Greg Clark – 2017 Speech to Conservative Party Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Greg Clark, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, at the Conservative Party conference held in Manchester on 2 October 2017.

The Conservative Party owes its strength over the years to two things. To our principles as the party of freedom in a property-owning democracy and to our ability to ensure stability and prosperity for the whole country.

Today we face a challenge to both. A challenge from the Left to our idea of what Britain is and can be and a broader challenge to respond to the spreading worry among many people, worries that came to the fore in the election, that the system can’t be trusted to give them and their children a fair chance to make it, and who want to know they have an active government who will fight on their side for a stable and prosperous future for them.

First things first. The British people made the decision to leave the European Union and this Government is going to carry out this instruction – Confidently, Seriously and responsibly. We are going to get the negotiations right. Part of my job is to make sure the voice of business is heard. I am a Conservative Business Secretary, and I will do my job.

Sometimes, when I travel around the world meeting overseas investors, I encounter the assumption that the vote for Brexit was part of a global trend to more closed economies. For trading less. For protection. For pessimism. For retreat. I always say that nothing could be further from the truth.

Let me speak for people who voted remain and people who voted for leave, and let me speak for the Government too. We’re for a Britain open to the world. Britain must, and will, always be: open to trade, open to talent, open to business.

We can be pioneers of a new industrial age. To achieve that, strategy begins with understanding the challenge in a serious way. Our economy has been extraordinarily good at creating jobs. We can be proud of the fact that the vast majority of people of working age in this country are in work. We are the jobs capital of the world. But we’re nowhere near being the earnings capital of the world.

We generate less value for our efforts than, say, people in Germany or France or America. We have to work longer hours to get the same rewards.

We have some people who are among the most highly skilled on the planet.

But we have too many without an adequate education or training. They can hold down a job. But the job isn’t productive enough to properly support themselves and their families.

We have some of the most prosperous places in the world. But we have too many places where potential is unfulfilled. So our job is to increase this country’s earning power. For unless we raise our earning power, capitalism won’t work for everyone. And if capitalism doesn’t work for everyone, it doesn’t work.

Here is the mission of our government: Prosperity for all – prosperity everywhere.

So our industrial strategy is about people. You can’t be productive if you don’t have the skills. We’ve raised standards in schools, and expanded apprenticeships. Now Justine Greening and I are reforming technical education.

Introducing more rigorous technical qualifications in areas where we need them- Construction, Design, Engineering, Digital technology, Healthcare, Science. More students are took maths and science A levels this summer than in any year since records began. And in every major city of England we will open an Institute of Technology to incubate the skills we need. We will give every single person in this country the prospect not just of a job – but of a trade. No-one left behind – Nowhere left behind.

And our industrial strategy is also about ideas. We want Britain to be the world’s most innovative economy. Since our last conference we have made the biggest investment in research and development for 40 years. Just one example of what that means: As battery-powered autonomous cars take over, Britain will be the go-to place for new battery technology.

Our industrial strategy commitment to research and development has, in the last 12 months alone helped ensure Britain will be home to; two new models from Nissan, the electric MINI from BMW, a quarter of a billion new investment from Toyota and Ford’s new vehicle research centre.

Today we go further as we announce, as part of our Industrial Strategy, the consortium of businesses and universities across the country who will form the Faraday Battery Institute – advancing Britain’s place in the vanguard of the next generation of this technology.

All this is backed up by the third pillar of our strategy – upgrades to our roads, railways, airports, energy networks, housing and broadband. People and ideas, supported by infrastructure. For the first time in a generation, the British government is leading the way on energy – through taking decisions on new nuclear, rolling out smart meters and leading the way in clean growth.

The world is moving from being powered by polluting fossil fuels to clean energy. It’s as big a change as the move from the age of steam to the age of oil and Britain is showing the way. In the last year we have established ourselves as the world’s leader in offshore wind power. The price has halved and all across the country factories and service centres are opening up to build and export that technology. A dividend of industrial strategy.

To drive earning power we need to champion good work by responsible employers who – pay their employees well, pay their taxes, train their workers, treat small business suppliers fairly, and compete vigorously and not by wielding monopoly power.

The Taylor Review makes us the first country to think seriously about how the gig economy can drive economic success -while safeguarding the rights and conditions of people who work in it. And by upgrading our standards of corporate governance so that they will continue to be the best, and making sure that in takeover battles bidders have to publish their plans and can’t renege on them, we are strengthening our reputation as the place that combines unparalleled opportunities with high standards.

We’ll agree sector deals with business sectors from life sciences to oil and gas; from the creative industries to ceramics. If business sectors can show how they will invest more and improve the earning power of the people who work in their industries, we’ll shake hands on a deal.

The people who know best what is needed to drive forward their local economies are the people who live, work and do business in them.
We will build on the success of our City Deals and Growth Deals – invented by this Government and now being copied around the world – to give local leaders the power to make a difference. As we saw earlier, when asked to choose – who is the best leader to drive forward their local economy, two thirds of the cities from Bristol and the West of England to Middlesbrough and the Tees Valley chose the Conservatives.

Britain can win the fight to be the first home of the new industrial revolution.

Yet to do that we must do something none of us in this hall ever thought we would have to do again. We must mount a battle of ideas on a scale we have not done for many years. Because underpinning everything we do is a belief that Britain is best served by a thriving, market economy, that produces jobs and prosperity for our people, and pays for the public services on which our nation relies.

Our opponents are determined instead to create in Britain a socialist state.

This is not a caricature – it is a description. The Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer calls himself a Marxist and he says his biggest influences are Trotsky and Lenin. The Labour Party has given itself over to a programme, an ideology and a leadership that would bring ruin.

Despite the history of failures that litter the landscape they are marching off down the path of the common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange. It’s our job – each one of us in this hall – to stop them. The cost of their plan they haven’t even determined, but every person in this hall knows it can only be paid for in one of three ways: you tax, you borrow or you expropriate. Each one would be a disaster.

The Labour party is committed to raising taxes, in the words of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, to “the highest level in the peacetime history of the United Kingdom”. It’s an illusion that these taxes would be paid by some distant multinational. I’ll tell you who’s going to pay. Working people already struggling to get by – that’s who’d have to pay the price of Labour.

As any economist will tell you, taxes on companies have to be paid by workers, by consumers and by pensioners – through lower wages, higher prices and less valuable investments meaning lower pensions.

This is not a choice of prosperity for the many or the few – it’s prosperity for no-one. And let me address a word to those Labour MPs who are choosing to stay silent even though they know their party is now led by people with an extreme and ruinous ideology. If, by your silence, you aid and abet the electoral fortunes of that leadership you won’t be forgiven, and you won’t deserve to be forgiven.

While they stay silent it is this Party that will make the case for the values and policies that are essential for our prosperity. We’re going to make the case for an enterprise economy. We’re going to make the case for businesses that compete and succeed and provide a living for the people of this country. We’re going to make the case for well-paid jobs. The case for decent public services.

The case for a welfare state paid for not by what we borrow but by what we earn. We’re going to be the voice for freedom to trade, for enterprise and creativity, and, for prosperity for all. We’re going to take the battle to the socialists – and we’re going to win.

Here is the Conservative way to govern: Living within our means; creating good jobs; paying people well; investing for the future; Being a beacon of free trade and internationalism. That is what our modern industrial strategy is about. Prosperity for all will be our reply to the high tax, anti-enterprise, job-destroying, socialist ideology that in the last two years has taken over the opposition. This need to take the arguments to the socialists and win, this need to be a voice for enterprise and liberty – is a duty that we happily take on our shoulders. For we know that our country, and this party, have not faced a more overwhelming test of our seriousness of purpose in over 70 years. We will rise to the challenge, we will do our duty, we will secure for the next generation, a better Britain.

Jeremy Hunt – 2017 Speech to Conservative Party Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health, at the Conservative Party conference held in Manchester on 2 October 2017.

We have a great team at the Department of Health so let me start by thanking them: the wise Philip Dunne, the savvy Steve Brine, the smart James O’Shaughnessy, the street-smart Jackie Doyle-Price and our perfect PPS’s Jo Churchill and James Cartlidge.

Sometimes something happens that reminds you how lucky we are to have an NHS.

That happened right here in Manchester in May.

When that bomb went off at the Arena, we saw paramedics running into danger, doctors racing to work in the middle of the night, nurses putting their arms round families who couldn’t even recognise the disfigured bodies of their loved ones.

One doctor was actually on the scene picking up his own daughter when the bomb went off. Thankfully he found her – but instead of taking her home he quietly dropped her off with friends and went straight to work at his hospital – without telling colleagues a word about where he’d been.

It was the same heroism after the London attacks too. So let’s start by thanking all those superb NHS staff for being there when our country needed them.

Of course they’re there for us not just in national emergencies but in personal ones too.

When you’re losing a loved one, when you’re sick unexpectedly, when you’re knocked sideways by a mental health crisis – the NHS is there. A National Health Service and a national symbol of British professionalism and British compassion.

But it only exists because of its people. So today I want to recognise that supporting NHS staff is one of our most important priorities.

We need more doctors. So last year I said we’d increase the number of doctors we train by a quarter, one of the biggest ever increases.

We also need more nurses. So today I can tell you we’ll increase the number of nurses we train by 25% – that’s a permanent increase of more than 5,000 nurse training places every single year. And we’ll do that not just by increasing traditional university places, but also by tripling the number of Nursing Associates so people already in the NHS can become a registered nurse after a four year apprenticeship without having to do a traditional full time university course. Derby, Wolverhampton and Coventry Universities have already offered to run apprenticeship nursing courses on hospital and community sites and others will follow, always making sure we maintain the high standards required by the nursing regulator. We’ll also launch a new initiative to encourage nurses who have left the profession to come back.

Our NHS is nothing without its nurses: we need your skills, we need your compassion and with today’s announcement we are backing the biggest expansion of nurse training in the history of the NHS.

For nurses, as for all of us, pay and conditions matter. I’ve already said we’ll decide next year’s pay awards after listening to the independent pay review bodies. But there are other things we can do today.

Nurses look after us – but they also have their own families to look after: kids at school, a mum or dad with dementia, a partner coping with cancer.

If we’re to get the best out of them we need to be much better at supporting them with their own caring responsibilities.

They need to be able to work flexibly, do extra hours at short notice, get paid more quickly when they do and make their own choices on pension contributions. So today I’m also announcing that new flexible working arrangements will be offered to all NHS employees during this parliament. And we’ll start next year with 12 trusts piloting a new app-based flexible working offer to their staff.

And like many people, NHS staff can also struggle to find homes near work they can actually afford. So from now on when NHS land is sold, first refusal on any affordable housing built will be given to NHS employees benefitting up to 3,000 families.

And there’s one more group who are understandably a bit worried at the moment and that’s the 150,000 EU workers in the health and care system. Let me say to them this: you do a fantastic job, we want you to stay and we’re confident you will be able to stay with the same rights you have now – so you can continue being a highly valued part of our NHS and social care family.

I became Health Secretary five years ago. It’s a long time ago – but I’ll never forget my very first week.

Someone gave me the original Francis report into Mid Staffs to take home to read. I was gobsmacked. How could these terrible things really happen in our NHS?

The Chief Executive of the NHS told me I’d better get used to the fact in hospitals all over the world 10% of patients are harmed. Another senior doctor told me there were pockets of Mid Staffs-like problems everywhere. And academics told me that 3.6% of all hospital deaths were probably avoidable – that’s 150 deaths every single week – causing immense heartache to families as we heard so powerfully from Deb just now.

People like Deb – and what a privilege to listen to her this morning – made a choice.

Instead of drawing a line under their personal tragedies and moving on they chose to dedicate their lives to campaigning, reliving their sadness over and over again, just to make sure other families wouldn’t have to go through what they did.

They also made my mind up for me: my single ambition as Health Secretary would be to transform our NHS into the safest healthcare system in the world where this kind of thing never happened.

But where on earth do you start?

The first thing is to be honest about where the problems are. My kids are 3, 5 and 7 and as a Dad I know exactly how good all the local schools are – thanks to Ofsted. We had nothing like that in health – so against a lot of opposition in 2013 we became the first country in the world to introduce the Ofsted system to healthcare, giving independent ratings to every hospital, care home and GP surgery.

