rise every year and bear no relation to services – can turn a homeowner’s dream into a nightmare.

That’s why we’re banning the unjustified use of leaseholds on new houses and limiting future ground rents for long leases to a peppercorn.

But we also need to address quality issues in new homes too.

That’s why I can announce today the creation of a New Homes Ombudsman.

This new watchdog will champion home buyers, protect their interests and hold developers to account.

And give confidence that when you get the keys to a new home you get the quality build you expect and the finish you’ve paid for.

Getting a fair deal extends to private renters too.

We’ve created a Rogue Landlords database to identify the worst offenders.

We are banning unfair letting agent fees being passed onto tenants.

And Capped deposit costs too.

Fairness also needs to be felt by people living in social housing.

That’s why I want to see a new deal for social housing tenants.

To deliver decent homes, strengthen redress and break unjustified stigma.

Equally as Conservatives we are committed to supporting the most vulnerable in our society.

It is simply unacceptable in modern Britain that there are still people living out on our streets with no roof over their head.

Our rough sleeping strategy and rough sleeping initiative are focusing efforts to drive change to give support to those most in need.

So that we end rough sleeping for good.

Most profoundly though, people should be safe in their own homes.

It’s been over a year since the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire.

This unimaginable horror has rightly shocked us all and underlined the need to do all that we can to see that such a disaster cannot happen again.

My work with Grenfell United and the wider community has been hugely helpful in keeping this issue right at the top of the government’s agenda.

And that is why today I can confirm that I will change the building regulations to ban the use of combustible materials for all new high rise residential buildings, hospitals, registered care homes and student accommodation.

And bring about a change in culture on building safety.

In advancing our ambitious housing agenda we need to create strong, prosperous, confident communities socially and economically.

Giving a sense of identity, a sense of place and an affinity to the places where we live, where we work, where we spend our time.

Communities where we recognise diversity and heritage.

How this makes us stronger;

How we all have so much more in common than divides us.

We have to defend the civility of civil society against hatred and separation.

We have to be robust in challenging anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim hatred and division based on religion, heritage or background.

There is no place in our country for bigotry and intolerance.

And as Conservatives we will stand up against this in all its forms.

At the heart of our communities are our towns and high streets.

Our high streets are the beating heart of a local economy.

And local businesses are their lifeblood.

That’s why I’m proud that we’ve launched the Great British High Street Competition.

To recognise, to champion and to celebrate innovation and success.

But we know technology is changing the way we live our lives and the challenges this brings.

I look forward to receiving the work of our new high streets advisory panel led by Sir John Timpson.

So that we can take further action to support our high streets and help them continue to do what they do best.

I know that so much local success relies on the dedication and hard work of Conservatives in local government around the country.

I want to thank all of our Councillors who work tirelessly for their communities.

It’s because of you people understand that with a Conservative council you get quality services and lower taxes.

We asked Conservative councils to help fix the mess left by the last Labour government and they delivered.

In return we’ve devolved power, localised business rates, created a swathe of city region mayors, founded Local Enterprise Partnerships, kick started local industrial strategies.

Through the fair funding review and business rate retention we have the opportunity to drive further change, to support innovation and get the very best from local government.

But I know an ageing population and growing demand are creating real pressures on public services.

Health and social care are inextricably linked and any reforms must be aligned.

That’s why I’m working with Matt Hancock – recognising local government’s direct interests – towards the publication of the Social Care Green Paper.

This will include plans to reform social care, provide better integration of services and put the care system on a long term sustainable footing.

As we leave the EU we should be confident and positive about the potential of each part of our country and the contribution they can make to drive our future prosperity.

Through the Northern Powerhouse, the Midlands Engine and Silicon Vale linking Oxford, Cambridge and Milton Keynes.

Through City Deals and Local Growth Funds.

Through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund supporting continued regional investment.

Helping deliver a country that works for everyone.

And we will harness the opportunities that are presented to us.

In 2022 Birmingham will host the Commonwealth Games.

It will provide the platform for this great city to shine on a global stage.

The chance to drive economic potential.

The chance to create a sense of pride – not just in this city but our country as a whole.

That’s why I’m proud today to announce the Government funding for the construction of the Athletes Village.

We will invest £165 million to help support the delivery of 5,100 new homes, but just as importantly create a long lasting legacy for Birmingham and from the Commonwealth Games.

And this is part of our Conservative mission.

To create a legacy.

A legacy of new homes and communities for your children and mine.

To show, that to be Conservative is to want to build for the future not turn away from it, and in doing so draw on our traditions, history and knowledge.

Whether through new homes, villages, towns, cities or communities, we Conservatives are working to build a new Britain.

A people reconnected to our nation with renewed pride and energy.

Optimistic and hopeful for the future.

Because the nation we are building is one where opportunity is for all and no one is left behind.

Michael Gove – 2018 Speech to Conservative Party Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, at the Conservative Party Conference held in Birmingham on 1 October 2018.

Thank you Lewis, for your inspirational story.

Your idealism, your dedication and your courage are an example to us all.

Thank you for campaigning on behalf of our precious oceans.

Our island nation has been defined by its relationship with the sea.

It has been our doorway to global trade, a treasure house of oil and gas, and the home to teeming stocks of fish.

But now our oceans are in danger.

Danger from climate change, from chemical residues, from exploitation and indeed from plastic.

The equivalent of a dumper truck of plastic is dropped in the sea every minute of every day.

Unless we change course, by the year 2050 the seas will contain more plastic than fish.

We cannot, and we will not, allow that to happen.

Which is why we need, in the words of Winston Churchill, action this day.

And we are acting.

Already the plastic bag charge has cut the number distributed by almost 90 per cent.

We are unleashing the innovative energy of our scientists, and the entrepreneurial flair of our businesses, to develop new greener products that are already generating new jobs.

And later this year we will launch a new front in the war against waste.

We will take steps to make recycling easier, invest in cleaner technologies, and take tougher action against the fly-tippers and waste criminals who pollute our landscape and trash our blue planet.

Determined, focussed and effective action to conserve our environment from a Conservative Government.

As we know all too well from our history, if you want a mess cleared up you need a Conservative Government.

In 1979, after our economy had been trashed by Labour, it was a Conservative Government that came to the rescue.

And in 2010, we inherited a deficit out of control, rocketing unemployment and young lives wasted.

But now, thanks to the steps we took, we have a dramatically reduced deficit, three million new jobs created and youth unemployment is at a record low.

The Conservatives rescued our country again.

I feel obliged to point out that every step of this essential economic repair was vigorously opposed by the Labour Party.

And if last week told us anything, it’s that we must not allow Labour to wreck our economy ever again.

Harold Wilson used to say the Labour Party was a moral crusade or it was nothing.

Now Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party is a toxic cocktail of unrepentant Marxism-Leninism and unacceptable antisemitism.

They are giving all the errors of the twentieth century another chance to wreck our society.

We’ve seen how this story ends before – in misery and shame.

When our Jewish friends and neighbours live in fear for their futures, let us stand with them against prejudice, against intimidation, against bigotry and against hate.

So let us take action today. Right here, right now.

Let a message come loud and clear from this hall, a message of unshakeable solidarity with the Jewish community.

And this week, in this Party, for the sake of our children, let us commit to unite so that the Moscow-loving, Hamas-hugging, high-taxing, moderate-bashing, job-destroying, National Anthem-avoiding, NATO-hating, class war-provoking, one-man museum of economic folly that is Jeremy Corbyn, is never let anywhere near Downing Street.

And we should also never forget that Labour’s threat to the economy is also a threat to the environment.

You can’t invest in enhancing the environment unless you have a healthy economy.

Just as you can’t have sustainable growth without protecting the environment.

And with our world warming, our forest cover dwindling, our wildlife in danger and our global population growing, we desperately need action this day.

Which is why the work of the great DEFRA team is so critical.

For all the fantastic work that they do, I thank my Parliamentary colleagues: George Eustice, Therese Coffey, David Rutley, John Gardiner, Charlotte Vere, Iain Stewart, Kevin Hollinrake and Craig Tracey.

For the great job they do, thank you also to the brilliant team of civil servants in DEFRA and its agencies.

I also want to thank tens of thousands of more great people who I get to work with.

They are people upon whom this country depends so much. They are the backbone of Britain. Our farmers. Let’s show them our appreciation.

If we are to feed a hungry world and safeguard the soil, the water and the air on which sustainable food production depend, then we in Government need to act to secure a better future for farming.

And leaving the European Union allows us to act faster and more flexibly to sweep away the barriers which have stood in the way of modernising farming.

Our new Agriculture Bill will help farmers to be more productive and ensure they get a fair price for their produce.

It will mean that they can invest in new technology to help them provide a harvest for the world.

And when we are outside the EU, we will also publish a new food strategy for Britain.

We will ensure that food production is truly sustainable, replenishing the soil, using energy wisely and supporting innovation.

And we will reform food labelling so that we uphold the highest animal welfare standards and give consumers the information they need to stay safe.

Food and drink is one of our greatest success stories, not least here in Birmingham and the Midlands, home of Cadbury’s and the Balti, Staffordshire cheese and Melton Mowbray pork pies.

Conservative ministers will act to ensure that we lead the world in safe, affordable, healthy food.

And the first step in that strategy will be reducing food waste.

Every year, millions of tonnes of good, nutritious, edible food is thrown away.