The results were, to say the least, a big surprise. Look at this.
14 hospitals got an ‘outstanding.’ We assumed it would be the famous teaching hospitals, but in fact it was often trusts no one had really heard of outside their area. Like Western Sussex, under the inspiring leadership of Marianne Griffiths, which has the best learning culture I have seen anywhere in the NHS. Or in mental health Northumbria Tyne and Wear which I visited on Friday and is blazing a trail on the safety of mental health patients.

Then we asked ourselves a difficult question. Is quality care just something you have to buy? Of course money matters – you need enough nurses on the wards and that costs money. But it turned out to be a more complex relationship.

All Trusts are paid the same NHS tariff. But on average the ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ trusts were in surplus and the ‘requires improvement’ and ‘inadequate’ ones were in deficit. Why’s that? Because poor care is about the most expensive care you can give. If someone has a fall and stays in hospital an extra week, it’s not just terrible for them it costs us more too.

But our biggest worry was what would happen to the trusts we put into special measures. Would they get trapped in a vicious circle of decline? 35 trusts went into special measures – nearly one in five of all NHS trusts – and so far 20 have come out. What happened?

Take Wexham Park Hospital in Slough. When they went into special measures, the CQC said their care was unsafe, 6 of their 8 clinical areas needed improving and if you asked staff the majority said they would not recommend their own care to a friend or member of their family. Think about that: the staff themselves said their own hospital’s care was not to be trusted.

Two years later under the extraordinary leadership of Sir Andrew Morris and his Frimley team things were transformed: all 8 clinical areas were good or outstanding, more than two thirds of staff started recommending their own care and the Trust became one of only 8 in the country to go straight from special measures to being rated ‘Good.’

And we learned perhaps the most important thing I have learned as Health Secretary. The staff in every Trust going into special measures were exactly the same as the staff coming out. In other words it wasn’t about the staff, it was all about the leadership.

We also learned that you can’t impose quality or safety from above – it has to be part of a culture that comes from the bottom up. And that starts with openness and transparency.

Let me show you that works.

After Mid Staffs we were worried about staffing levels on wards. But rather than a top-down edict telling Trusts to recruit more staff, we did something simpler. We just asked every trust to publish every month the number of nurses employed in each of their wards. What was the impact?

This is the total number of adult nurses employed in the NHS. And you can see in the first two years from 2010 they went down by just under 5,000. Then we introduced ward by ward transparency and what happened? The blue line is the number of nurses Trusts planned to recruit. The green line is what they actually recruited. In other words once we started being transparent about nurse numbers the NHS ended up with 18,000 more nurses than it planned.

And the public noticed – inpatient satisfaction over this period rose to record highs.

We also introduced transparency in areas like mental health, our major priority under Theresa May’s leadership. We are leading probably the biggest expansion of mental health in Europe right now. But progress across the country has been patchy – so we are using transparency to make sure that wherever you live mental health conditions are always treated as seriously as physical health conditions.

So by shining a light on problems, transparency saves lives. But it also saves money.

Every time someone gets an infection during a hip operation it can cost £100,000 to put right. So under the leadership of Professor Tim Briggs we started collecting data on infection rates across the country. What did Tim find? He found that our best hospitals infect one in 500 patients. But our least good ones it is as many as one in 25 patients.

Putting that right is now saving hundreds of millions of pounds as well as reducing untold human misery. So never let it be said you can’t afford safe care – it’s unsafe care that breaks the bank.

Now what’s been the overall impact of this focus on safety and quality? We all know the pressure the NHS is under. But despite that the proportion of patients being harmed has fallen by 8% and 200 fewer patients harmed every single day.

Staff are happier than ever with the quality of their care and the proportion of the public who agree their NHS care is good is up 13%.

This July an independent American think tank, the Commonwealth Fund, said the NHS was the best – and safest – healthcare system in the world. That’s better than America, better than France, better than Germany and most importantly ahead of the Ashes better than Australia.

But – and there is a ‘but’ – we still have those 150 avoidable deaths every week.

Twice a week somewhere in the NHS we leave a foreign object in someone’s body.

Three times a week we operate on the wrong part of someone’s body.

Four times a week a claim is made for a baby born brain damaged.

We may be the safest in the world – but what that really means is that healthcare everywhere needs to change.

In America Johns Hopkins University says medical error causes 250,000 deaths a year – the third biggest killer after cancer and heart disease. Conference I want the NHS to blaze a trail across the world in sorting that out.

So we have big campaigns right now to tackle e-Coli infections, reduce maternity harm, make sure we learn from every avoidable death and most of all keep our patients safe over winter.

But we need to do something else too: and that’s get much better at supporting doctors and nurses when they make mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes – but only doctors and nurses have been brave enough to choose a career where the price of those mistakes can sometimes be a tragedy.

And when that happens no one is more devastated, no one keener to learn and improve than those same frontline staff.

But we often make that impossible. They worry about litigation, the GMC, the NMC, the CQC, even being fired by their trust. Unless we support staff to learn from mistakes we just condemn ourselves to repeat them – and that means dismantling the NHS blame culture and replacing it with a learning culture. The world’s largest healthcare organisation must become the world’s largest learning organisation – and it’s my job and my mission to make that happen.

Now next year the NHS has an important birthday. Like Prince Charles and Lulu it will turn 70.

Here are the words of the Health Minister who announced its formation back in 1944.

Nye Bevan deserves credit for founding the NHS in 1948. But that wasn’t him or indeed any Labour minister.

That was the Conservative Health Minister in 1944, Sir Henry Willink, whose white paper announced the setting up of the NHS.

He did it with cross-party support. And for me that’s what the NHS should always be: not a political football, not a weapon to win votes but there for all of us with support from all of us.

So conference when Labour question our commitment to the NHS, as they did in Brighton, just tell them that no party has a monopoly on compassion.

It’s not a Labour Health Service or a Conservative Health Service but a National Health Service that we built and are building together – as I’ve said many times.

And the next time they question our record, tell them we’ve given our NHS more doctors, more nurses and more funding than ever before in its history.

Tell them when they left office the NHS wasn’t even rated the best in Europe, let alone best in the world as it has been twice on our watch.

And most of all tell them that if they’re really worried about the NHS being destroyed, then there’s one thing they can do: ditch Corbyn and McDonnell’s disastrous economic policies which would bankrupt our economy and bring our NHS to its knees.

Because the economic facts of life are not suspended for the NHS: world-class public services need a world-class economy and to ignore that is not to support our doctors and nurses, it’s to betray them.

However unlike Labour we don’t make the mistake of saying the challenges facing the NHS are only about money.

If they were, we wouldn’t have had Mid Staffs, Morecambe Bay and all those other tragedies that happened during bumper increases in funding.

As Conservatives we know that quality of care matters as much as quantity of money.

So when we battle to improve the safety and quality of care we are making the NHS stronger not weaker.

And we’re reinforcing those founding values of the NHS we just heard, namely that every single older person, every single family, every single child in our country matters – and we want all of them to be treated with the same standards of care and compassion that we’d want for our own mum or dad or son or daughter.

That, conference, is why we’re backing our NHS to become the safest, highest quality healthcare system in the world and we will deliver the safest, highest quality healthcare system in the world. Thank you.

Liam Fox – 2017 Speech at Conservative Party Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Liam Fox, the Secretary of State for International Trade, at the Conservative Party conference held in Manchester on 3 October 2017.

OK. It’s time for some optimism.

It doesn’t seem like a year since we last met together in Birmingham. When we did so, my Department had been in existence for little over two months.

We had the challenge, but more importantly the wonderful opportunity, to build a new department designed for the trade challenges of the 21st century.
It has been a huge honour to be at the centre of such a historic project and to work alongside some of the most talented and energetic people in our country.

In a short time, we have achieved so much.

We have attracted the brightest and best talent from across Whitehall, the private sector and abroad in order to make sure that we have the skills we need to help British business succeed.

We now have over 3400 DIT personnel including those in 108 posts around the globe, literally working around the clock in our national interest.

But none of this could have been achieved without our parliamentary colleagues: our departmental Whips, Heather Wheeler and Liz Sugg and my outstanding PPS Tom Pursglove; and PPS to our Ministers, Mike Wood.

I’m delighted to welcome Rona Fairhead who joined us as our Minister in the Lords last week, and who will be leading our new export strategy. She follows in the footsteps of Mark Price who is returning to the private sector. Mark, we all owe you a huge debt of gratitude for the tireless work you did for our country.

And I’m thrilled that following the general election I was fortunate enough to retain Greg Hands and Mark Garnier – two of the finest Ministers in Whitehall.

And let’s not forget the invaluable dedication of our tremendous civil servants both here at home, and those in posts abroad, who work tirelessly on behalf of our country and who deserve more thanks than they sometimes get.

We are blessed in having a unity of purpose that I have never experienced in any other department in Whitehall.

Our vision is of a UK that trades its way to prosperity, stability and security.
We know that to realise this vision we must build a department that champions free trade, helps businesses export, drives investment and opens up markets so that more British businesses can take up the opportunities that exist in the global economy.

And we need to prepare for life after Brexit, to make the technical changes and global arrangements that will enable us to take full advantage of having an independent trade policy for the first time in over 40 years.

And we have done so against an economic backdrop where the fundamentals of the British economy have been sound and resilient.

Because the naysayers got it wrong – and doesn’t it annoy you when people preface any piece of good news with the phrase “despite Brexit”. Well, doesn’t it?

So let’s just have a reality check.

We have the highest number of people in employment ever, “despite Brexit”.

Last year we had the highest inward investment to the UK ever, creating over 75,000 new jobs and safeguarding over 32,000 others, “despite Brexit”.

We have new cars being built in Sunderland and Cowley, amongst the highest economic growth rates in the developed world, an 11% rise in exports and the best order books for British manufacturers in 22 years.

No, not despite Brexit but because of the sound economic management of a Conservative government under the leadership of our Prime Minister, Theresa May and Chancellor, Phillip Hammond.

And last week we saw the full horrors of what a Labour alternative might look like. Economic incompetence, financial incontinence and self-congratulatory nonsense.

A leadership that is conning Britain’s young people, planning to borrow and spend on an unprecedented scale leaving the debts and the inevitable taxes to the next generation. It is a confidence trick. Labour claim to be the party who support young people when, in reality, they are the party who will sell out young people.

We, on the other hand are getting on with the business of governing.

We will leave the European Union, and with it, the Single Market and the Customs Union, at the end of March 2019. We are now making the preparations for that to happen.

First, at the World Trade Organisation in Geneva, we have to table new trading schedules – which are the legal basis of our international trading obligations.

We have increased our staff numbers and worked hard with our international partners to ensure that this process is as technical and straightforward as possible.

Second, we have to translate into UK law, the trade agreements that the EU has, with other countries, and to which we are a party.

There are around 40 such EU free trade agreements and we have been working to ensure that we continue our trading advantages with important markets, such as Switzerland and South Korea, avoiding any disruption at the point we leave the EU.

Beyond that, we will need to look to new agreements to ensure that we can take full advantage of the opportunities that will arise in the future.

Of course, as we look globally, we must continue to recognise the hugely important market for the UK that the EU provides. That is why the Prime Minister and David Davis have consistently said that we want to see a full and comprehensive agreement with the EU, retaining an open and free trading area across the European continent.

That is in the interests of both the UK and our European partners who we want to see prosperous and strong, playing a full part in our mutual economic well-being and security.

But the EU itself estimates that over 90% of global growth in the next 10 to 15 years will occur outside Europe so we must be ready to meet that challenge.

These are the markets where Britain must trade, invest and partner, ensuring that we deliver and bring back to Britain the fruits of growth in some of the world’s most dynamic places.

From the vibrant energy of the Asian economies to the awakening giant of Latin America to the potential of the African continent, new opportunities are arising, new ventures beckoning and new possibilities blossoming.

We have already begun discussions with the United States, Australia and New Zealand about future relationships.

We have established a trade policy group to lead our trade negotiations of the future and recruited the terrific Crawford Falconer from New Zealand to head up a new trade profession, creating new skills and career opportunities in trade.

We have established 12 working groups with 17 countries from India to Brazil and from the Gulf to Australia.

As Ministers we have travelled to over 100 global markets, promoting British exports of goods and services, encouraging inward investment to the United Kingdom and seeking overseas investment opportunities so that British companies develop a genuinely global footprint.

Am I optimistic about the future? Absolutely.

When people ask if I’m a glass half full or half empty man – I just tell them that I’m Scottish and the glass isn’t big enough.