This is an environmental, economic and moral folly, and we will address it.

I can announce action this day to invest £15 million so that food which would otherwise be wasted is redistributed to those most in need.

Working with industry and charities, we should be able to get up to 250 million extra meals a year onto the tables and plates of the most deserving in our society.

This is determined green action from a Conservative Government.

Action that helps the planet, helps the poorest and remains true to our Conservative values.

And no Conservative value runs deeper than the desire to make our world better for our children.

To be Conservative is to love what we know, to cherish our home, and there is no more beautiful home on Earth than ours.

Whether it’s the Lake District that so moved Wordsworth, the Yorkshire Dales that inspired the Brontes, the stark majesty of the Fens or the lush green fields of Somerset, Dorset and Devon, we are heirs to an inheritance of natural beauty which moves the soul.

But over the course of the last hundred years, we have seen that beauty besmirched, nature in retreat and wildlife threatened.

We have lost more than half of our farmland birds.

Water voles, red squirrels and hedgehogs have been increasingly under threat.

More than 90% of our wildflower meadows are gone.

We have a responsibility to the next generation, to the place we call home and to the whole planet, to reverse that destruction.

And that is exactly what this Conservative Government will do.

We will pay our farmers the money that they deserve – the money that they need – to look after our countryside and restore natural beauty.

We will make more space for nature with stronger protection for ancient woodland while planting eleven million new trees.

And we will ensure that when the new homes we need are built, that developers not only meet the highest standards of quality in design but they also reverse environmental damage and invest in a greener, more beautiful Britain.

And outside the European Union we can also right another historic wrong.

We can at long last reverse the tragic decline of our fishing industry.

And yes, for me this is personal.

My dad worked in the fish trade and 35 years ago his small business had to close, as the fishing industry suffered inside the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy.

The CFP has inflicted deep economic and environmental damage.

But now, thanks to our vote to Leave, we are taking back control of our waters.

More fish for British boats means that there could be millions of pounds extra earned by our fishermen.

And we will make sure that we fish sustainably, by ensuring that we decide who fishes in our seas and on what terms.

As an independent coastal state, we will once more be in control of one of our most precious, renewable, national assets.

Let us all keep our eyes on that prize – a new sea of opportunity.

And leaving the EU also allows us to set a global standard for environmental protection – to deliver a Green Brexit.

No one voted to leave in order to harm the environment – far from it.

So through the first Environment Bill in more than 20 years, we will restore nature, purify our air, and ensure the powerful are properly held to account for their commitments to the natural world.

We can also do more on a mission close to my heart and to so many British hearts – improving animal welfare.

The animals who share this planet with us, and indeed often share a home with us, need our care and protection.

Exploitation, callousness and cruelty are never acceptable.

Animals are our fellow sentient beings.

They show loyalty and devotion, and they know pleasure and pain.

They are partners with us in evolution’s great pattern of life.

And that is why this Government is acting today to protect and enhance animal welfare.

Already we have acted to ensure that CCTV cameras are installed in all abattoirs so there is no hiding place for cruelty.

And we are acting against the cruel abuse of puppy farming by making sure that domestic pets cannot be trafficked for tainted cash.

We will also use the full force of the criminal law to punish those responsible for the worst acts of cruelty.

At the moment those who abuse animals face a maximum sentence of 6 months.

We will ensure that is increased to 5 years.

We will show zero tolerance towards those who have zero compassion for animals.

And internationally we are protecting our most endangered species, by deploying our money and elite troops to tackle the criminal gangs who are responsible for slaughtering one of the world’s most iconic species: the African elephant.

In the last ten years almost a quarter of the population of African elephants has been eradicated – victims of the poachers who are feeding the illegal trade in ivory.

That is why we are introducing some of the world’s toughest measures to tackle this trade.

We have a duty to take action this day to ensure this slaughter stops and we save the African elephant from extinction.

But we know that there is more that we have to do to uphold our manifesto pledge to hand on our environment in a better state to our children.

We need more action on pollution to secure clean air for our children to breathe.

More action to safeguard marine wildlife by increasing the area of the world’s oceans which is protected from less than 10% to 30%.

More action to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that fuel global warming.

More action to get water companies to tackle leakage and invest in the environment.

More action to bring dwindling fish stocks back to our rivers.

More action to save other endangered species from pangolins to rhinos.

More action to develop the technologies which will free us from reliance on harmful chemicals.

More action to help our bees and pollinators.

In short, more action to preserve our world.

Some people might say that we are setting our sights too high.

To them I say, you don’t know our party.

It was Conservatives who abolished the slave trade, cleared Victorian slums, made working conditions decent in our factories, gave our cities clean water, delivered equal votes for women, introduced equal marriage for all, fought against fascism and communism, extended state education to all, built record numbers of homes for working people, led the fight against global warming, established the first national living wage, gave the poorest pupils in our schools the most money, allowed record numbers of working people to graduate from university, and ensured a record number of people were in work.

We are the party of real progress and radical reform.

The party relentlessly focused on the future and its promise.

The party that cherishes what we have in this country and wants us to be an example to the whole world.

And together, united, we can ensure that this country, and our world, are cleaner, greener and stronger.

Thank you.

Ruth Davidson – 2018 Speech to Conservative Party Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Ruth Davidson, the Leader of the Scottish Conservatives, at the Conservative Party Conference held in Birmingham on 1 October 2018.

Friends, it’s great to be back here in Birmingham.

Seven years ago, I came to conference looking to lead the party north of the border.

I promised you I would grow the Conservative family in Scotland. Well, never let it be said, I’m not a woman of my word.

Conference, there are plenty of things I could talk to you about today.

I could tell you about the fantastic work our 31 MSPs are doing in Holyrood, day by day holding Nicola Sturgeon’s miserablist SNP government to account.

I could let you know about the work of our superb 13 Scottish Conservative and Unionist MPs.

Who, day by day, are showing that you can stand up for Scotland, without walking out on the UK.

Or I could talk for days about all the unseen stuff – the work our hundreds of councillors are doing every day for communities right across the country, showing that, contrary to our opponents’ claims; Conservatism isn’t alien to Scotland, but that’s it’s OF Scotland.

Friends, I could talk a lot about all this.

But, actually, what I want to talk about isn’t the day to day of parliamentary speeches or council chamber business.

I want to talk about what matters.

Things that, when you’re about to step back from the front line for a bit – as I’m about to do – are perhaps a little easier to see.

And I want to make a plea.

To look beyond the sound and fury that passes for our politics just now. Where the extremes get ever louder and the centre falls to silence.

Where more energy is expended on twitter spats and below the line comments, than on making it that bit easier for those who come after.

The people whose daily hopes, worries and aspirations should be at the heart of all we do.

People struggling for a deposit, or desperate to get home from work before the nursery closes, or looking to ensure they can receive enough social care to stay in their own home.

These are the people who need to be first in our minds.

And it’s by focussing on their concerns that we do what’s needed – to bring the country back together.

Because there’s no point pretending.

The last two years have exposed some deep divisions in this country – and in this party.

And here’s a safe prediction: in the days and weeks ahead we’re going to hear more of them.

The fact is this: Brexit is happening. One way or another, we need to sort this.

So let me just address three issues.

First up – I want to deal with this question of another referendum.

Because over the last few weeks, I keep being asked:

Ruth you voted Remain, surely you’d welcome the chance to try and reverse the result. Why not back another vote?

Why not join all the other people who were happy to support a referendum when they thought they’d win, and are now crying foul and insisting we go through it all again.

Well, here’s the thing conference.

Those of us in Scotland have been at this for some time already.

Four years ago, the SNP told Scotland they’d respect the independence referendum result. And for four long years, they’ve been pushing, pushing, pushing to have another go. And to keep going till they get the result they want.

And my response and the Prime Minister’s response has been clear: the people of Scotland spoke. They said No. It’s time to move on.

Well – the same message applies with Brexit.

I don’t get to stand here and profess myself a democrat – to declare that some decisions are so big they can’t be taken by politicians alone – and then demand a re-run just because I wasn’t on the winning side.

And if I tried to argue differently – to insist that one referendum result was sacrosanct while another should be immediately overturned, well, that would make me just the worst type of hypocrite.

So whether you’re Conservative, Labour, Leave or Remain, Yes or No – we must respect the democratic choices we make – or we undermine the principles we all claim to uphold.

Conference, I didn’t get the result I wanted in 2016.

But you don’t get to demand a re-run just because you didn’t get what you want.

That way leads to more division, more rancour and a politics trapped in the past.

The people voted. And there is no way to bring this country back together that doesn’t respect the vote.

But here’s the next thing.

These two referenda I’ve fought over the last decade have made one thing obvious: binary choices divide us into camps.

And, now – across the UK – the danger as we enter this crucial period in our nation’s history is that we become too entrenched to reach across to the aisle in search of common ground. That our division on one issue, prevents us from making common cause on others.

Friends, as we approach these crucial few weeks and months, we need to go back to our Conservative principles.

The principles of country, of duty, of practicality and of delivery.

The belief that every prudent act is based on accommodation and accord.

That the best is the enemy of the good if it stops us improving the outcomes for the country.

The attitude that listens, eyebrows raised, to ivory-towered schemes of the ideological puritan and replies: aye, right.

It’s this practical, pragmatic and utterly Conservative approach that will get us through.

Because, when the future of our country is at stake, it is essential.

Here’s the truth:

We can agree a Brexit deal under the Conservatives, or we can risk handing the keys of Downing Street to Jeremy Corbyn.

I know which one I believe is in the national interest. I stand by the prime Minister.

And lastly, if we want to sort this, let’s remember this too.

Two years ago in July, standing on the steps of Downing Street, Theresa May gave her first address as Prime Minister and mentioned something that people tend to forget.

It’s that the full title of our party is the Conservative and Unionist party.

And she said: “That word Unionist is very important to me”.

Well – me too.

Yes – ensuring a good future relationship with the EU is important – indeed, vital for our country’s future.

Yes – we must show our friends and allies across the continent that we intend to remain the open, engaged, responsible nation we always have been.

But let’s never lose sight of the fact that the Union that’s most important to us is our own:

the Union of Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Let’s remember that across the UK, there are those who are working day by day to break up that union – and who believe that a chaotic Brexit will help.

Let’s remember this also: the rock upon which this party is founded is a belief in the unity of this country and the enterprise of its people.

So let’s commit to making this our number one priority:

to make sure that the Union – our Union – emerges stronger, not weaker, from these next few weeks – because THAT is what matters the most.

So conference:

We sort this by respecting the democratic result.

We sort it by using our Conservative values, of putting the national interest first.

And we sort it by always, always keeping our eye on the most important prize of all: keeping our country together.

And if we get that right, let’s remind ourselves where it leads

To a Conservative government getting on with the job.

To a Conservative government doing what we always do:

Getting more people into work, fixing the public finances, supporting people off of welfare, cutting taxes for the lowest paid, helping businesses thrive – sorting out the mess we’re left by a Labour government, getting Britain back in the black.

I know there’s some debate right now about how we respond to Mr Corbyn’s Labour party.

Here’s my advice: folks, just leave him to his Labour takeover.

Let him crack on with all those 9 hour long meetings of the National Executive Committee he seems to love…

Let get him get on with compositing motions and allowing deselections of long serving members.

Let him spend his time on that.

And instead, let us get on with facing up to the challenges of the 21st century which need our attention.

By tackling the housing crisis, sorting out planning laws and delivering new affordable homes – so young people starting out in life can buy their first home.

By improving childcare, making it more flexible, freeing up hours – so people can juggle work and family life more easily.

By boosting school standards, putting head teachers in charge, championing vocational qualifications – so there is an education system that works for all.

By delivering security in old age, putting our NHS on a firm footing – so the healthcare supported through work can be accessed in retirement.

And let’s do it not just in England and Wales, but in Scotland too.

People keep asking me: do you seriously think you can beat the SNP?

Damn right I do.

Because Scotland has had enough of the negativity, the grievance, the decade long moan.

Instead, we want to crack on.

So yes, there IS a job I’m after. It’s the job of First Minister of Scotland.

Because I want to lead the country – and leave the SNP’s decade of division behind us.

Instead, to move forward.

To restore our education system, to make us the real Northern powerhouse, to build the homes our young people deserve.

With a clear goal in mind: to make Scotland the best place in the UK to live, to work, and to raise a family.

Conference, I’m tired of talking about the constitution.

I want to get on and boost the country I love.

To focus on what matters to people’s lives.

A decent job.

A home of your own

Time for your family.

Security in retirement.

It doesn’t sound like much, does it?

But for too many people in our country, it remains a dream that’s out of reach.

Let’s get behind the Prime Minister, so she can get Brexit done.

So that we can throw all our energies on making that dream come true for everyone in this country.

That’s the real challenge before us.

So – together – let’s all rise to meet it.

Friends, before I go – it’s my real pleasure to welcome the new leader of the Welsh Conservatives to the stage.

His unveiling was like the best Welsh rugby commentary I’d ever heard.

“Byron Davies announces that Paul Davies has triumphed over Suzy Davies to replace Andrew RT Davies.”

Paul took his Preseli Pembrokeshire seat off the Labour party in 2007 and has never looked back.

He’s a true servant of the party, a champion of Wales and I look forward very much to working with him in the future.

So Conference, please give a big welcome to Paul Davies.

Paul Davies – 2018 Speech to Conservative Party Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Paul Davies, the Leader of the Welsh Conservatives, at the Conservative Party Conference held in Birmingham on 1 October 2018.

Cynhadledd, prynhawn da, a gai ddechrau trwy ddweud mor falch ydw i, i siarad â chi heddiw fel arweinydd newydd Ceidwadwyr Cymru yng Nghynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru.

Mae’n anrhydedd enfawr.

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, and for those of you who don’t speak the language of heaven, can I begin by saying how proud I am to speak to you today as the new leader of the Welsh Conservatives in the National Assembly for Wales.

It’s a huge honour and a privilege and I am grateful to Welsh Conservative Party Members for putting their trust in me and it’s great to have the opportunity to work alongside our hardworking Secretary State for Wales, Alun Cairns who has delivered so much for Wales and our formidable team in CCHQ Wales.

And we have a great Chairman of the Welsh Conservative Party in Byron Davies – Gower’s loss is our gain.

A few weeks ago, my election concluded my Party’s efficient and decisive leadership contest – in complete contrast to that of the Welsh Labour Party’s contest to replace current First Minister Carwyn Jones.

He announced in April his intention to stand down as First Minister in December – an eight month long goodbye, during which time Welsh Labour have been debating whether to adopt similar leadership election procedures to those which elected Jeremy Corbyn.

Surely that should ring alarm bells!

Conference, I speak to you today as a man on a mission.

A mission to kick Labour where it hurts.

A mission to transform our public services.

A mission to change Wales!

And I tell you, it won’t be one small step we will be taking …

… we are aiming to make a giant leap…

… a giant leap from being the official opposition in the National Assembly for Wales …

… and into Government in Cardiff Bay!

You see, conference, Labour have been running Wales for almost twenty years.

But they are running it into the ground.

Performance in our NHS and education systems is consistently worse than other parts of the UK.

Welsh patients generally wait longer for an ambulance, longer for tests, and longer for treatment than in any other part of the UK.

Millionaires have access to free prescriptions…

… while cancer patients are denied access to many of the modern treatments available here in England.

Under Labour a third of hospital beds have been axed.

Cancer and A&E targets have been missed for a decade.

And hospitals have been closed and downgraded across the country.

And our education system is faring no better.

It has slipped down and down and down in the international league tables…

… to become the only UK nation in the bottom half of the OECD world rankings…

… and has the accolade of being the worst performing education system in Britain.

The rankings placed Wales below former communist states of Eastern Europe and we are even being outperformed by countries which 20 years ago were recovering from civil war.

What an absolute disgrace!

Now, the Labour clan will try to tell you that these appalling facts are all down to ‘Tory cuts’…

… but the reality is that for every £1 spent on hospitals and schools in England…

… Wales receives £1.20.

While NHS spending has risen each and every year since 2010 under the Conservatives in England…

Spending in Wales was actually cut in some years.

Conference, I am proud to say that no modern day Conservative Prime Minister has ever cut an NHS budget.

Shame on Carwyn Jones and the Welsh Labour Government for cutting theirs!

And in spite of getting 20% more in funding per pupil to spend on education than in England…

… Labour spends almost £700 less per pupil each and every year.

It’s no wonder that scores of schools have closed their doors in the past decade and that this summer Wales saw its worst GCSE results in 15 years!

This week in Birmingham, we have already been hearing about Jeremy Corbyn’s dangerous hard-left policies and the threat he poses to our country.

But don’t forget that there is a part of the UK where Labour is already in power – propped up by the only Lib Dem in the village and as a result of grubby pork barrel budget deals with Plaid Cymru!

Now, you may have noticed that Plaid Cymru elected a new leader last week.

Well, I have a message for Adam Price.

The people of Wales are crying out for a change of Government in Cardiff Bay.

Prop up another Labour administration at your peril!

The message is clear – we will never agree on everything, but where we can, let’s work together in the interests of the people of Wales to deliver the change Wales needs.

After almost ten years of Carwyn Jones as First Minister, we’ve seen a decade of downgrades and closures in our NHS.

And falling standards in our schools.

We don’t know yet who the new First Minister will be but it seems likely that the choice will be from one of three Cardiff based AMs.

One a Baroness!

One responsible for a catalogue of failures in our NHS!

And the other a Corbynite before the term was even coined!

Whoever emerges as the next First Minister, this much is clear.

The people should have the opportunity to have their say.

You will have no mandate to govern the people of Wales.

Only an Assembly election will give you that…


….so today I’m calling on the wannabee leaders of the Welsh Labour Party to commit to give us that election.

We Welsh Conservatives are ready for the fight for the future of our precious nation.

We are ready to take that giant leap.

We are ready to CHANGE WALES.

Thank you.

Jeremy Wright – 2018 Speech to Conservative Party Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Jeremy Wright, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport at the Conservative Party Conference held in Birmingham on 1 October 2018.

It’s a pleasure to be here in Birmingham, the city that gave me my first job, to talk about the job I am privileged to have now.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is a very wide-ranging portfolio and I can’t cover all of it in this speech. To cover it in Government needs an exceptional team of ministers and I’m lucky to have just such a team in Margot James, Michael Ellis, Tracey Crouch and Henry Ashton, along with our whips Mims Davies and James Younger and our PPSs Nigel Huddleston and Andrew Bowie. I’d like to thank them for all they do.