And we continue to innovate to help UK businesses, large and small. We have a dedicated network of Trade Envoys, and will shortly have a fully established complement of Trade Commissioners to lead nine new regions across the world, bringing together expertise in export promotion, investment and policy at our posts abroad.

We will bring an end to micromanagement from Whitehall and give those with the intuition and understanding of international markets the freedom they need to do the job that this country needs them to do.

And our job is to ensure that everything we do helps British business.
We have created a cutting edge digital trading site – called – showcasing Britain to the world and showing real time export opportunities.

And we are now providing political risk insurance so that even the most difficult markets can be accessed with confidence and for SMEs we will make export finance available through their own banks for the first time, making help available quickly and efficiently.

But we must not assume that everyone takes the same positive view of global free trade that we do. There are many who are worried about the disruptive effects of the globalised economy and the effect it may have on their own jobs and prosperity. If we are to get wide acceptance of a competitive, free market, global economy then we must ensure that it works for everyone. And we must provide mitigation where disruption is caused to individuals or communities.

In particular, we have to ensure that our training and reskilling is sufficient to help people back into the workplace as quickly and smoothly as possible.

We may think that the benefits of free trade are self-evident but we need to sell our vision and mission to a public that is often either unaware or sceptical about the benefits.

We need to say that when the UK sells its goods and services to other countries it helps the UK economy grow and become stronger.

We need to say that improving trade and selling more into markets overseas support jobs at home.

And we need to point out that the choice and competition that comes from trade means a greater variety of goods in the shops, helping keep prices down and making incomes go further.

Getting cut-price produce from Lidl and Aldi is free trade in action.

Getting bigger widescreen TVs at lower prices from Currys is free trade in action.

Getting lower cost school clothing or having a full range of fruit and vegetables all year round is free-trade in action.

On the other hand, putting up barriers to trade – or protectionism – leads to higher prices and less choice. Ultimately, it leads to a less competitive economy that delivers lower living standards.

Let’s make our arguments mean something to all our people.

And more, let’s go beyond the economic arguments and make the moral case too.

Over the last generation, more than 1 billion people have been taken out of abject poverty thanks to the success of global trading. It is the greatest reduction in poverty in human history and we are working hand in hand with our development policy so that ultimately people can trade their way out of poverty rather than simply depending on aid.

Of course no one is likely to disagree with the sentiment. Yet the most developed countries have been placing more and more obstacles in the way of free trade in recent years. According to the OECD, at the end of 2010 the G7 and G20 countries were operating around 300 non-tariff barriers to trade. By the end of 2015 this had increased to over 1200.

Those who have benefited most from free-trade in the past cannot pull up the drawbridges behind them. It is completely unacceptable, which is why, as we leave the European Union, and take up our independent seat at the World Trade Organization, we will be unequivocal champions of free-trade for the benefit of all.

But we need to see free trade in a wider context still. We live in a world that is more interconnected and more interdependent than at any time in our history.

Free trade helps to ensure that there is an ever wider sharing of prosperity.

That prosperity, which encourages and develops social cohesion, underpins political stability. And that political stability, in turn, is part of the framework for our global security.

That is why we must see them all as part of a continuum and why it is so essential that our trade policy, our development policy and our foreign policy work hand in hand, which is why Boris, Priti and I are working so closely together.

So let’s be upbeat, Let’s be positive. Let’s be optimistic.

From Jakarta to Panama to Tokyo to Johannesburg, I have heard nothing but a willingness to do business with Britain, a respect for the quality of our goods and services and a desire to develop partnerships with British business.

We need to take as positive a view of Britain as they do.

We need to stop the negative, undermining, self-defeating pessimism that is too prevalent in certain quarters and be bold, be brave and rise to the global challenges, together.

We are not passengers in our own destiny. We can make change happen if we want to.

And it is this great party leading our great country that will make that change and lead us to a great future.

Thank you.

David Davis – 2017 Speech at Conservative Party Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by David Davis, the Secretary of State for Leaving the European Union, at the Conservative Party conference held in Manchester on 3 October 2017.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is a great pleasure to be here in this great City, a city forever associated with free trade.

The historic buildings we see all around us, they were all built on the back of trade.

Today, I want to talk about how we can draw inspiration from that past, to carve out a new place for ourselves in the world, to rise to the new set of challenges that face us as new technologies threaten to change our world faster than ever.

When we met last year in the shadow of the Referendum emotions were still raw.

A year later, there is a new mood.

People want to look to the future.

They are fed up that people in Westminster seem to be stuck in an endless debate while the rest of the world wants to get a move on.

Over a year later I still get people coming up to me every day saying: ‘best of luck’ or ‘get a good deal for us Mr Davis’, and even, ‘Surely it can’t be that difficult?’

And that’s just the Cabinet.

Joking aside, every time I walk down the street, get on a train or walk through an airport….

People – not leave voters, or remain voters any more – just ordinary decent people, enthusiastically come up to me and wish me well on our shared project.

They know it’s not going to be easy or straightforward.

But the reasons that so many men and women voted to leave a year and a half ago are the same reasons that drive me every day right now:

We have been given a one-off time-limited extraordinary opportunity.

An opportunity to make sure that all the decisions about the future of this country are taken by our parliament, our courts, our institutions.

Decisions about how to spend our taxes – made here in Britain.

Decisions about who comes into the country – made here in Britain.

All our laws – made here in Britain.

We need to get Britain standing on its own two feet – facing outwards to the world.

And it’s that last point, looking forward to Britain’s Global role, which I want to talk to you about now.

One of the most powerful arguments I’ve heard for being outside the European Union was simple.

And it goes like this:

‘What kind of internationalism is it which says that this country must give priority to a Frenchman over an Indian, a German over an Australian, an Italian over a Malaysian.’

It couldn’t have been further from a Conservative Conference.

Having been said by Barbara Castle in 1975.

But what she meant, rings true today.

We are a global nation. We export more goods and services than Russia, Brazil and Indonesia combined

We have one of the greatest armed forces on the planet…

Who show their worth to the world in the Indian Ocean, in Iraq and the Baltics.

We train the best diplomats and put them to the test by sending them to work for the Foreign Secretary.

Now that we are leaving the European Union.

It allows us to be more international, not less.

It requires us to face the world, not looking away or glancing back, but with confidence and determination about the future we will build.

And ladies and gentlemen there is only one party which can deliver that and it is our Conservative Party.

Now, I would be happy to work with the Labour Party in the national interest, putting aside our differences for the good of the country.

But they have been playing a different game.

They’ve now published 11 separate Brexit plans and they are to paraphrase  Tolstoy, each unhappy in its own unique way.

For the customs union…then against it.

For the single market…then against it.

For freedom of movement…then against it.

Where we have introduced a Repeal Bill to take control of our laws and provide legal certainty…

They opposed it and offered no alternative.

Where we set out our negotiating positions and got the process started…

They opposed it and offered no alternative.

Where we have set out a plan for life outside the EU…with free trade and a strong economy…

They opposed it and offered no alternative.

They claim they respect the outcome of the Referendum…but oppose every step required to deliver it.

This is the most complex negotiation you could imagine.

Where one oversight, one error could cost the taxpayer billions of pounds…

And just last week I heard Keir Starmer say, ‘We mustn’t get bogged down in discussions about technicalities’

Well I’m afraid ignoring the details of Brexit just won’t cut it.

It’s like they’ve got a new slogan: ‘Labour…government without the hard bits’.

Well we are different in this party

We respect the people’s decision

And we will deliver the people’s decision

And as we do it, we will have to be clear eyed about what we want to achieve.

Because the future of our country is much more than just Brexit.

And it is something to be excited about whether you voted leave or remain.

As Liam has just told you the European Commission itself says that 90 per cent of the future global growth will come from outside Europe.

Having an independent trade policy will allow us to embrace those opportunities to the full.

And it gives us an opportunity to lead a race to the top.

To push up global standards.

To protect rights for workers.

To improve productivity and increase wages.

And lead the world as the champion of free trade.

Campaigning for the poverty-busting, affluence-spreading, wealth-creating impact that it can have.

Last week I was in Brussels.

Representing Britain in the fourth round of negotiations

We are making real steps forwards getting results on issues which affect people’s daily lives.

On the rights of British citizens in the Europe and European citizens here.

We will allow all 4 million of them to live their lives as they do now.

I am certain we can secure a deal on this soon.

On Northern Ireland and Ireland both the UK and the European Union are fully committed to protecting the peace process and ensuring that there is no return to the problems of the past.

And on the issue of the money

Yes, as the Prime Minister has promised, we will honour our commitments.

Because ours is a country that which plays by the rules and obeys the law.

But we will do our duty for the British taxpayer, and challenge these claims line by line.

We must never lose sight of the bigger picture, and the prize on offer at the end of the process.

And it is only in this context, that we can finally settle this issue.

Closer to home, we are getting Britain ready for Brexit step-by-step.

The first step is the Repeal Bill.

A critical piece of legislation, which ends the supremacy of EU law.

It is essential to a smooth and orderly exit.

And it helps provide the clarity which citizens and businesses have been clamouring for.

Now where MPs set out to improve this legislation, we will welcome their contribution…

But be in no doubt: this Bill is essential and we will not allow it to be wrecked.

On the negotiating front, we are aiming for a good deal.

And that is what we expect to achieve.

However, if the outcome of the negotiation falls short of the deal that Britain needs we will be ready for the alternative.

That is what a responsible Government does. Anything else would be a dereliction of duty.

So there is a determined exercise underway in Whitehall devoted to contingency arrangements so that we are ready for any outcome.

Not because it is what we seek, but because it needs to be done.

And while much of our task lies ahead, when I look at what we’ve achieved so far it should give us cause for optimism.

That we will strike that deal, and create that shared future.

Because Brexit is not a rejection of Europe, or indeed the values and ideals that are shared across our continent.

It is a decision by the British people to leave the political project.

A project which may be right for the other nations who remain there by the consent of their people.

But one that is no longer right for us.

They approach it through the prism of their own history – one that, in the past, was all too often determined by dictatorship and domination, invasion and occupation.

For them Europe symbolises democracy, liberty, modernity, the rule of law.

Our own island story follows a different path.

We had been the leading liberal democracy for over a century before we joined the common market.

And when we decided to leave the European Union we voted, not against the political project itself, but against Britain’s involvement in it.

Europe’s history will continue, and so will ours, and we will remain good friends and allies.

And for those who claim that we are not good Europeans.

Well, did you know that we spend one and half times as much on defence as the European average? That is how we stationed troops on Europe’s border in Estonia and in Poland.

I call that being a good European.

We spend over twice the European average helping the poorest people on the planet.

Including in Africa where for many, British aid acts as a ladder for people to climb out of the hands of people smugglers.

I call that being a good European.

And we are the first to help our neighbours in the fight against terror…as both our Belgian and our French colleagues found last year.

I call that being a good European.

This is more than warm words.

None of it comes for free.

If we spent only the European average on defence, on international development, on intelligence, we would spend £22 billion less a year.

And that isn’t going away. Because we choose to be good global citizens.

That’s what we mean when we say we are leaving the EU, but not leaving Europe or our shared values.

So this is our plan, and I’m incredibly lucky to have been given the team to deliver it.

The intelligence, dedication and sheer hard work of Robin Walker, Steve Baker and our Minister in the Lords Joyce Anelay.

Our excellent PPSs, Gareth Johnson and Jeremy Quinn.

And the support of our hard-working public-spirited and patriotic civil servants in Whitehall.

And on a personal point can I put on record my thanks for my two former Ministers David Jones and George Bridges.

I’d like you to join me in thanking them all.

So together, as a team, we will work to deliver the national interest.

Now if there’s one thing I don’t need to do today, it’s to remind you to believe in our country.

But if I have one message for you, it is to keep your eyes on the prize.

You will have read in the newspapers lurid accounts of the negotiations with the predictions of break down and crisis.

Offensive, indeed insulting, briefing to the newspapers, which I take as a compliment.

Of course sometimes the exchanges are tough, but that is to be expected.

The job the Prime Minister has entrusted to me is to keep a calm eye on our goal and not be diverted.

Because the prizes for success are enormous. As are the consequences of failure.

I didn’t campaign so hard in the referendum for the pleasure of negotiating with the European Commission

I did it because the future of this country is great.

And this Government is facing up to it.

Success will not be automatic, we will have to work hard for it.

We will encourage the things that we Conservatives believe in:

Hard work, Enterprise, risk-taking

Innovation, competition, self-reliance.