It may not be immediately obvious what connects the different elements of my Department’s title, but I think what connects them is what connects us – as individuals, as communities and as a country. The ties of Civil Society that bind us – the sports clubs and youth clubs, the churches and the charities, the arts projects, the libraries and the community groups of all sorts that bring people together and bind our nation.

The ties that help us to reflect together as we do in the Centenary of the end of the First World War, and in commemorations that move us all.

And of course there are the digital links needed to get the most out of 21st Century life. As Conservatives we should be proud of the fact that we have made superfast broadband available to 95% of premises as we said we would. But the truth is that is not much comfort if you are in the 5% not covered.

So we can and we must do more. By 2020 everyone will have the right to minimum speeds of 10 megabits per second, and mobile coverage must expand further across the UK.

But technology is changing all the time and we must have infrastructure that can support whatever we will need in the future. That’s why we are investing in 5G mobile technology and developing what it can do, including in an urban setting right here in the West Midlands.

It’s also why our focus will now be on a fibre optic network for broadband that will really make us fit for the future. That is sensible planning.

But we must also make sure that everyone can benefit from what these technologies offer. So as we build a fibre network, we will identify the places the market won’t reach on its own and we will connect them – not as an afterthought but in parallel with the places it’s profitable to connect.

Because if technology has the power to connect us all, nobody should be left behind.

Technology is changing our lives in many ways, and we can be proud of the fact that many of those changing the world are here in the United Kingdom.

Our digital technology sector is worth nearly £184 billion and employs 2.1 million people.

Last year, venture capital investment in London’s tech sector was more than in Germany and France combined.

The internet is an amazing resource, and social media lets us reach others faster and more easily than we ever have before.

But these things have a dark side too. There are those who use social media to bully or intimidate, to isolate rather than to include. And it is having an effect – 16 to 25 year olds are the most connected generation of all, but they are lonelier than the over 65s.

There are also those who use the internet to abuse children or promote terrorism, and I don’t believe there is anything so special about the online world that the normal rules of human behaviour, and the law, should not apply there too.

So the time has come to define those rules and how they should apply online, and if that needs new law, that is what we will do. Britain can lead the world on this, and we should.

Of course, there are many other things that connect us – our heritage, our history, our art and performing arts, film and television. The creative industries more broadly add a huge amount to our economy and to our identity.

They don’t just enrich our lives, they help to make us who we are – as individuals, as communities and as a nation.

They are strengths we will celebrate in a festival of national pride and international impact in 2022.

Our culture and heritage are vital aspects of the Britain we project to the world, the ingredients of the soft power we are so good at, and need to stay good at, through Brexit and beyond.

And while we’re on that subject, some of you may have heard that I might be delivering this speech as a hologram. To those of you who have spent the last 5 minutes thinking this is the most realistic hologram you’ve ever seen, I should make it clear that I decided not to.

At this moment, and especially on a subject like Brexit, I don’t think our political debate needs more virtual reality, it needs more actual reality. And the reality is we are leaving the European Union.

We are leaving because Parliament decided to ask the people of this country as a whole to make this choice and they made it.

However they voted in the referendum two years ago, I believe the vast majority of them now want us to get on with it.

And to all those who can’t get over the referendum result, to those who seek to avoid it or ignore it, and to those who want to do it all over again, I say it’s time to move on.

Leaving the European Union in a way that gives us the best possible platform for the future is something we can do, but it is one of the most complex and challenging things the United Kingdom has ever had to do, and we don’t have a single talent or intellect to waste in that effort.

So however you voted then, help to build our future now.

But we should recognise that the Brexit process has divided us, and recognise too those things that can bring us back together, as the England football team did with character, skill and real heart this summer.

And they weren’t the only ones to lift our spirits this year. We have seen the best ever medal haul in a Winter Olympics, a wonderful European Championships in Glasgow and all 3 Grand Tours in Cycling won by Britons, not to mention the Ryder Cup.

Sport has always had the power to inspire us, most of all when we can see our heroes and heroines do amazing things.

That’s why, over 20 years ago, a Conservative Government legislated for a list of sporting events you shouldn’t have to pay a subscription to watch. That principle is just as important today, and making sure it still applies as viewing habits change is work the independent regulator Ofcom is doing now.

But some of the finest sporting moments of the last few years have been in womens’ and disability sport – the Paralympics and Invictus Games, Netball Gold at the Commonwealth Games, and England and Scotland womens’ football teams qualifying for the 2019 World Cup.

Equality means visibility, and I recognise the progress that has been made in broadcasting more of these events. But whoever we are, we have the right to be inspired by diversity in sport that shows the best in all of us. So we will work with sports bodies, broadcasters, and the wider media to do better. It’s 2018 and it’s about time.

And we have the capacity not just to put in great sporting performances, but also to put on great sporting events. We showed the world that with the 2012 London Olympics and we will show them again with the 2022 Commonwealth Games here in Birmingham.

And wouldn’t it be great to put on a World Cup in style in the UK and Ireland in 2030? If the FAs are ready to bid, we are ready to make it happen.

Because we don’t just need to project the United Kingdom to the world, we need the world to come here and see it for themselves. Last year the UK attracted record numbers of visitors and we are predicted to do even better this year.

And, crucially, tourists are going beyond London – record numbers for example going to Scotland, to the North West and here to the West Midlands.

And as hosts of the Great Exhibition of the North and described by the Rough Guides as the number one place in the world to visit in 2018, Newcastle Gateshead welcomed more than 4 million visitors over the summer, including the Cabinet.

But in truth tourism has gone almost unnoticed for years as a major employer and as a major contributor to our economy.

For the sake of the communities up and down our country for whom tourism is essential, I intend to change that, and we will work with the tourism industry to find practical ways for Government to help.

So for the international community, and for our local communities, our culture has a lot to offer. But it also has a lot to offer us as individuals.

When I was 13, I was shy and didn’t much like being the centre of attention. I’ve changed. But that year I was persuaded to take a large part in a school play.

The effect on my self-confidence, on what I felt I could do, was significant and long-lasting – so much so that I feel able to say to you that if I had not stood on that stage then, I would not be standing on this stage now.

I want more young people to have that feeling.

There are many schools and youth theatre groups doing a great job of providing those opportunities, but there are still too many young people, in too many places, who don’t have the chance to be part of a production, on stage or behind the scenes.

So working with the Secretary of State for Education, we are going to give them that chance.

In 5 different areas across the country, we will spend £5 million to give thousands more young people the chance to perform on stage at school.

And what they perform matters too. Britain has a remarkable theatrical heritage, the names of our famous playwrights are known the world over. But there are also great British playwrights the world does not yet know, from different parts of the country and from different backgrounds.

I want our young people to know their cultural past, but also to get to know their cultural future – to meet the people, who come from where they come from and who are writing great plays today. So we will help to promote the work of these new playwrights, and help young people to perform their plays.

Because our culture belongs to us all and it is as strong as it has ever been.

We are proud of our past, but we are prouder still of who we are now and of what we will do next.

We Conservatives are in Government at this pivotal moment in our history. What a challenge, certainly, but also what an opportunity – the chance to design our future.

For centuries Britain led the world in exploration, invention and imagination.

For centuries in the arts, in the written and spoken word, the world looked to these islands for thought and feeling on what it means to be human.

And now, in a century where success will be defined by innovation and creativity, we still lead the world in these things.

So this is not a moment to lose our self-confidence. This is a moment, our moment, to show the world that just as Britain shaped the past, Britain can shape the future.

Michael Gove – 2018 Speech on the Agriculture Bill

Below is the text of the statement made by Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, in the House of Commons on 12 September 2018.

Today, I am introducing the Agriculture Bill into the House of Commons, fulfilling the Government’s promise to deliver a green Brexit. The Bill marks a decisive shift in our support for farmers. It ensures we will reward them properly at last for the work they do to enhance the environment around us. It will help them grow more high quality food in a more sustainable way, and it will ensure public money is spent more efficiently and effectively.

Nearly three quarters of England is farmland. For too long, Brussels has set the rules on how we maintain and enhance our distinctive environment, and how we grow crops and improve food production. The European Union’s common agricultural policy has held back Britain, economically and environmentally. Bureaucracy has stifled innovation. Subsidies have been paid based on the size of individual land holdings, not the contribution farmers make to society. Habitats have been lost and soil health eroded.

The Agriculture Bill sets out our new policy of paying public money for public goods. Its framework for investing money in wildlife habitats, clean air and water, and healthy soil—natural assets upon which our wellbeing and economic prosperity depend —will help reduce flood risk, prevent and mitigate the effects of climate change, and ensure that the public enjoy easier access to our countryside. The Bill will help us leave the environment in a better state for future generations, as set out in the Government’s 25-year environment plan.

On this, Back British Farming Day, the Agriculture Bill also sets out how we will support a profitable sector producing high-quality food, encourage innovative new entrants to this way of life, and help farmers get a fair price for their produce. In order to provide certainty, farmers will be supported over a seven year transition period as we as leave the EU’s common agricultural policy (CAP). The Bill includes measures to incentivise more long-term thinking and investment, and help farm businesses become more resilient and productive. And we will be introducing transitional support schemes to enable on-farm investment, for example in equipment and technology to deliver public goods and to support new entrants to get into farming. This is an ambitious Bill—representing the first new domestic farming policy in nearly 50 years—which ensures that our farmers’ contribution to maintaining our countryside and producing healthy food will be greater than ever before. It is the first step towards a brighter, better and greener future for farming and our natural world outside the EU.

Jeremy Corbyn – 2018 Speech at Labour Party Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, at the Labour Party conference held in Liverpool on 26 September 2018.

Thank you for that welcome. I want to start by thanking the workers, the fantastic staff at the Conference Centre and hotels, the Labour Party staff who make this possible, and the people of Liverpool who have made us feel so welcome this week.

And I want to thank my family, but in particular my wife Laura. Tu eres mi fuerza y mi apoyo. Gracias Laurita.

And congratulations conference, to all of you on what’s been a great conference. A conference of a Labour Party that’s ready to take charge and start the work of rebuilding our divided country.

This year we mark the centenary of the Representation of the People Act, which saw eight million women getting the vote for the first time, along with five and a half million working class men.

We now have more women members of the Labour Party than the entire membership, male and female, of the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties put together.

And we mark that centenary with Jennie Formby as our new General Secretary.

I have known Jennie for many years. Her integrity and her determination are real assets for our Party.

Since Jennie took over, we have registered significant electoral successes. In May, we saw the only bit of blue in Greater Manchester turn red as Labour won back control of Trafford Council.

And just for balance – as I know the Liverpool-Manchester rivalry can be a bit of a thing – there is not a single Conservative council on Merseyside either, and not a single Tory councillor in the city of Liverpool.

Across the country we built on the gains Labour made in the general election. In the South West we won back Plymouth, in the north, Kirklees, and we had our best council results in London since 1971.

In Scotland too, Labour is once again offering a message of hope and real change.

The choice is now clear: investment and a fairer society under Labour, or austerity under the Tories, timidly accepted by the SNP.

We have also been raising more money for our party. But not a penny of our funds came from a dodgy donor or a shady businessmen’s club.

Our money comes from hundreds of thousands of people across our country who believe in what we stand for.

So I don’t have to play tennis with an oligarch to keep our party organisation running. Labour trades in hope for the many, not favours for the few.

Our mass membership is not just a source of funds of course.

That membership and our millions of affiliated trade union members are the voice of their workplaces and communities, and with our new community organisers we will anchor everything we do in people’s day to day experiences.

That is our strength. And together, we are going to change Britain.

You may have noticed that not everyone is entirely happy about all this.

It turns out that the billionaires who own the bulk of the British press don’t like us one little bit.

Now it could be because we’re going to clamp down on tax dodging. Or it may be because we don’t fawn over them at white tie dinners and cocktail parties.

Or it could even be because Tom Watson has been campaigning for the second part of the Leveson media inquiry to be set up – something the last Prime Minister promised, but failed to deliver.

We must, and we will, protect the freedom of the press to challenge unaccountable power.

Journalists from Turkey to Myanmar and Colombia are being imprisoned, harassed or sometimes killed by authoritarian governments and powerful corporate interests just for doing their job.

But here, a free press has far too often meant the freedom to spread lies and half-truths,
and to smear the powerless, not take on the powerful.

You challenge their propaganda of privilege by using the mass media of the 21st century: social media.

And we’ll do it in traditional ways too. On the doorsteps and in the town centres so that people know there is a Labour Party that will stand up for them and is ready to rebuild and transform Britain.

Next year marks the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo massacre when 15 peaceful demonstrators were killed and hundreds injured on the streets of Manchester by troops sent in by the Tories to suppress the struggle for democratic rights.

The great English poet Percy Shelley wrote a poem about the massacre. That was the origin of our slogan: “for the many not the few”.

Among those killed at Peterloo was a man named John Ashworth and a woman named Sarah Jones.

In the next Labour government, our very own Jon Ashworth, as Health Secretary, and Sarah Jones, as Housing Minister, will be carrying forward the struggle to protect and extend democratic rights. Hopefully without becoming martyrs in the process.

And we will honour the heroes of Peterloo by being true to their cause, with a Labour Party fighting for democracy and social justice against poverty, inequality and discrimination.

If we are to get the chance to put those values into practice in government we are going to need unity to do it.

Our movement has achieved nothing when divided. The only winners have been the rich and the party of the rich: the Conservatives.

Real unity is based on the freedom to disagree and debate and then come together around democratic decisions, as we have done this week.

So we need to foster a much greater culture of tolerance. An end to abuse, online and in person.

We must learn to listen a bit more, and shout a lot less.

To focus on what unites us.

To accept losing a vote, while maintaining the right to pick up the debate again.

We are on a journey together and can only complete it together.

Our Party must speak for the overwhelming majority in our country. Labour is a broad church and can be broader still.

I lead in that spirit. After all, I appointed John McDonnell despite him being Liverpool fan, and even Andrew Gwynne, who supports Man City.

Conference, we are winning the public debate. We have defined the new common sense, and that’s where our Party can stand united.

Conference, this summer was tough.

Ours is the Party of equality for all. The Party that has pioneered every progressive initiative to root out racism from our society.

But conference, being anti-racist means we must listen to those communities suffering discrimination and abuse.

I believe we are all stronger from listening and learning from each other.

The Jewish people have suffered a long and terrible history of persecution and genocide. I was humbled to see a memorial to that suffering two years ago, when I visited the former Nazi concentration camp at Terezin.

The row over antisemitism has caused immense hurt and anxiety in the Jewish community and great dismay in the Labour Party. But I hope we can work together to draw a line under it.

I say this to all in the Jewish community:

This party, this movement, will always be implacable campaigners against antisemitism and racism in all its forms.

We are your ally.

And the next Labour government will guarantee whatever support necessary to ensure the security of Jewish community centres and places of worship, as we will for any other community experiencing hateful behaviour and physical attacks.

We will work with Jewish communities to eradicate antisemitism, both from our party and wider society.

And with your help I will fight for that with every breath I possess.

Anti-racism is integral to our very being. It’s part of who you all are, and it’s part of who I am.

So conference, we won’t accept it when we’re attacked by Tory hypocrites who accuse us of antisemitism one day, then endorse Viktor Orban’s hard right government the next. Or when they say we are racist, while they work to create a hostile environment for all migrant communities.

We can never become complacent about the scourge of racism. Race hate is a growing threat that has to be confronted. Not just here in Britain, but across Europe and the United States. The far right is on the rise, blaming minorities, Jews, Muslims and migrants, for the failures of a broken economic system.

Its victims include the Windrush generation who helped rebuild Britain after the war and were thrown under the bus by a Government that reckoned there were votes to be had by pandering to prejudice. The ‘hostile environment’ policies – shameful brainchild of the present Prime Minister – led to the scandal of British citizens being deported, detained and left destitute. That is nasty, cynical politics that demeans our country.

And the Tories still haven’t learned. This week they received a letter from the antisemitic and Islamophobic Hungarian government, thanking them for their solidarity, just as the rest of Europe united against it.

Our Party will never stay silent in the face of growing Islamophobia, whether from the far right on the streets, or the former Foreign Secretary’s disgraceful dog-whistle jibes at Muslim women. Labour will work to bring communities together. It is only through the unity of all our people that we can deliver social justice for anyone.

Conference, change in our country is long overdue. Every month this Government remains in power, the worse things get. Evidence of the failure of privatisation and outsourcing is piling up day after day. What has long been a scam is now a crisis.

Just look at the last few months: The Birmingham prison run by G4S had to be brought back into public ownership after the Chief Inspector of Prisons described it as the worst he had ever visited. The privatised probation service is on the brink of meltdown. Richard Burgon, the next Secretary of State for Justice, will end this scandal.

On the railways, the East Coast franchise has collapsed for the third time in a decade, bailed out by taxpayers yet again. You get on a train at Kings Cross and you never know who will be running it by the time you get to Edinburgh. Andy McDonald, our Transport Secretary, will end this shambles.

And the giant privateer Carillion has gone bankrupt, sunk in a sea of reckless greed, leaving hospitals half-built, workers dumped on the dole and pensions in peril, while Carillion directors continued to stuff their pockets with bonuses and dividends, and small businesses in the supply chain took heavy losses or went bust.

And speaking of bankruptcy, the Tories are now extending it into their own backyard. A Conservative Government and Conservative local councillors have combined to push Northamptonshire over the edge, putting vital services and those who rely on them at risk.

Eight years of destructive austerity and obsessive outsourcing have left other councils teetering on the precipice too, and this Government must be held to account for their social vandalism. It is Labour councils and only Labour councils that are taking every step to protect people and services and we must thank them for it.

Privatisation and outsourcing are now a national disaster zone. And Labour is ready to call time on this racket.

We will rebuild the public realm and create a genuinely mixed economy for the 21st century. And after a decade of austerity, the next Labour government will confront the challenge of rebuilding our public services.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the NHS Labour’s proudest creation and it stands as a beacon for those still fighting for universal healthcare free at the point of need. Its founder, Nye Bevan, inspired by the collective health provision in his home town of Tredegar, described a free health service as “pure socialism”. And so it is. We all contribute through our taxes so that it’s there for all whenever we need it.

But this Conservative Government has pushed our NHS into crisis, with more people waiting longer in A&E and to see a GP and over four million people on hospital waiting lists.