When we leave the EU, our successes, and yes, our failures, will be ours and ours alone.

But we are the country of William Shakespeare and Jane Austen, of Alexander Fleming and James Dyson. A super power in science, with the fairest legal system in the world.

Britain is where you come if you want to study artificial intelligence or life sciences.

And being who we are and drawing on our strengths, we can be confident that our successes will dwarf our failures.

So let us turn to face the future.

Delivering on the referendum.

Setting out a new relationship with Europe.

Pushing forward, to grasp the opportunities that lie ahead.

Looking forward, to the future we forge together.

Putting our country on the path to greatness once again.

Priti Patel – 2017 Speech at Conservative Party Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Priti Patel, the Secretary of State for International Development, at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester on 3 October 2017.

Conference, good afternoon.

Britain has always been a bold and confident nation.

We are unafraid to stand up for what we believe in.

In our history, we’ve helped to end the slave trade, defeat dictators, and champion democracy around the world.

And today, we are leading the fight to end poverty, eradicate disease and help refugees survive brutal conflicts.

Influence is about knowing what you believe in.

Having the confidence to project British values internationally.

Looking outwards not inwards and utilising our unique history and our position as a force for good.

Using British values to shape a better world and create hope and optimism for the future.

When people across the globe see UK aid supplies arriving in their village or refugee camp – proudly marked with the Union flag – they know that Britain is on their side.

Our heroic Armed Forces forces and aid experts are serving around the world, from Nigeria, to Afghanistan, to South Sudan and the hurricane relief efforts across the Caribbean.

They are providing a badge of hope to millions, shaping a better and safer world.

Each and every one of them deserves our thanks.

We all know that money spent by Ministers and civil servants does not belong to them.

It belongs to you – the very taxpayers who have worked hard for it.

As Margaret Thatcher once said: “Pennies do not come from heaven. They have to be earned here on earth.”

The public are right to be angry when they hear stories about wasted aid.

They naturally think that their Government is throwing away their hard-earned cash.

That is why under my leadership, my priority is to make sure that aid delivers value for money.

My Ministers have scrutinised every aspect of DFID’s spending

I have removed programmes which did not stand up to scrutiny.

Where partnerships weren’t working, I have ended them.

Where legitimate concerns have been raised over poor spending, I have taken action.

And where other Government Departments need to improve their aid spending, I am challenging them to raise their game and be accountable to UK taxpayers.

I am delivering close to £500 million pounds of savings.

And I have been ruthless in closing programmes that did not meet the standards I have set.

I am expanding the use of Payment by Results.

That means performance based funding.

If they don’t deliver, we won’t pay.

I am taking back control of our spending and decision-making.

Making sure we use British values to bring hope and optimism to millions across the world.

I would like to thank the Ministers who are supporting this improvement: Michael Bates, Rory Stewart and Alistair Burt.

I also want to pay tribute to James Wharton, my former Africa Minister, who until the General Election, helped to drive essential change across DFID.

He was an outstanding Minister, and I know that he’ll be back in frontline politics again.

When it comes to getting value for money, the job is not yet done.

Today, I am announcing the conclusion of a comprehensive review of DFID’s relationships with suppliers.

I am setting out tough reforms that will encourage the private sector to work with DFID and end the appalling practice of fat cats profiteering from the aid budget.

I am introducing a tough Code of Conduct, with legally enforceable sanctions for non-compliance, to root out unethical behaviour.

I‘m taking the toughest approach in Whitehall to crack down on contract costs.

I‘m cutting red tape and simplifying the bidding process to help small British firms win with DFID and create jobs up and down the UK.

On my watch I will end the crony-market where a handful of suppliers, would win contract after contract, which blocked innovation and competition.

I will always put the interests of taxpayers and the world’s poor ahead of consultants and middle-men.

I am leading global efforts to reform the way the whole world does development and aid.

Two weeks ago I announced a new regime of performance-related funding for the United Nations and its agencies.

From next year 30% of our funding will be conditional on improved results and reform.

But that’s not all.

For years the United Nations has ignored the shocking scandal of sexual abuse and the exploitation of children.

This must end.

I have told them that all future funding is subject to them implementing the highest standards of child protection; investigating all allegations; and securing prosecutions of those responsible for these crimes.

If they don’t make the grade, believe me, they won’t get the aid.

I will continue to challenge the aid system to ensure that the international rules remain relevant to our changing world.

As Hurricane Irma graphically demonstrated, they need to be flexible, so aid gets to the right place at the right time.

That equally applies to our British citizens in our British territories.

In today’s world of new threats and extremist ideologies – and I’m not just talking about Mr Corbyn – we must be bold and unapologetic in standing up for our values.

Conservatives do not talk Britain down.

We are the party that raises horizons, transforms lives and secures a better future.

We know that trade, investment and free markets provide the route out of poverty.

And as we look to support prosperity in developing countries and growth in the UK, Brexit is the opportunity to secure our place in the world.

Britain can reassert itself as a global beacon for free trade, enterprise and free markets.

Earlier this year I launched DFID’s first-ever Economic Development Strategy and set out a vision for how the private sector can boost jobs, growth and development.

My objective is clear.

I’m not here to endlessly hand out money.

I will help people and countries stand on their own two feet.

Like Mary in Ethiopia who now works full-time in the new industrial zone in Hawassa.

Thanks to DFID, she can now provide for her family.

Also millions of girls around the world are now able to go to school.

And the job of everyone working in development must be to end aid dependency.

We are offering a hand-up, not a hand-out.

That’s why I’m working with colleagues across Government to promote economic development.

In Nigeria, we are working to create real jobs and tackle the scourge of modern day slavery.

Our trade Department is creating new trading links in some of the poorest countries in the world.

I want the countries who receive aid today be our trading partners of tomorrow.

We made a clear commitment on aid in our manifesto.

We will honour it.

The money I’ve saved from closing programmes, is going on projects such as the fight against Neglected Tropical Diseases.

We will deliver over a billion treatments to fight cruel, avoidable infections such as trachoma, Guinea-worm and river blindness.

Britain is leading the way on clearing landmines globally.

And I am placing a new international emphasis on improving the lives of people with disability.

That’s not all.

Across this country there are thousands of small charities led by inspirational people, doing amazing work around the world.

But for years, they have found it impossible to access UK aid, because the aid budget supported big international charities.

That is why I’m opening up the aid budget to the Best of British charities up and down the country.

Using British values and expertise to shape a better world.

This Conservative Government is leading the way in eradicating polio from the face of the earth, forever.

And I want to pay tribute to the thousands of Rotarians across the world – and in this audience – who have led the fight against polio.

Earlier this year, the world faced the terrifying prospect of four famines.

We succeeded in getting the rest of the world to pull their weight.

It was Global Britain that raised the alarm and pushed the international community to step up and deliver a life-saving response.

That saved millions of lives, and I will continue to challenge others to do more.

Compare that with Labour’s approach to the world.

Last week, at their conference, Mr Corbyn failed to condemn North Korea for abusing human rights and flouting international rules by launching missiles.

He failed to condemn Venezuela – where the regime he has held up as a beacon for others to follow, is viciously stamping out all opposition.

He failed to condemn the terror his friends in Hamas have unleashed upon the Israeli people.

And not once did he confront or condemn his supporters who have launched a wave of anti-Semitism, bullying, and abuse against anyone who does not subscribe to their extremist views.

And as he stood in Brighton, of all places, he once again failed to apologise for standing side-by-side with the IRA terrorists who brutally murdered and maimed. Disgraceful.

Our approach is different from Labour’s, because our values are different from Labour’s.

They believe that wealth is created by governments and bureaucracies.

We believe that wealth is created by people and enterprise.

I believe in people, markets and freedom.

This is what will genuinely serve the interests of the many and not the few.

The Labour Party, despite what they say, does not stand for the many.

It stands for the vested interests and narrow dogma of the few.

Exploiting the hopes and fears of young people, only to go on and lie to them.

Celebrating the state-sponsored theft of the property held by private citizens.

And when it comes to international relations, they have just one principle.

To turn a blind eye and refuse to speak out as their socialist friends and comrades unleash violence and repression against people and communities.

Shame on them, shame on the Labour Party and shame on their vile brand of socialism.

It is our responsibility to stop them from getting anywhere near the door of Number 10.

They are not fit to represent Britain or the British people.

That is why what you do is so important.

From me, from all of my colleagues in Cabinet and Parliament, I want to say a huge thank you.

Because it’s your hard work and campaigning that made all the difference.

You delivered us the highest Conservative vote for many years – some 13.6 million people who backed us at the ballot box.

So, we know what we need to do.

We must set out the positive case for Conservative values across all areas of policy.

Explain why our ideas will create the society that we all want to see and live in.

Not just for us, for our children and for their children.

One which is open, tolerant and extends opportunity for all.

British Conservative values are my values.

And I will use them to shape a better country and a better world for all.

Thank you.

Michael Fallon – 2017 Speech at Conservative Party Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Michael Fallon, the Secretary of State for Defence, at the Conservative Party conference held in Manchester on 3 October 2017.

This week we set out plans for a Global Britain that stands up for our people and for our values.

This city needs no reminding of the threats from extremists who want to destroy our way of life.

When I became Defence Secretary, Daesh terrorists were at the gates of Baghdad, enslaving women, beheading British hostages, and throwing gay people off buildings. And when the democratic Government of Iraq appealed for help, Britain answered the call.

At our conference three years ago, I announced the first successful RAF airstrike.

As of last night there have been 1,600 airstrikes.

The Army has trained 60,000 Iraqi forces.

The Royal Navy has been guarding the United States carriers in the Gulf.

Daesh is being defeated.

The black flags have been torn down.

Three million people have been freed from its murderous rule.

So we should be very proud of the contribution of our Armed Forces to this success.

And I am delighted to tell you that a new medal will be awarded to those servicemen and women who are doing so much to fight the evil of our time.

I’m sure you’ll agree with me they deserve nothing less.

Conference, terrorism is not the only threat to our security.

Russian aggression with the highest level of submarine activity since the Cold War, thousands of troops exercising on NATO’s borders.

North Korea firing ballistic missiles over Japan.

Cyber-attacks on our national health service and on our Parliament.

So we are stepping up our response.

Today our armed forces are on operations in more than 25 countries, they’re helping to stop Afghanistan become a haven for terrorists. They’re training Ukraine’s Armed Forces to defend themselves against Russian aggression.

They’re in Nigeria helping to tackle terrorists and they’re supporting United Nations peacekeeping in Somalia and South Sudan and we are leading in NATO – our Army deploying in Estonia and Poland; RAF Typhoons protecting the Black Sea skies; and the Royal Navy leading NATO’s maritime task groups.

And our Armed Forces are also ready for anything.

Look at our response to the most powerful hurricane ever to hit the Caribbean.

RFA Mounts Bay was already on station to provide immediate assistance – helping our people, the people of the British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Turks and Caicos.

Within a week we had deployed 600 service personnel, 3 helicopters, and one Foreign Secretary. We even flew French supplies from Normandy to Guadalupe.

From Asia Pacific, to the Middle East, to Europe we are deepening our defence ties with allies and partners. And we have no greater ally, Conference, than the United States.

In Defence Secretary Jim Mattis we have a true friend of our nation with whom I work closely with on Russia, on North Korea, and on the campaign against Daesh. And here at home our Armed Forces are patrolling our skies and seas, every hour of every day.

Every one of them deserves our gratitude.

Conference, there is no better statement to the world of our ambition for Britain than our two new aircraft carriers. Weighing 65,000 tonnes, they each provide four acres of sovereign territory, deployable around the globe, to serve on operations for the next 50 years.

Made in Britain, built in six ship yards, assembled in Scotland, they are a tribute to British engineering, British technology, British skills – the pride of our nation.

And yes, there will be fighter planes on them.

We already have 12 F35 jets with 120 pilots and ground crew training up in the United States, before the first Squadron arrives at RAF Marham next summer.

And what does Jeremy Corbyn have to say in response?

He’s asked “why do we have to be able to have planes, transport aircraft, aircraft carriers, and everything else to get anywhere in the world?”

Well, you don’t get very far without them. He wants to slash defence spending.

He wouldn’t authorise drone strikes on terrorists. He would abandon our NATO allies.

We must never put the security of our country in the hands of a man whose warped worldview puts him side of those who threaten us. We are backing up our ambition with the fifth biggest defence budget in the world.

A budget that our manifesto committed to increasing by at least half a per cent above inflation in every year of this parliament. Of course you’ll always find retired Admirals or Generals who like more.

What matters isn’t just numbers: it’s power: stronger, smarter defence. We’re now investing £18 billion a year – by the way that really is £350m a week. In the last three years we’ve started building seven new ships and submarines for the Royal Navy. Now I want to see more of our ships out there patrolling the seven seas.

So today, Conference, I am announcing £800 million of support contracts that will produce faster turnaround and improve the availability of the Royal Navy’s world class warships. The Army is getting new attack helicopters, and new armoured vehicles built in Wales.

For the RAF, 16 new transport aircraft have joined our fleet, and 9 maritime patrol aircraft will start arriving in Lossiemouth. Under Theresa May’s leadership, we are also renewing our nuclear deterrent, building four Dreadnought class submarines.

North Korea’s illegal testing underlines just how irresponsible it would be to scrap the deterrent that protects us. It is all very well Jeremy Corbyn saying he would never use nuclear weapons but Manchester and London are closer to Pyongyang than Los Angeles. Being prepared, in the most extreme circumstances, to use nuclear weapons is what separates a Prime Minister from a pacifist.

As we grow our defence budget we must continue to modernise the way we work.

To modernise how we equip our Armed Forces, everything from ration packs to medical kit, will save £600m.

Improving how we run our test and training sites will deliver £300M of further savings.

And as those threats intensify we are now looking across government to make sure we are doing enough, spending enough, to properly protect our country against all of them – cyber, hybrid warfare, rogue states, terrorist attacks.

Spending 2 % of GDP on defence is the minimum NATO commitment. We meet it but we should aim to do better still.

One of the privileges as Defence Secretary is meeting the outstanding people who make up our Armed Forces. Many of them started as cadets. This morning I visited Albion Academy in Salford, one of 150 new cadet units we have already set up. They are instilling values of resolve and service, discipline and loyalty – from which we can all learn.

So today I am announcing the creation of a further 30 new cadet units in state schools.

I also want to attract more ethnic minority and female recruits.

I set a target for 10 per cent of recruits in future to come from a black, Asian, or minority ethnic background by 2020 – seven per cent now do.

They’re joining some who have already reached the ranks of Brigadier, Commodore, and Air Commodore. We are also on track to meet our target that 15% of new recruits should be female – but I want to do even better.

So I’m opening up every single role in our Armed Forces to women so that talent, not gender, determines how far you can go.

And I will expect the next Chief of the Defence Staff – he or she… – to champion more diversity in the leadership of our Armed Forces.

I will also lead a new Ministerial Covenant and Veterans Board to look after our servicemen and women better when they leave. Often the worst scars are the ones we can’t see, so we will deliver mental health services better tailored for veterans.

Conference, I’m tackling other injustices too

Thanks to our evidence, thousands of false legal claims against our Armed Forces have been dismissed, the solicitor involved has been struck off, and I’ve shut down the Iraq Historic Allegations Tribunal.

And I am working with James Brokenshire to make sure that investigations into killings during the Troubles focus on terrorists, not those who protected our people.

And I will ensure that our former servicemen are fully supported throughout.

Conference, under this government we will go on increasing defence spending. Our magnificent armed forces will keep us safe.

But as citizens of a truly Global Britain we have a wider, deeper responsibility.

We must defend our values too.

Britain, this great country, stands as a beacon to the world for our commitment to freedom, democracy, tolerance, and the rule of law.

We face terrorism and aggression from those who hate not because those values are losing but because they are winning – values that have lifted millions around the globe out of oppression and poverty.

With the fifth biggest defence budget in the world, we have the means. So we must always be ready to answer the call from further away, from fragile democracies, from the very poorest, from the hardest hit.

That means deploying our ships, our planes, and yes, our troops on the ground where we and our allies are asked to help.

Standing up for what we believe in – that is Global Britain.

Boris Johnson – 2017 Speech at Conservative Party Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester on 3 October 2017.

Good afternoon.

As our hearts go out to Las Vegas today we are reminded once again of the attack that took place here only a few months ago, on innocent and music-loving young people. And if there is a message to our American friends it is this: that they will come through it and they will come back from it stronger.

Because this city has shown that nothing and no one can bow the indomitable spirit of the people of Manchester, which in recent years has reinvented itself as the great thrumming engine of the northern powerhouse.

With its vast potential to generate jobs in finance, in academia, in journalism and the arts – and that’s just the ones held by George Osborne.

And since our subject this afternoon is how to win the future and build Global Britain I want to introduce our superb foreign office team.

Our PPSs Conor Burns and Amanda Milling and our whip David Evenett.

And our ministers : covering the Middle East – already one of the most expert parliamentarians in that field – Alistair Burt, and covering Africa Rory Stewart.

Like the pharaohs of upper and lower Egypt they are double hatted ministers in the sense that they simultaneously represent the FCO and DFID – bringing together our foreign policy with our aid programmes.

In the Lords we have Tariq Ahmad, who is working on ensuring that next year in London we make the most of an institution that takes 2.4 billion people and 52 of some of the fastest growing economies in the world and unites them in admiration of the service provided by Her Majesty the Queen – the Commonwealth.

And we will have a summit to do her justice.

And just back from Burma – making clear this country’s disgust at the treatment of the Rohingya – Mark Field.

And dynamically triangulating between Europe and America decoding President Trump for President Juncker and vice versa.

We have that Mount Rushmore of wisdom Sir Alan Duncan.

We have a great team and we are getting on with the job and yet frankly, folks, as I absorb the general tone of the national conversation I don’t think I have ever known so many to be sunk in gloom and dubitation about Britain and the world.

Every week I pick up British-edited international magazines, of the kind that you will find in the briefcases of jet setting consultants.

Glossy-covered, elegantly written, suspiciously unread.

And every week these publications have found new reasons to be slightly less than cheerful about this country.

Every day a distinguished pink newspaper manages to make Eeyore look positively exuberant and across the world the impression is being given that this country is not up to it. That we are going to bottle out of Brexit and end up in some dingy ante-room of the EU, pathetically waiting for the scraps but no longer in control of the menu.

And the most pessimistic of them all is not the media or our friends in the EU commission or the excitable M Guy Verhofstadt – far from it – it’s Jeremy Corbyn.

That Nato bashing, trident scrapping, would-be abolisher of the British army whose first instinct in the event of almost any international outrage or disaster is to upend the analysis until he can find a way of blaming British foreign policy.

And whose response to the grisly events in Venezuela is to side with the regime – simply because they are fellow lefties.

He says he still admires Bolivarian revolutionary socialism.

I say he’s Caracas.

At a time when the world should unite to condemn Venezuela’s Maduro, we have the leader of Britain’s official opposition giving cover to a government that is jailing opponents, shooting demonstrators, intimidating journalists and repressing human rights.

It is a disgrace – and I can tell you there are many Labour MPs who feel appalled that their party is still led by this man and his peculiar belief – expressed in glutinous victory-style Chavista rallies up and down the country – that he somehow won the election.

He didn’t win.

You won – we won.

Theresa May won.

She won more votes than any party leader and took this party to its highest share of the vote in any election in the last 25 years and the whole country owes her a debt for her steadfastness in taking Britain forward as she will to a great Brexit deal.

Based on that Florence speech on whose every syllable, I can tell you the whole cabinet is united.

Of all the areas where Corbyn is content to talk this country down, there is none more ludicrous and vacillating than his policy on Brexit.

In the customs union one week, out the next, in the single market, out the next.

In out, in out.

Faster than one of those members of the shadow cabinet who gets sacked before she knows she has even been appointed.

A kind of manifestation of Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle.

It would be disastrous.

And in leaving Britain in this limbo – locked in the orbit of the EU but unable to take back control. Unable to do proper free trade deals.

Labour would inflict a national humiliation on a par with going cap in hand to the IMF.

And yes, I know: in making these sorts of points we come up against a difficulty we must accept that when we talk about the 1970s we imagine people instantly understand about power cuts, the three day week, union bosses back in Downing Street, state-made-British rail sandwiches.

We think they get the reference but unfortunately going back to the 1970s sounds to too many people like a massive joint revival concert by David Bowie, Led Zep and the Rolling Stones.

And that is because people can remember the Stones and Bowie and Led Zep, monuments of global culture but they have totally forgotten that those bands, along with so many other wealth creators were driven overseas by Labour’s 83 per cent tax rate.

They have forgotten that the problem used to be the brain drain, not people wanting to hear.

They have forgotten that we had to fight and win battles of ideas and in a way that is entirely understandable – because our victory has been so comprehensive.

If you listen to the aspirations of the young people I meet around the world, you will find there is not a single successful global economy that would dream of implementing the semi-Marxist agenda of McDonnell and Corbyn of nationalisation and state control.

And wherever you find enterprise and initiative and start-ups and innovation and economic growth it is where people have followed ideas that were pioneered by our party and by our country- and in this city of Manchester –

From India,

to China,

to Vietnam,

to Thailand,

Where free markets and deregulation and privatisation have helped lift more people out of poverty than ever in history.

To the central and east European economies that this party – and not the Labour party – helped on the path to freedom and democracy.

You see it in Estonia, tech hub with a high degree of social protection – where they have a flat tax of 20 per cent.

In Romania they have a flat tax of 16 per cent and free health and education AND higher education.

In Hungary they have a tax rate of 15 per cent – 15 per cent?

We are all tax-cutting Tories but even I think that is going a bit far. And yet how crazy it is that a quarter of a century after the working people of these former Soviet bloc countries risked their lives to throw off the shackles of socialism – while the Labour left sneered at them and made excuses for their oppressors -the shadow leader and shadow chancellor are seriously proposing to put place the British people back in bondage – a £200bn renationalisation programme. A display of economic masochism that would do incalculable damage to the future of our children.

That’s the difference between this Conservative party and the Labour party.

We want a country with a government that works for everyone.

Corbyn wants a Britain where everyone works for the government.

This battle of ideas is not lost in memories of the 1970s.

It is back from the grave.

Its zombie fingers straining for the levers of power and that is why we cannot rest.

We may have the most illustrious battle honours of any political party but now we have to win the battle for the future and the way to win the future is not to attack the market economy, not to junk our gains but to make it work better – make it work better for the low paid – turning the living wage under this Conservative government into a national living wage.

Make it work for all those who worry their kids will never find a home to own – building 100s of 1000s of homes.

Make it work better for parents who can’t find good enough childcare – with 30 hours free care for 3 and 4 year olds.

And above all help people who are struggling, by driving benefit reforms that have helped millions back into the dignity and self-esteem that goes with having a job and which has seen inequality fall – as the Chancellor pointed out yesterday – to the lowest levels for 3 decades.

And to win the future we must communicate once again the central idea,

Our one nation conservatism that, for all its faults, an open free-trading and thriving market economy is the only sustainable way to create the wealth we will always need to help the poorest.

The surest way to finance the platform of great public services and great infrastructure that themselves enable business to succeed.

And the only way to win the future is not to retreat from the world, not to abandon globalisation but to play our part, as we always have, in making the world safer and freer – and therefore more prosperous and that is why we must believe in global Britain. Not dismiss the very notion of a world role – as Corbyn does but accentuate and be proud of that role.

There are places where it is simply our moral duty to British passport holders, like the overseas territories in the Caribbean where those islands have been overwhelmed by the biggest catastrophe for 150 years.

It is an eerie scene.

Not a leaf remaining on the shattered trees.

Houses turned into streaks of wooden and plastic litter.

Boats hurled on top of one another or lodged absurdly up hillsides.

Of all the disasters in my lifetime, none has overturned the lives of so many UK nationals and yet we should pay tribute to the indomitable spirit of those islanders and together with Priti Patel and Michael Fallon the government will work to put them back on their feet.

And still our responsibilities go wider.

When we protect the world we protect British interests as well.

When we campaign for the stability of the south china seas, that is because through the narrow pulsing jugular of the Malacca straits – only 1.7 miles wide – goes fully 25 per cent of world trade including huge quantities of British goods.

Across the Middle East and North Africa we are helping to bring peace and defeat terrorism.

Not just because that is right in itself but because these will be the great markets of the coming century.

Just in the last few weeks I have seen British troops training the Nigerian forces to defeat the numbskulls of boko haram around Maiduguri – where British doctors are tending the maimed victims of terror and as our helicopter swooped over the burned and deserted villages they said there was a risk of pot-shots from behind, and I said it was an occupational hazard in my line of work.