And there is a mental health crisis too, causing real pain and anguish. A woman named Angela wrote to me recently, and she said: “My mentally ill daughter was told she would have to wait 12 months to get an appointment with an appropriate therapist. As a mother, I am at my wits end to know how to help her any more. I would hate her to become another suicide statistic.”

This has to stop and under Labour it will. We will deliver real parity of esteem for mental health services to protect people like Angela’s daughter.

And then there’s the scandal of the Tories’ £6 billion cuts to social care, leaving 400,000 fewer older people receiving care. Too many of our older people condemned to live alone and isolated, often ending up at A&E through neglect, then unable to leave hospital because it’s not safe for them.

Austerity is putting other strains on the NHS too, one in five homes in England are now unfit for human habitation and 120,000 children are living in temporary accommodation.

So as John Healey has pledged, we will put a levy on those with second homes. Think of it as a solidarity fund for those with two homes to help those without any home at all.

And Labour will embark on the biggest home building programme in half a century. Meanwhile, for too many people, social security has become a system of institutionalised bullying and degradation.

The Tories have created a ‘hostile environment’ for disabled people. Hundreds of people write to me about it every week, people like Richard who says: “My wife was diagnosed with progressive multiple sclerosis 20 years ago. A few months ago we were told that she needed to reapply for Personal Independence Payments. She had an assessment by someone who wasn’t medically trained, we have now been told that all her benefit will be stopped.”

Richard adds: “I have tried to be her rock but the stress and suffering I can see my wife going through is so very cruel and I have had to be put on anti-depressants.”

These are the human consequences of a Tory Government that puts tax cuts for the wealthy ahead of care for disabled people.

But Labour is ready to put fairness and humanity back at the heart of our public services. And as Diane Abbott told us yesterday, you can’t keep people safe on the cheap. That’s reflected in the fears of people like Ruth, who told me:

“We’ve had an increase in our council tax to pay for more police but we have no police station. The only increase we have had is in the crime rate I worry about my elderly parents’ safety in their own home.”

Ruth’s fears are not unfounded. Violent crime is rising while police numbers have fallen to their lowest level for 30 years. The Chief Constable of Bedfordshire says: “We do not have the resources to keep residents safe and no-one seems to be listening.”

Well Labour is listening. We’ll put another 10,000 police officers back on our streets, playing a vital role in tackling crime and making people safer.

But if we want to reduce crime, more police are only part of the solution. Every study tells us that investing in young people and communities is key and crime thrives amid economic failure. So under Labour there will be no more left-behind areas and no more forgotten communities.

We know the earliest years are a crucial time to open up children’s life chances. Yesterday I visited the Greenhouse nursery in Liverpool and heard their experiences. But across the country, nurseries can’t make ends meet and youth clubs and nurseries are closing.

Decent early years education is now at risk of becoming a privilege. Families most in need are not even entitled to it and many who are struggle to claim it, because the system’s fragmented and underfunded.

This Government’s limited childcare pledge has turned out to be free in name only. So today I can announce that Labour will make 30 hours a week of free childcare available to all two, three and four year olds.

And we will provide additional subsidised hours of childcare on top of the free 30-hour allowance, free for those on the lowest incomes and capped at £4 an hour for the rest.

Labour will invest in the people who care for and educate our children. We will raise the standards of childcare across the board with a 10-year plan to shift to a graduate-led workforce and improve the pay and skills of childcare staff with a new national pay scale for all early years workers starting at £10 an hour. This is an investment and a pay rise for a workforce, 98% of whom are women and 85% of whom earn around the minimum wage.

Patchy support for childcare is holding back too many parents and families. Universal free high quality childcare will benefit parents, families and children across our country. Driving up standards of childcare will make that vital difference for millions of our children.

Labour is offering a long overdue change that will transform people’s lives and meet the needs of a 21st century Britain for all. We are talking about rebuilding Britain this week But I also want to make an appeal to the older generation who built modern Britain. It was you who rebuilt our country after the war, kick-started our economy, built our NHS and created our social security system.

It was your generation that built the council housing, won our rights at work and made our country a better place for all. It was your work and taxes that paid for a better retirement for those who went before you.

So we owe it you, the older generation, to rebuild Britain so you too have peace of mind and dignity. And we will fulfil that obligation with the triple lock on pensions protected along with the winter fuel allowance, a free bus pass and a national health and care service that can look after you and your families with respect. That is solidarity between the generations.

Conference, to rebuild our public services and our communities we are going to have to rebuild and transform our economy for the 21st century. We can no longer tolerate a set-up where the real economy, in which millions work, is just a sort of sideshow for the City of London and for banks fixated on piling up profits around the world.

The change we need requires new ideas and new thinking, as well as learning from those that have worked in the past and in other countries. We need to explore new forms of ownership and public enterprise, and learn from creative local initiatives such as those taken by Labour councils like Preston. And let’s take up the call from TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady to use new technologies and automation as an opportunity rather than a threat, a chance to raise living standards and give people more control of their own lives.

Inequality is not just a matter of incomes. It’s about having a real say too. That’s why we are not only determined to rebuild our economy, communities and public services, but also to democratise them, and change the way our economic system is run in the interests of the majority.

John McDonnell’s proposals for Inclusive Ownership Funds will mean workers sharing more fairly in the rewards of successful businesses. And I listened carefully to the words of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and read the excellent Commission on Economic Justice report he was involved in, which rightly argued: “economic justice needs to be hard-wired into the way the economy works”.

The 19th century Chartist leader and poet Ernest Jones wrote:

And what we get, and what we give,
We know, and we know our share;
We’re not too low the cloth to weave,
But too low the cloth to wear.

He was making the point that workers know the reality and injustice of their position. Labour believes a worker’s position is on the board. That’s why we’re proposing to give the workforce of all large UK businesses the right to elect a third of the seats on the board, giving employees a genuine voice and a stake, shifting the balance at work in favour of the wealth creators, improving both decision-making and productivity in the process.

Decisions taken in boardrooms affect people’s pay, their jobs and their pensions. Workers deserve a real say in those decisions. That’s nothing for businesses to be afraid of. They should welcome the expertise and understanding that workers will bring to the company board.

We will rebalance power in the workplace, but I say to businesses large and small: Labour will also deliver what you need to succeed and to expand and modernise our economy. More investment in our transport, housing and digital infrastructure. More investment in education and skills, so workers are more productive. Action to save the High Street, as Rebecca Long Bailey set out yesterday. And action to deal with rip-off bills that hit us all. But most of all, commitment to a Brexit that protects job, the economy and trade, and determined opposition to one that does not.

Ten years ago this month, the whole edifice of greed-is-good deregulated financial capitalism, lauded for a generation as the only way to run a modern economy, came crashing to earth with devastating consequences. But instead of making essential changes to a broken economic system, the political and corporate establishment strained every sinew to bail out and prop up the system that led to the crash in the first place.

The price of that has not just been stagnation, wages falling for the longest period in recorded history, and almost a decade of deeply damaging cuts to public services. It’s also fuelled the growth of racism and xenophobia and has led to a crisis of democracy at home and abroad.

People in this country know that the old way of running things isn’t working any more. And unless we offer radical solutions, others will fill the gap with the politics of blame and division.

That’s why Labour speaks for the new majority, why last year we won the biggest increase in the Labour vote since 1945, and why Labour’s ideas have caught “the mood of our time”. And conference, it isn’t me saying that – it’s a former Conservative Treasury minister, Lord O’Neill. I’ve never sought to capture the mood of a Tory minister before, but let me say to his Lordship: you’re welcome, come and join us in the new political mainstream.

That failed economic free-for-all, which led to the crash of a decade ago, has also fuelled the global environmental crisis and hamstrung international efforts to tackle it.

There is no bigger threat facing humanity than climate change, and 21 years ago, Labour’s then Deputy Leader John Prescott played a prominent role in helping to secure the Kyoto Protocol. That united the world’s major economies behind an agreement to cut carbon emissions and obliged them to give poorer countries access to low-carbon technology. It was about solidarity, recognising that the air we breathe does not respect national boundaries and we all have an interest in every nation reducing emissions.

The contrast with the America First posturing of Donald Trump and his decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Accords could not be sharper. We only have one planet, so we must re-engage with countries seeking to walk away from Paris. But we must also lead by example. Yesterday Rebecca Long Bailey set out our plans for energy, developed with our Environment Secretary Sue Hayman, plans that are ambitious, will create hundreds of thousands of jobs and will make Britain the only developed country outside Scandinavia to be on track to meet our climate change obligations.

That will mean working with unions to ensure jobs and skills are protected as we move towards a low-carbon economy. And working with industry to change the way we build to train the workforce that will retrofit homes and work in the new energy industries too.

And I can announce today that our programme of investment and transformation to achieve a 60% reduction in emissions by 2030 will create over 400,000 skilled jobs. Good jobs based here and on union rates bringing skills and security to communities held back for too long.

And we will go further, with plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by the middle of the century.

I know that sounds ambitious. It is ambitious and will be delivered with the most far-reaching programme of investment and transformation in decades.

Labour will kick-start a Green Jobs Revolution that will help tackle climate change, provide sustainable energy for the future and create skilled jobs in every nation and region of the UK.