And every week, with UK help, the brave Nigerian forces are winning but you can’t just tackle the problem in Nigeria. Those terrorists’ AK47s are being smuggled down through the desert from the chaos of Libya and in Tripoli I have seen the charred ruins of our embassy – the smashed snooker table and the room where Tony Blair once held a banquet.

But I was proud to run that Union Jack back up the flagpole and that embassy is being be rebuilt.

And if we in the UK can help solve the problems of Libya – and we are making progress – then that country can also win a great a future.

And until we sort it out you will find British ships off the Libyan coast, helping our Italian friends to cope with illegal migration.

And that is what I mean by Global Britain, committed as team players and where necessary as leaders to the protection of the world and our common European home.

I have seen the 800 British troops in Estonia and congratulated them on resisting the honey traps allegedly placed in their way by Russian intelligence. At least they said they had resisted. They are a visible and powerful symbol of this country’s unconditional commitment to defend the boundaries of Europe and the incredible freedoms we won in the 1980s and 1990s.

And I can’t tell you how much our friends value Britain’s contribution, in Europe and around the world because we have reached a unique phase in our history.

We are big enough to do amazing things.

We have the ability to project force 7000 miles, to use our permanent membership of the UN sec council to mobilise a collective response to the crisis in North Korea.

We contribute 25 per cent of European aid spending and yet no one seriously complains that we have a sinister national agenda and that is why the phrase global Britain makes sense because if you said Global China or global Russia or even alas Global America it would not have quite the same flavour.

I am not saying that everyone automatically loves us or that everyone completely follows our sense of humour, though a lot more than you might think. But there is a huge desire out there for us to engage with the world more emphatically than ever before.

And after Brexit that is what our partners are going to get as this country is freed from endlessly trying to block things in Brussels committee rooms. Freed to stop being negative and to start being positive about what we believe in – including free trade.

And yes we are leaving the EU – but as the PM has said in her Florence speech we can create a deep and special partnership built on free trade with a strong EU buttressed and supported by a strong UK.

And since it is manifestly absurd to argue that European values or culture or civilisation are somehow defined or delimited by the institutions of the EU, we will be no less European.

Britain will continue to be European in culture, geography, history, architecture, spiritually, morally, you name it.

We are one of the great quintessential European nations. In many ways the most influential of all and that is because our most important exports are our values. British values. Embodied in this amazing metropolis of Manchester as they are in London and across the country.

A society that welcomes talent. That welcomed my ancestors from France, Russia, Turkey and heaven knows where. That is proud of the EU and other nationals that want to come here and that have enriched our lives. A society that does not judge you for where you come from or your background or how you live your life provided you do no harm to others that is the syncretic genius of our country.

And it is thanks to that intellectual cross-fertilisation that Britain is at the cutting edge of new markets and new technology. Think back to how we have changed the world just in our lifetimes, and then imagine what we will have done in 40 years time, your lifetime – William Hague’s lifetime.

We are going to crack global warming, with British clean technology and British green finance – in which we lead the world.

We will get to a point where we generate as much clean energy as we want and eventually we will stabilise our world populations and raise per capita GDP above all by promoting female education – which is at the heart of all British overseas policy – and we should be proud of the young women and girls that we are helping to teach, in Africa, in South Asia – 6 m of them in the Pakistani Punjab alone.

And if we can drive on that great cause of female empowerment and education, the Swiss army knife that solves so many problems, then I believe we will eventually find a cure for the psychological contamination of radical Islamist extremism. Just as we have eradicated smallpox and polio.

It came and it will go.

And we will have problems – of course we will have problems.

Humanity will always have its afflictions in mind or body because without pain and doubt and anxiety there can be no pleasure and no triumph and no success.

But success will be achieved not by allowing the UK to retreat from our global role but by reinforcing that role and breakthroughs will come not through the edict of some bureaucrat in some Corbynist ministry of plenty but through the effort of inventors, scientists, business people, students and dreamers of whom we have so many.

And to all those who are worried about the UK today, let me remind you that it was only eight years ago that we stood on the verge of the nastiest recession for 70 years and I remember being taken up on to the roof of City hall – which I then ran – by a female American TV journalist and she said Mr mayor – look around you – no one is building anything and the irritating thing was she was right; the cranes were gone from the skyline; confidence had deserted us.

Well look at London today, storming ahead – even if the new mayor isn’t a patch on the last guy.

He seems to spend his time trying rather ineffectually to ban things.

Why not try doing something for a change?

And look at the UK – with the lowest unemployment rate for 42 years.

The highest number of people in work ever, the number one destination for investment into Europe and every time one of these facts emerges it is reported in tones of slight disapproval, and with the inevitable qualification – despite Brexit.

It is time to stop treating the referendum result as though it were a plague of boils or a murrain on our cattle or an inexplicable aberration by 17.4 m people. It is time to be bold, and to seize the opportunities and there is no country better placed than Britain.

Which is not only the place where the atom was first split but has become a gigantic cyclotron of talent in which people are coming together from every discipline to produce constant flashes of inspiration and indeed we are the global capital of innovation we export more TV programmes than any other country in Europe – five times more than the French.

We export a programme to Cambodia called Neak Neng Klay Chea Sethey, which means who wants to be a millionaire. And it is thanks to the triumph of conservative values you are allowed to become a millionaire in Cambodia without being despatched for re-education by some Asiatic John McDonnell

We lead the world in bioscience and fintech and some branches of AI and cybernetics – and what is Labour’s first instinct on hearing the news? Tax robots! and then make them join the union.

Did Manchester become great by taxing the spinning jenny?

We have a growing space programme run by my brother Jo Johnson and I have a candidate for the first man we gently blast into orbit and that is the superannuated space cadet from Islington and I know he has an innocent and voletrousered air but his domestic policies would rack up unfair debts for our children and grandchildren and his foreign policies would imperil not just this country but our friends and neighbours as well.

Conference we cannot allow it to happen.

200 years ago people used to come to this city to see something revolutionary – the beginning of the modern world and once again this country has had the guts to try to do something new and different to challenge received wisdom with a democratic revolution that we can turn into a cultural and technological and commercial renaissance.

There are people say we can’t do it.

We say we can.

We can win the future because we are the party that believes in this country and we believe in the potential of the British people. We have been privileged collectively to be placed in charge of this amazing country at a critical moment in our history.

We are not the lion.

We do not claim to be the lion.

That role is played by the people of this country. But it is up to us now – in the traditional non-threatening, genial and self-deprecating way of the British – to let that lion roar.

Theresa May – 2017 Speech at Conservative Party Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Theresa May, the Prime Minister, at the Conservative Party conference held on 4 October 2017 in Manchester.

A little over forty years ago in a small village in Oxfordshire, I signed up to be a member of the Conservative Party.

I did it because it was the party that had the ideas to build a better Britain. It understood the hard work and discipline necessary to see them through.

And it had at its heart a simple promise that spoke to me, my values and my aspirations: that each new generation in our country should be able to build a better future. That each generation should live the British Dream.

And that dream is what I believe in.

But what the General Election earlier this year showed is that, forty years later, for too many people in our country that dream feels distant, our party’s ability to deliver it is in question, and the British Dream that has inspired generations of Britons feels increasingly out of reach.

Now I called that election. And I know that all of you in this hall – your friends and your families – worked day and night to secure the right result.

Because of your hard work we got 2.3 million more votes and achieved our highest vote share in 34 years. That simply would not have been possible without the long days and late nights, the phone calls, the leaflet drops. The weekends and evenings spent knocking on doors.

So for everything that you do, let me say – thank you.

But we did not get the victory we wanted because our national campaign fell short.

It was too scripted. Too presidential. And it allowed the Labour Party to paint us as the voice of continuity, when the public wanted to hear a message of change.

I hold my hands up for that. I take responsibility. I led the campaign.

And I am sorry.


But the choice before us now is clear:

Do we give up, spend our time looking back? Or do we do our duty, look to the future and give the country the government it needs?

This country will judge us harshly if we get this decision wrong.

Because all that should ever drive us is the duty we have to Britain and the historic mission of this party – this Conservative Party – to renew the British Dream in each new generation.

That dream that says each generation should do better than the one before it.

Each era should be better than the last.

The dream that, for decades, has inspired people from around the world to come to Britain. To make their home in Britain. To build their lives in Britain.

The dream that means the son of a bus driver from Pakistan serves in a Conservative Cabinet alongside the son of a single mother from a council estate in South-West London.

And in a way, that dream is my story too.

I know that people think I’m not very emotional. I’m not the kind of person who wears their heart on their sleeve. And I don’t mind being called things like the Ice Maiden – though perhaps George Osborne took the analogy a little far. But let me tell you something.

My grandmother was a domestic servant, who worked as a lady’s maid below stairs. She worked hard and made sacrifices, because she believed in a better future for her family. And that servant – that lady’s maid – among her grandchildren boasts three professors and a prime minister.

That is why the British Dream inspires me. Why that dream of progress between the generations spurs me on. And it is why today at this conference, this Conservative Party must pledge to renew the British Dream in this country once again.


To renew that dream is my purpose in politics. My reason for being. The thing that drives me on.

And it has never wavered through good times and hard times. My belief that this Conservative government can renew it has always remained strong.

For whenever we are tested as a nation, this party steps up to the plate. Seven years ago, our challenge was to repair the damage of Labour’s great recession – and we did it. The deficit is down. Spending is under control. And our economy is growing again.

But we didn’t limit ourselves to that ambition. We have achieved so much more.

An income tax cut for over 30 million people.

Four million taken out of paying it at all.

Employment up to a record high.

Unemployment down to a historic low.

Income inequality at its lowest for thirty years.

More women in work than ever before.

Over 11,000 more doctors in our NHS.

Over 11,000 more nurses on our hospital wards.

Free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds doubled.

1.8 million more children in good or outstanding schools.

3 million more apprenticeships.

Crime down by more than a third.

More young people from disadvantaged backgrounds going to university than at any time in the history of our country.

Britain leading the world in tackling climate change, eradicating global poverty, and countering terrorism wherever it rears its head.

Same sex marriage on the statute book, so that two people who love each other can get married, no matter what their gender…

And a National Living Wage – giving a pay rise to the lowest earners – introduced not by the Labour Party, but by us, the Conservative Party.

So let us never allow the Left to pretend they have a monopoly on compassion.

This is the good a Conservative Government can do – and we should never let anyone forget it.


But it’s easy when you’ve been in government for a while to fall into the trap of defending your record, and standing for the status quo.

Yes, we’re proud of the progress we have made, but the world doesn’t stand still.

Change, as Disraeli taught us, is constant and inevitable. And we must bend it to our will. That means staking out an agenda for Britain – and uniting behind it too. And the agenda that I laid out on day one as prime minister still holds. It burns inside me just the same.

Because at its core, it’s about sweeping away injustice – the barriers that mean for some the British Dream is increasingly out of reach.

About saying what matters is not where you are from or who your parents are.

The colour of your skin. Whether you’re a man or a woman, rich or poor. From the inner city or an affluent suburb.

How far you go in life should depend on you and your hard work.

That is why I have always taken on vested interests when they are working against the interests of the people. Called out those who abuse their positions of power and given a voice to those who have been ignored or silenced for too long.

And when people ask me why I put myself through it – the long hours, the pressure, the criticism and insults that inevitably go with the job – I tell them this: I do it to root out injustice and to give everyone in our country a voice.

That’s why when I reflect on my time in politics, the things that make me proud are not the positions I have held, the world leaders I have met, the great global gatherings to which I have been, but knowing that I made a difference. That I helped those who couldn’t be heard.

Like the families of the 96 men, women and children who tragically lost their lives at Hillsborough. For years they saw people in authority closing ranks and acting against them, but now they are on the way to seeing justice served.

That’s what I’m in this for.

Like the victims and survivors of Child Sexual Abuse, ignored for years by people in positions of power, now on the long road to the truth.

That’s what I’m in this for.

Like Alexander Paul, a young man who came to this conference three years ago to tell his story. The story of a young black boy growing up in modern Britain who without causing any trouble – without doing anything wrong – found himself being stopped and searched by people in authority time and time and time again.

Alexander spoke so eloquently about his experience and how he came to mistrust those in positions of power as a result. So inspired by his example, we took action. We shook up the system, and the number of black people being stopped and searched has fallen by over two thirds. I am sad to have to tell you that last year, Alexander – who inspired us all with his passion – was diagnosed with brain cancer. And in June of this year he tragically passed away. He was just 21. Let us today remember the courage he showed in coming to our conference to speak out against injustice, take pride that we gave him a platform – and inspired by his example, redouble our efforts to give a voice to the voiceless at every opportunity.

That’s what I’m in this for.

And that same commitment is the reason why one of my first acts as Prime Minister was to establish the ground-breaking racial disparity audit – investigating how a person’s race affects their treatment by public services, so that we can take action and respond.

We already know, for example, that members of Black and Minority Ethnic communities have a higher risk of illnesses such as high blood pressure that may lead to the need for an organ transplant.

But our ability to help people who need transplants is limited by the number of organ donors that come forward. That is why last year 500 people died because a suitable organ was not available. And there are 6,500 on the transplant list today. So to address this challenge that affects all communities in our country, we will change that system. Shifting the balance of presumption in favour of organ donation. Working on behalf of the most vulnerable.

That’s what I’m in this for.

It’s why after seeing the unimaginable tragedy unfold at Grenfell Tower, I was determined that we should get to the truth.

Because Grenfell should never have happened – and should never be allowed to happen again.

So we must learn the lessons: understanding not just what went wrong but why the voice of the people of Grenfell had been ignored over so many years.

That’s what the public inquiry will do. And where any individual or organisation is found to have acted negligently, justice must be done.

That’s what I’m in this for.

And because in this – as in other disasters before it – bereaved and grieving families do not get the support they need, we will introduce an independent public advocate for major disasters.

An advocate to act on behalf of bereaved families to support them at public inquests and inquiries. The strong independent voice that victims need.

That’s what I’m in this for.

It’s why tackling the injustice and stigma associated with mental health is a particular priority for me. So we are building on our record of giving mental and physical health parity in law by investing more in mental health than ever before. But there is widespread concern that the existing Mental Health legislation passed more three decades ago is leading to shortfalls in services and is open to misuse. Detention rates under the Mental Health Act are too high. And it is people from black and minority ethnic populations who are affected the most. So today I can announce that I have asked Professor Sir Simon Wessely to undertake an independent review of the Mental Health Act, so that we can tackle the longstanding injustices of discrimination in our mental health system once and for all.

That’s what I’m in this for.

This is the Conservatism I believe in. A Conservatism of fairness and justice and opportunity for all. A Conservatism that keeps the British Dream alive for a new generation.

That’s what I’m in this for.

That’s what we must all be in this for.


And we must come together to fight for this mainstream Conservative agenda. To win the battle of ideas in a new generation all over again. For those ideas are being tested. And at stake are the very things we value.

Our precious union of nations – four nations that are stronger as one – threatened by those with their narrow, nationalist agendas that seek to drive us apart.

The strength of our society, in which we understand the obligations and responsibilities we have to one another, under attack from militant forces who preach animosity and hate. The free-market economy – for so long the basis of our prosperity and security. An idea that has lifted millions around the world out of poverty – called into question by those who would imperil our future by adopting the failed experiments of the past.

That idea of free and open markets, operating under the right rules and regulations, is precious to us.

It’s the means by which we generate our prosperity as a nation, and improve the living standards of all our people.

It has helped to cement Britain’s influence as a force for good in the world.

It has underpinned the rules-based international system that helped rebuild post-war Europe and the world beyond.

It has ushered in the fall of the Berlin Wall; the end of communism, and the dark days of the Iron Curtain; securing the advance of freedom across Europe and across the world.

It has inspired 70 years of prosperity, raising living standards for hundreds of millions of people right across the globe.

So don’t try and tell me that free markets are no longer fit for purpose. That somehow they’re holding people back.

Don’t try and tell me that the innovations they have encouraged – the advances they have brought – the mobile phone, the internet, pioneering medical treatments, the ability to travel freely across the world – are worth nothing.

The free market – and the values of freedom, equality, rights, responsibilities, and the rule of law that lie at its heart – remains the greatest agent of collective human progress ever created.

So let us win this argument for a new generation and defend free and open markets with all our might.


Because there has rarely been a time when the choice of futures for Britain is so stark. The difference between the parties so clear.

And it’s the Conservative Party that has a vision of an open, global, self-confident Britain, while our opponents flirt with a foreign policy of neutrality and prepare for a run on the pound.

Some people say we’ve spent too much time talking about Jeremy Corbyn’s past.

So let’s talk about his present instead.

This is a politician who wants to pile on taxes to business just when we need them to invest in our country the most. This is a politician who wants to borrow hundreds of billions of pounds to nationalise industries without the slightest idea of how much it will cost or how he will ever pay it back.

This is a politician who wants to strip us of our nuclear deterrent, without being honest with voters about his plans.

This is a politician who lets anti-Semitism, misogyny and hatred run free, while he doesn’t do a thing to stop it.

This is a politician who thinks we should take the economics of Venezuela as our role-model.

No… Jeremy Corbyn.

By contrast, when I look around the cabinet table, I have confidence that we have a team full of talent, drive and compassion. A team that is determined that this party – this great Conservative Party – will tackle the challenges of the future together.

A team that is determined we will always do our duty by our country.


And our first and most important duty is to get Brexit right. The people have decided. We have taken their instruction.

Britain is leaving the European Union in March 2019.

I know some find the negotiations frustrating.

But if we approach them in the right spirit – in a spirit of cooperation and friendship, with our sights set firmly on the future – I am confident we will find a deal that works for Britain and Europe too. And let’s be clear about the agreement we seek.

It’s the agreement I set out earlier this year at Lancaster House and again in my speech in Florence ten days ago.

It’s a new deep and special partnership between a strong, successful European Union and a sovereign United Kingdom. A partnership that allows us to continue to trade and cooperate with each other, because we see shared challenges and opportunities ahead. But a partnership that ensures the United Kingdom is a sovereign nation once again. A country in which the British people are firmly in control.

I believe it is profoundly in all our interests for the negotiations to succeed. But I know that are some are worried whether we are prepared in the event that they do not. It is our responsibility as a government to prepare for every eventuality. And let me reassure everyone in this hall – that is exactly what we are doing.

So a deep and special partnership is our ambition and our offer. And I look forward to that offer receiving a positive response.

And let me say one more thing – because it cannot be said often enough.

If you are a citizen of the EU who has made their life in this country, I know you will feel unsettled and nervous. But let me be clear that we value the contribution you make to the life of our country. You are welcome here.

And I urge the negotiating teams to reach agreement on this quickly because we want you to stay.


Whatever the outcome of our negotiations, Britain’s long-term future is bright.

The British Dream is still within reach.

For as we look to that future, we do so with the fundamentals of our country strong.

Ten years after Northern Rock, our economy is back on track. The deficit is back to pre-crisis levels, we are firmly on course to get our national debt falling and business investment is growing.

The work to get there hasn’t been easy. It’s meant big decisions and huge sacrifices. I know the public sector has had to carry a heavy burden. The private sector has played its part too.

But with government, businesses and the public sector working together, we have bounced back – creating record numbers of jobs, and getting more people into work than ever before.

So while we will never hesitate to act where businesses aren’t operating as they should, let this party celebrate the wealth creators, the risk takers, the innovators and entrepreneurs – the businesses large and small – who generate jobs and prosperity for our country, and make British business the envy of the world.

Because we understand that it is the wealth creators whose taxes fuel our public services. It is their success that funds the things we want to do.

And the difference between us and Labour is that we understand that to deliver the things we want, private enterprise is crucial. That you can’t get something for nothing. Prosperity is key.

And when politicians offer the earth but have no means of delivering their promises, disillusionment with politics only grows.

So over the years ahead this government will adopt a balanced approach to the economy – dealing with our debts, keeping taxes low, but investing in our priorities too.

Things like our vital public services, our schools, our police, housing, and our great national achievement, our NHS.

Let us not forget that it is this party that has invested in the National Health Service and upheld its founding principles through more years in government than any other.

For we understand that the NHS doesn’t just bring us into this world, make us well if we fall ill, and nurse and care for our families through their final hours. It doesn’t just bear witness to moments of joy and to times of intense sorrow.

It is the very essence of solidarity in our United Kingdom. An institution we value. A symbol of our commitment to each other, between young and old, those who have and those who do not, the healthy and the sick.

Like most people in this hall, it has been there for me when I have needed it. I have early childhood memories of visiting my family GP. More recently, it was the NHS that diagnosed my type 1 diabetes and taught me how to manage it so I could get on with my life.

And in recent months, I have seen it at its most brilliant – in the world-class response shown by the doctors, nurses and paramedics when terrorists struck London and Manchester.

To them all – and indeed to the public servants everywhere who so often go unsung – let me say this: for your service, your hard work and for your dedication – thank you.

So I rely on the NHS. I believe in the NHS.

And because we believe in ensuring that a world class NHS will be there for generations to come, we will increase funding per head for every year of this parliament, we will oversee the biggest expansion in training for doctors and nurses, and we will always support the service to deliver safe, high quality care for all – free at the point of use.

That’s what our balanced approach to the economy will help us to do.


With our economic foundation strong – and economic confidence restored – the time has come to focus on Britain’s next big economic challenge: to foster growth that works for everyone, right across our country.

That means keeping taxes low, spreading prosperity to all corners of this United Kingdom, and getting out into the world to trade, export and help our economy grow.

So as the world’s leading advocate for free markets and free trade, we will pursue new free trade agreements with countries around the world. As we roll out our modern industrial strategy, we will attract and invest in new high-paid, high-skilled jobs – spreading prosperity and opportunity to every part of this country. Tackling our economy’s weaknesses like low levels of productivity, backing our nation’s strengths, and bringing investment, jobs and opportunities to communities that feel they have been forgotten for far too long.

We will continue to reform education and skills training so that people growing up in Britain today are ready and able to seize the opportunities ahead.

Starting in our schools – those great drivers of social mobility – where our record is strong and our legacy is proud. Because our reforms are working.

And after years of stagnation under the last Labour Government, we are turning things around. But there is more to do. Our reform programme goes on. Because it’s simply not good enough that if you live here in the North, you have less chance of attending a good school than someone living in the South.

So we will extend the Free Schools programme for a new generation of young people – building 100 new Free Schools in every year of this Parliament. Not because our ideology says so… but because Free Schools work. And it’s the right thing to do.

And we need to bring that same energy to skills training too. Preparing our young people for the world of the future. Setting them up to succeed. Taking skills seriously with new T-levels for post-16 education, a new generation of Technology Institutes in every major city in England – providing the skills local employers need, and more technical training for 16-19 year olds. A first-class technical education system for the first time in the history of Britain. Keeping the British Dream alive.


That’s how we will prepare Britain for an open, global future. I know that some young people worry that Brexit means we’re turning our back on the world.

That Britain will no longer be open, but closed. But we reject both the isolationism of the hard-left and those who would have us turn inward, and we choose a global Britain instead.

As Asia booms and the world looks to the East, we will reach beyond the borders of Europe to become a trusted friend to nations all around the world.

We will meet our commitments to international security, with the finest armed forces and intelligence services anywhere on the planet.

We will build an outward looking Britain that cooperates with other nations to tackle the great challenges of our time like mass migration, modern slavery and climate change.

And we will provide a moral lead in the world, and set an example for others.

Meeting our commitments on security: committing fully to the NATO alliance and spending 2% of our GDP on defence.

Remaining firmly committed to renewing our independent nuclear deterrent, to help uphold the security of the world. And leading the world in cracking down on modern slavery – because if you are buying and selling another human being, you are undermining all that is right. The very basis of our humanity.

And we must bring this outrage to an end.

And under this government, we will continue to meet the international aid target, spending 0.7% of our GNI on international development.

That’s not just because it’s good for Britain, but because it is the right thing to do.

Today, UK Aid is being used to bring food to starving children in conflict zones like Syria and Iraq. UK Aid is being used to bring water to drought stricken parts of Africa. UK Aid is helping to educate women and girls in parts of Asia where that most basic of human rights has been denied to them for so long.

Yes, charity may begin at home, but our compassion is not limited to those who carry the same passport. We should be proud that under a Conservative Government, this country is one of the few that is meeting its duty to some of the poorest people in our world.

And as Prime Minister, I will ensure that’s something Britain always continues to do.

But let me also be clear: it is absurd that international organisations say we can’t use the money to help all those that have been hit by the recent Hurricanes in the British Overseas Territories.