But it’s not just the economic system that is unsustainable. Britain’s relationship with the rest of the world, our foreign policy is no longer sustainable either.

We are entering a new fast-changing and more dangerous world including the reckless attacks in Salisbury which the evidence painstakingly assembled by the police now points clearly to the Russian state.

When President Trump takes the US out of the Paris accords, tries to scrap the Iran nuclear deal, moves the US embassy to Jerusalem and pursues aggressive nationalism and trade wars – he is turning his back on international cooperation and even international law.

We need a British government that can not only keep the country safe, but can also speak out for democratic values and human rights.

Today’s Conservative government continues to collude with the disastrous Saudi-led war in Yemen, turning a blind eye to evidence of war crimes and the devastating suffering of millions of civilians.

That’s why I was honoured to attend the vigil this week held by Liverpool’s Yemeni community, in protest against what is taking place.

Labour’s foreign policy will be driven by progressive values and international solidarity, led by Emily Thornberry, Kate Osamor and Nia Griffith.

That means no more reckless wars of intervention, like Iraq or Libya.

It means putting negotiations before confrontation, diplomacy before tub-thumping threats. It means championing human rights and democracy everywhere and not just where it is commercially convenient.

And working to resolve the world’s injustices, not standing idly by, or worse, fuelling them in the first place.

Conference, sometimes our hopes can be betrayed. Many of us campaigned for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, imprisoned by the Myanmar military for fighting for democracy. Today, the Myanmar military government which Aung San Suu Kyi nominally leads stands accused of grave atrocities against the Rohingya people.

Nearly one million people have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh and women and girls in particular face appalling violence.

We demand that the Myanmar government end its horrific ethnic cleansing and allows the Rohingya to rebuild their communities and their lives.

And let me next say a few words about the ongoing denial of justice and rights to the Palestinian people. Our Party is united in condemning the shooting of hundreds of unarmed demonstrators in Gaza by Israeli forces and the passing of Israel’s discriminatory Nation-State Law.

The continuing occupation, the expansion of illegal settlements and the imprisonment of Palestinian children are an outrage. We support a two-state solution to the conflict with a secure Israel and a viable and secure Palestinian state.

But a quarter of a century on from the Oslo Accords we are no closer to justice or peace and the Palestinian tragedy continues, while the outside world stands by.

As my great Israeli friend Uri Avnery who died this year put it: “What is the alternative to peace? A catastrophe for both peoples”.

And in order to help make that two-state settlement a reality we will recognise a Palestinian state as soon as we take office.

We will also make a far more determined effort to help bring the terrible war in Syria to an end, a war that has led to millions of refugees, some of whom I met in Jordan this summer and whose plight Alf Dubs described so powerfully yesterday.

The Syrian conflict has been fuelled by the military intervention of multiple powers. And it will need those same powers to deliver a negotiated peace settlement to end the killing and allow the return of the refugees.

But Labour’s plans to rebuild and transform our country and its relationship with the rest of the world are having to be made against the backdrop of huge uncertainty about Brexit.

Labour respects the decision of the British people in the referendum. But no one can respect the conduct of the government since that vote took place.

We all hoped that the people’s decision would be followed by effective and responsible negotiations that would protect living standards and jobs.

Instead, the main negotiations have taken place between different factions of the Tory party and the only job this government is fighting for is the Prime Minister’s.

Theresa May used to say that ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’. Yet now, after two years of botched negotiations she is threatening the country with just that choice: a bad deal or no deal. That is a threat to our whole economy, especially our manufacturing industry and to tens of thousands of skilled jobs here in Britain.

Now time is running out. Companies are losing patience. In the absence of any clarity from government they are planning to relocate abroad, taking jobs and investment with them. Some have already started and I fear more will follow.

The Tories are well aware of this but some see Brexit as their opportunity to impose a free market shock doctrine in Britain.

The Prime Minister is in New York today promising that a post-Brexit Britain will offer the lowest corporation tax of all the G20 nations. Handouts to the few, paid for by the many and an already tried-and-failed strategy for boosting investment.

Sajid Javid has set out his plan for more tax giveaways and to rip up people’s pension rights.

Liam Fox is itching to scrap workers’ rights and privatise the NHS with a side order of chlorinated chicken.

And then there’s Jacob Rees-Mogg who has expressed his personal faith in a Brexit Britain by deciding to base his new investment fund in the Eurozone.

The Tory Brexiteers unite the politics of the 1950s with the economics of the 19th century, daydreaming about a Britannia that both rules the waves and waives the rules.

Labour’s job is now to win support for a deal that meets the needs of the country, combined with our plan to rebuild and transform Britain with investment in our people and economy.

Our priority is clear – we aim to get the best Brexit deal for jobs and living standards to underpin our plans to upgrade the economy and invest in every community and region.

That can bring people together and meet the concerns of both those who voted leave and those who voted remain.

Conference, the way ahead is clear. We will vote against any reduction in rights, standards or protections and oppose a deregulatory race-to-the-bottom.

So let me say to the country. As it stands, Labour will vote against the Chequers plan or whatever is left of it and oppose leaving the EU with no deal.

And it is inconceivable that we should crash out of Europe with no deal – that would be a national disaster.

That is why if Parliament votes down a Tory deal or the government fails to reach any deal at all we would press for a General Election. Failing that, all options are on the table.

So let me thank Keir Starmer, the man who would lead our Brexit negotiations in government. Keir, having got agreement yesterday in this conference hall, getting one in Brussels should be a piece of cake.

But let me also reach out to the Prime Minister, who is currently doing the negotiating.

Brexit is about the future of our country and our vital interests. It is not about leadership squabbles or parliamentary posturing. If you deliver a deal that includes a customs union and no hard border in Ireland, if you protect jobs, people’s rights at work and environmental and consumer standards – then we will support that sensible deal. A deal that would be backed by most of the business world and trade unions too.

But if you can’t negotiate that deal then you need to make way for a party that can.


Labour if offering a real alternative to the people of Britain. A radical plan to rebuild and transform our country.

An alternative to the politics of austerity, of social division and of international conflict.

Where the Tories have divided and ruled, we will unite and govern.

We represent the new common sense of our time. And we are ready to deliver on it.

We must speak for the people to whom Theresa May promised so much but has delivered so little.

And we must take our message to every town, city and village. United and ready to win, ready to govern as we were in 1945, 1964 and 1997.

So that when we meet this time next year let it be as a Labour government. Investing in Britain after years of austerity and neglect and bringing our country together after a decade of division.

Conference. Let every constituency, every community know Labour is ready. Confident in our ideas, clear in our plans, committed to rebuild Britain.

We don’t want to live in a society where our fellow citizens sleep rough. A strong society is one that gives all our young people the chance to realise their potential and in which all of us know if our parents need care they will get it.

Our task is to build that Britain and together we can.

Thank you.

Jonathan Ashworth – 2018 Speech at Labour Party Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Jonathan Ashworth, the Shadow Secretary of State for Health, at the Labour Party conference in Liverpool on 26 September 2018.

70 years ago Nye Bevan had the vision to build a National Health Service universal in scope, free at the point of use, covering everyone irrespective of their means.

The Tories fought it tooth and nail.

But working men and women refused to give up the struggle.

And so a National Health Service was established not because it was inevitable, it was established because of Labour.

In place of fear, was offered hope.

It was as Bevan said “a real piece of socialism.”

And it has survived because of the men and women who have sustained it through 70 years.

So let us Conference in this the 70th anniversary of the NHS thank the nurses, the midwives, the surgeons, the doctors, the dentists, the junior doctors; thank the paramedics, the patient transport staff, the psychiatrists, the health visitors, school nurses, the OTs, the ODPs; thank the pharmacists, the pathologists, the radiologists, the lab technicians. Thank the porters, the cleaners, the catering staff, the assistants, the clerks and medical secretaries.

Let us thank each and every one of the staff who do us proud every day.

And let us thank those who have come from across the world to care for our sick and elderly whether from the EU, the Indian sub -continent and yes the Windrush generation too.

But instead of hope today there is fear.

The fear of languishing on a trolley in an overcrowded A&E;

The misery of cancelled operations;

The distress at social care snatched away;

The anguish when hip and knee replacements are refused;

Or heartbreak when women are denied a chance to start a family because IVF is restricted.

Eight years of Tory austerity mean waiting lists growing, beds cut, communities losing services, hospitals forced into a fire sale of land.

Eight years of austerity sees hospitals crumbling, equipment breaking down.

Austerity has meant we are so short of midwives that last year half of maternity units shut their doors at some point to women in the throes of labour.

Understaffing has become so chronic, they are now even saying you’ll need to book an appointment to go to A&E. How out of touch. What part of accident and emergency do these Tories not understand?

It doesn’t have to be like this. Austerity was a choice.

In place of fear, it falls to Labour to offer hope again. If a Jeremy Corbyn Labour government had been elected last year, austerity in our NHS would have ended as we’d have invested £7.7 billion extra this year.

We’ll invest in general practice, we’ll invest to prepare our NHS for winter, we’ll establish a National Care Service and to ensure we have the most up to date lifesaving technology and equipment we’ll invest £10 billion extra in infrastructure too.

And when hospital rebuilds are left stalled like here in Liverpool we will step in, take control and ensure hospitals are completed using public money not PFI.

NHS staff care for us in times of most desperate need. It’s time we cared properly for staff.

We will deliver fair pay now and always, based on collective bargaining.

We will safeguard the rights of all NHS and social care staff from the EU and end hostile restrictions on international recruitment.

And, we will expand training places and bring back the bursary too.

Bevan said ‘financial anxiety in time of sickness is a serious hindrance to recovery.’ He was right.

So we will end the tax on the sick that is hospital car parking charges.

And for hospital patients bed bound, sometimes for weeks on end, whose main comfort is the television, it’s a disgrace they can be charged £35.00 a week just to watch TV. We’ll end these rip offs and deliver a fair deal for patients.

Children and young people with cancer often have to travel far for specialist cancer care. But when your child is facing cancer you shouldn’t have to worry about paying for train tickets or petrol just to get to the hospital.

I can announce today a Labour government will cover the costs of travel to and from hospital for cancer treatment for children.

Patients come first and as your Health Secretary I would never abandon my responsibilities to patient care and safety. I certainly wouldn’t be pushing untested private health apps like this new Health Secretary. It’s so irresponsible.

Because we know privatisation puts patient care at risk.

Privatisation means patient transport services run by companies that leave patients stranded.

It means GP out of hours services that aren’t available out of hours.

It means a failing hospital cleaning contract that led to infectious waste flowing through a children’s ward.

And it means Virgin Care suing our NHS.

Now I don’t know if Sir Richard Branson follows the proceedings of the Labour Party Conference.

But I know this. Richard Branson and his shareholders should give that money back to the NHS.

The shadow health team – Barbara Keeley, Justin Madders, Sharon Hodgson, Paula Sheriff, Glenys Thornton, Julie Cooper and Alex Norris have been campaigning on these issues – we thank them today.

But we have more to do.

Last year, conference, you asked me not to break your heart, well I don’t want to break anyone’s heart. So I can tell you.

In Parliament, we will vote against Tory accountable care proposals that usher in more privatisation and cuts

And the next Labour government will end privatisation, will end PFI, we will repeal the Health and Social Care Act and yes will bring forward reinstatement legislation as we begin the process of renationalising our National Health Service.

And we’ll block transfers of hospital staff to subsidiary companies too.

In the coming days I’ll join those unions like Unison and Unite on a picket line against this backdoor privatisation.

The creation of a National Health Service wasn’t just about the relief of a mother’s anguish who otherwise would have to pay for a doctor to come to the bedside of her sick child.

It was also about something really, really fundamental – equality.

Yet today after years of austerity health inequalities are getting wider.

Advances in life expectancy are stalling. In some of our poorest areas its going backwards.

In our most disadvantaged communities we see the greater prevalence of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancers and stroke.

We know a child born into poverty and deprivation is more likely to be admitted to hospital, to leave school obese, to suffer poorer health outcomes throughout life.

Place of birth too often determines length of life.

We shouldn’t settle for that.

So a Labour government will establish a specific target to narrow health inequalities.

Rather than cutting prevention budgets we will fully fund public health provision including sexual health services and drug and alcohol addiction services.

Our ambition is the healthiest children in the world so we’ll start tackling childhood obesity through ending junk food advertising on family TV and introducing universal free school meals.

To support parents and babies we’ll recruit more Health Visitors and invest properly in perinatal mental health services too.

But there is something else we need to do.

I recently met Rachel, she told me her story of trying to get help for her anorexic daughter.

Rachel told me how her daughter was sent ‘out of area’ three times over six years to different hospitals including over 300 miles away to Scotland.

Care was always inconsistent in a mental health system fragmented, understaffed, cut back suffering from years of neglect.

It meant a vulnerable teenage girl, desperately ill, left trapped in an endless cycle of admission, relapse and discharge.

As a father of two girls, I’m not ashamed to admit that I cried listening to her story.

We can’t allow – I won’t allow – families to be let down like that.

So we will fully fund child and adolescent mental health services, we’ll invest in eating disorder services and end the injustice of children treated on adult wards or sent miles from home. As we finally deliver true parity of esteem for mental health services.

So in place of fear, we offer hope again.

And if anyone doubts us, let the message from this Conference be clear.

If it was possible from the rubble, the debris, the austerity of the 1940s to build a National Health Service covering every man, woman and child free at the point of use then it is possible 70 years later to fund our NHS properly and provide the quality of care people deserve.

So let us face the future.

Yes in place of fear, we offer hope.

In place of fear, the hope of a rebuilt National Health Service.

In place of fear, the hope of a Labour government for the many not the few.

Dawn Butler – 2018 Speech at Labour Party Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Dawn Butler, the Shadow spokesperson for Women and Equalities, at the Labour Party conference held in Liverpool on 26 September 2018.

Chair, conference, I’d like to thank my equalities team. Carolyn Harris, Naz Shah and Baroness Anita Gale for the great work they do in the Women and Equalities team holding this Tory Government to account.

Rebuilding Britain for the many not the few, we know this is our vision, but what will this look like under the next Labour government?

Almost all of our current equality laws have been made under previous Labour governments.

This Conservative Government continues to destroy hard won equality rights, that Labour and the trade unions have fought for.

Everywhere we look your rights are being eroded or removed.  For far too long, the Tory Government has treated equality as an add on, an afterthought.

The Tories have had 7 different equality ministers, tagged onto 4 different departments and a budget that has been almost halved.

2018 has been a year where the Tory governments institutionally racist policies have been exposed. The hostile environment and the damage they have done to the Windrush generation will never be forgiven nor forgotten – nor should it be.

My parents were invited here from Jamaica. They were confronted with signs saying no blacks – no Irish – no dogs. My parents worked so hard, with my dad never taking a day off sick. They paid their taxes and raised their children well.

Now the Windrush generation in their twilight years, when they should be enjoying retirement, are confronted with go home – you’re no longer British – you are surplus to requirements This could have been my parents. After giving their blood sweat and tears to rebuild Britain they are disguarded like trash.

This was no mistake or unintended consequences by Theresa May – her hostile environment was by design.

Sadly this hostile environment has not been reserved just for the Windrush generation. Under universal credit women lose £1,400 a year and if you are a black woman you lose even more. Older people have seen a reduction in services, with home visits lasting as little as 15 minutes.

How many in this conference can wash, eat and get dressed in 15 minutes?

And don’t forget the 1950’s women who were cheated out of their pensions.

Disabled people you have been treated so badly by this government’s austerity policies that the united nations has said it is a systematic violation of your rights.

Black, Asian minority ethnic people, the government’s own race disparity audit highlighted that its policies have had a detrimental effect on you, from the justice system to education and employment, and yet they still refuse to rectify it.

People of faith, since Brexit we have seen faith hate crime increase by 29% and the LGBTQI+ community in the last 12 months has seen hate crime increase 5 fold – with 45% of trans students attempting suicide.

I could go on talking about so many things that mitigate against a fairer society but I want to talk about what a Labour government would do.

A labour government will put equality centre stage. It will be the central thread across all of government.

We will create a standalone women and equalities department which for the very first time will be headed by a Secretary of State.

We will:

– develop and deliver a national equalities strategy

– lead on reducing discrimination and inequality

– ensure this is enforced through all machinery of government

Labour will deliver a fairer society for the many. We will equality proof all legislation before, during and after implementation, ensuring no individual or group is unfairly discriminated against by our laws. This would prevent another Windrush scandal ever happening again.

Labour’s new Equality department will work alongside other departments to:

– implement up to 10 days paid leave for those suffering from domestic abuse

– change the law so that people can bring forward cases on multiple grounds of discrimination

– strengthen the Equality and Human Rights Commission

– integrate the UN Convention on rights for people with disabilities

– ensure British sign language is given full legal status

– re-establish a women’s national commission

– launch the emancipation educational trust

– supply free sanitary products in schools, colleges and homeless shelters to end period poverty

And conference all this will commence in our first term of office. I know what you’re thinking – when will we find time to sleep?

But who needs sleep when the next Labour government will be the most progressive, aspirational government in this country’s history.

The privileged few and the mainstream media try to tell us it can’t be done. Don’t believe them – it can.

In reality what is wrong with those at the very top getting a little less so that those at the bottom can get a little more? I wouldn’t class that as radical, would you?

A labour government will rebuild Britain for the many not the few.

Conference, there are many people in our country who want to revolt against the cruel injustices of the Conservatives, but there are so many obstacles. They want their voices to be heard but unfair obstacles overpower them. They want a better life but at every turn there’s a different obstacle to overcome.

Conference I am Labour because Labour made my parents feel welcome when they arrived from Jamaica. Labour stands for fairness, equality and justice. It is imperative that we are united and keep people like my parents and the many who desperately need a labour government at the forefront of our minds, and the many more who need us to overcome the obstacles the Tories have put in their way.

This isn’t just a question of spending money but a question of fairness. To build that fairer society we must tackle all of those injustices. A fairer society should be judged on the basis that “we measure success by the obstacles we overcome”.

Conference the time to overcome is now. It is time that we overcome those obstacles if we are to fulfil our vision for the many, not the few.  And conference I believe we can overcome together – united, we shall overcome, we shall overcome some day – deep in my heart I do believe we shall overcome some day. And someday soon.

Conference look around you. We are the many and there are many many more, and they need Labour to make our country fairer to level the playing field. To empower them, to break down the obstacles for them.

Conference let’s be united and fight for a Labour government for the many, not the few.