Many people on those islands have been left with nothing. And if we must change the rules on international aid in order to recognise the particular needs of these communities when disaster strikes, then that’s what we will do.

This then is the Britain we choose.

Not a Britain that retreats behind its borders, but a global Britain that stands tall in the world.

A beacon of hope and an example to others. A modern, compassionate Britain that we can all be proud to call home.


And we must renew the British Dream at home through a determined programme of economic and social reform. A programme that champions our belief in free markets by being prepared to reform them when they don’t work.

That ensures our economy and society work for everyone in every part of this country, not just the privileged few.

Because for too many, the British Dream feels increasingly out of reach.

The effects of the financial crisis – nearly a decade of low growth, stagnating wages and pay restraint – linger.

The boom in the housing market means that while some have done very well, for many the chance of getting onto the housing ladder has become a distant dream.

And it’s that fact, perhaps more than any other, that means for too many the British Dream is increasingly out of reach.

Just over a decade ago, 59% of 25-34 year olds owned their own home. Today it is just 38%.

It has always been a great sadness for me and Philip that we were never blessed with children. It seems some things in life are just never meant to be.

But I believe in the dream that life should be better for the next generation as much as any mother. Any father. Any grandparent.

The only difference is that I have the privileged position of being able to do more than most to bring that dream to life.

So I will dedicate my premiership to fixing this problem – to restoring hope. To renewing the British Dream for a new generation of people.

And that means fixing our broken housing market.

For 30 or 40 years we simply haven’t built enough homes. As a result, prices have risen so much that the average home now costs almost 8 times average earnings. And that’s been a disaster for young people in particular.

We have begun to put this right. The number of new homes being delivered each year has increased significantly since 2010.

Our Housing White Paper set out plans to increase it further, ensuring councils release more land for housing, and giving them new powers to ensure that developers actually build homes once they’re given planning permission to do so.

And because it will take time for greater housebuilding to translate into more affordable house prices, we have introduced schemes like Help to Buy to support people who are struggling right now.

But the election result showed us that this is not nearly enough. We’ve listened and we’ve learned.

So this week, the Chancellor announced that we will help over 130,000 more families with the deposit they need to buy their own home by investing a further £10 billion in Help to Buy.

We have announced measures to give the increasing number of families who rent from a private landlord more security – and effective redress if their landlord is not maintaining their property.

And today, I can announce that we will invest an additional £2 billion in affordable housing – taking the Government’s total affordable housing budget to almost £9 billion.

We will encourage councils as well as housing associations to bid for this money and provide certainty over future rent levels. And in those parts of the country where the need is greatest, allow homes to be built for social rent, well below market level.

Getting government back into the business of building houses.

A new generation of council houses to help fix our broken housing market.

So whether you’re trying to buy your own home, renting privately and looking for more security, or have been waiting for years on a council list, help is on the way.

It won’t be quick or easy, but as Prime Minister I am going to make it my mission to solve this problem. I will take personal charge of the government’s response, and make the British Dream a reality by reigniting home ownership in Britain once again.

And let me say one more thing. I want to send the clearest possible message to our house builders. We, the government, will make sure the land is available.

We’ll make sure our young people have the skills you need. In return, you must do your duty to Britain and build the homes our country needs.

And to renew the British Dream for a new generation of young people we must also take action on student debt.

As Conservatives, we know education can be the key to unlocking the future.

That’s why for more than a century, it has been Conservative Education Secretaries who have driven the reforms that have widened access and raised standards. And it’s why we want everyone to have the opportunity to benefit from studying more after they leave school. Because it’s good for them and good for the country too.

But today, young people take on a huge amount of debt to do so.

And if we’re honest, some don’t know what they get from it in return.

We have listened and we have learned.

So we will undertake a major review of university funding and student financing.

We will scrap the increase in fees that was due next year, and freeze the maximum rate while the review takes place.

And we will increase the amount graduates can earn before they start repaying their fees to £25,000 – putting money back into the pockets of graduates with high levels of debt.


For while we are in favour of free markets, we will always take action to fix them when they’re broken. We will always take on monopolies and vested interests when they are holding people back.

And one of the greatest examples in Britain today is the broken energy market.

Because the energy market punishes loyalty with higher prices. And the most loyal customers are often those with lower incomes: the elderly, people with lower qualifications and people who rent their homes. Those who for whatever reason, are unable to find the time to shop around. That’s why next week, this Government will publish a Draft Bill to put a price cap on energy bills. Meeting our manifesto promise. And bringing an end to rip-off energy prices once and for all.


So we have a big task before us. An agenda to follow. A duty to uphold.

To renew the British Dream for a new generation, and bring our country together again.

For a country that’s divided can never make the most of its potential. And we need to harness that potential if we’re to compete and succeed in the years ahead.

That’s why where others seek to bring division, we must stand united.

Recognising as Jo Cox put it that we have more in common than what divides us. It’s why I will always be proud to call myself a Unionist – and proud to be the leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party too.

Because that word means something special to me. It stands for this great union of nations that has so much to offer the world. And it stands for this great union of people – people from all over the world who have made their homes here and are proud to call themselves British. Attracted by the strength of the British Dream.

We are an example to the world of how people of different colours and creeds can live side-by-side. And we celebrate that.

And as a proud Unionist, I take comfort that the General Election saw the threat of nationalism set back, the case for a second referendum in Scotland denied. And wasn’t it a brilliant result for the Scottish Conservatives and their superb leader, Ruth Davidson?

Together, quite simply, we are stronger. So we must unite the country around our Conservative vision of a global, prosperous Britain in which the British Dream is alive. That means showing that we’re determined to make a difference. To doing something, not being someone. To doing our duty by Britain again. Because people are fed-up with the game-playing, the name-calling. The refusal to listen to the other’s point of view. We can look around the world and see where this approach to politics gets us – anger, recrimination and polarisation too.

So we must – all of us – look inside. Consider how we conduct our politics in this country. And find a better way.

For there is a big problem in our politics when an MP from one party refuses to be friends with those of another.

There is a problem in our politics when a leading journalist from our national broadcaster has to hire bodyguards just to be able to do her job.

There is a problem when one of our two great political parties is so riven with the stain of anti-semitism that even one of its own council leaders questions if they will be welcome in his city again.

Let me be clear: racism, intolerance and hatred has no place in British politics or British society. This party will never permit it. We will always stamp it out.

Britain can do better than this. For this country is – and has always been – the home of tolerance, a bastion of freedom and a beacon of democracy.

And this city of Manchester knows it better than anyone. Because four months ago, this city came under attack from those who hate our country and despise our values.

The liberty we extend to everyone, whoever they are and wherever they are from.

The way in which our society is open, accepting, and tolerant of others. The fact that we celebrate diversity and champion difference. The way we encourage people from all backgrounds and beliefs to live their lives in freedom. To be all they want to be.

And because of this hatred, they chose to take out their rage on the defenceless and vulnerable. The innocent and the young.

Let us be in no doubt: the responsibility for such an outrage lies with no one other than those who planned it, and those who saw it through.

And this party, which knows the terrible toll of terrorism all too well, will never seek to justify or excuse such acts of terror. We will stand strong in the face of terrorism and ensure our values always prevail.

But what we remember most from the cowardly attack on the Manchester Arena is the response of the Spirit of Manchester.

People throwing open their doors to strangers, giving them a place to shelter.

Taxi drivers helping people get home safely, accepting no fare in return.

Ordinary people rushing to the scene of destruction. Putting themselves in harm’s way.

The incredible men and women of the emergency services running towards the carnage, while others dropped what they were doing and went back to work to help.

But above all, an image of a community coming together. Men and women, young and old, black and white, Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Hindu, Jew, standing together as one.

And it was that image of this city – an image of modern Britain in all its diversity, compassion and strength – that was shared around the globe.

And it said something about us.

It said that this is modern Britain. A country of promise, of potential, of hope.

And perhaps we too easily forget that. But we must hold on to that essential truth.


For we are a nation of dreamers, with the capacity to deliver those dreams too.

Cities like Manchester were the pioneers that fired the industrial revolution, helping to make Britain the workshop of the world. And it’s this heritage that means today we export to and trade with nations in every corner of the globe.

It was here in Britain that we discovered the structure of DNA, the biological code for life. All the technologies for sequencing the human genome have been developed in this country. And today we are using this knowledge to improve human health.

Back in the 1970s it was scientists in Oxford who invented the lithium ion battery which powers all laptops and mobile phones. Today we continue to be pioneers in this sector, funding new battery technologies for electric cars and renewable energy. Technologies we will soon be exporting around the world.

Within a few hundred yards of here you will find the world’s first passenger railway station. And a few hundred yards beyond that a new research facility to develop the extraordinary material Graphene, for which two scientists here in Manchester won the Nobel prize.

And let me say this to George Osborne – you were right to back it as part of the Northern Powerhouse and this Government will back it too.

So the future is bright, our potential is great, and if we choose the right path, the British Dream can be renewed.


So let us do our duty by Britain. Let us shape up and give the country the government it needs.

For beyond this hall, beyond the gossip pages of the newspapers, and beyond the streets, corridors and meeting rooms of Westminster, life continues – the daily lives of working people go on.

Many pay little attention to great conferences and gatherings like this.

They get up early and go to work. They want to know their job is going to last and that they are going to get paid a fair wage. They want to know that the school their children go to is the best it can be. That they will be cared for when they fall ill. That they will have safety and security as they advance towards old age.

And they want to believe in the British Dream: that their children will do better than themselves. That they will have the opportunity to lead happy, successful, secure lives. That they will have the chance to be all they want to be.

These are the priorities that it is our duty to respond to. The priorities of working people up and down this land. And they must be our only focus.

Not worrying about our job security, but theirs. Not addressing our concerns, but the issues, the problems, the challenges, that concern them. Not focusing on our future, but on the future of their children and their grandchildren – doing everything we can to ensure their tomorrow will be better than our today.

That is what I am in politics for. To make a difference. To change things for the better. To hand on to the next generation a country that is stronger, fairer and more prosperous. And to renew the British Dream for a new generation again.

None of this will be easy. There will be obstacles and barriers along the way.
But it has never been my style to hide from a challenge, to shrink from a task, to retreat in the face of difficulty, to give up and turn away.

For the test of a leader is how you respond when tough times come upon you.
When faced with challenge, if you emerge stronger. When confronted with adversity, if you find the will to pull through.

And it is when tested the most that we reach deep within ourselves and find that our capacity to rise to the challenge before us may well be limitless.

That is the story of our party. That is the story of our country.

And that is the resolve and determination we need as we turn to face the future today.

So let us go forward together.

Confident in our values. Clear in our vision. Sure in our purpose.

With a rich, ambitious agenda to follow. A bold, exciting mission to pursue.

Let us fulfil our duty to the British people.

Let us fulfil our duty to our country.

Let us fulfil our duty to Britain.

Let us renew the British Dream.

Ruth Davidson – 2017 Speech at 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 Manchester on 2 October 2017.

Thank you conference.

It’s great to be here in Manchester. Or as I call it, the Southern powerhouse.

I want to talk to you about the general election. In fact, I want to talk to you about two of them.

The first one – two years ago.

And for us in Scotland, the same old story.

Knocking our pans in.

Hitting countless doors, delivering thousands of leaflets, too many conversations to count, another pair of boots ruined.

And at the end of it all?

We started with one MP. We ended with one MP.

We’d survived the SNP tsunami, but were no further forward than when we began.

…we were still outgunned by those sodding pandas.

But, two years later, we had a second election – this June.

Back on the stump.

Back knocking those same doors, delivering more leaflets, having thousands more conversations and – yes – by the end of it, another pair of boots totalled.

But this time, it was different. This time people were looking for a serious alternative to a nationalism that had let down our schools and was more concerned with division than delivery.

And we went from one MP to 13. Our best result in decades.

After years of heroically holding the line on his own, suddenly David Mundell got some company.

The pandas are going to have to go some, to catch up now…

It’s been quite a ride, conference.

And we’re not done yet – far from it.

But, conference, we didn’t turn things around in one seven-week campaign.

We did it through grafting hard between elections. By organising. By making and remaking the argument.

And I have watched. With incredulity, the response to the Labour party conference this week.

Commentators, who should know better, declaring Jeremy Corbyn as a shoo-in to number 10, just because Glastonbury chanted his name to the White Stripes. Folks, he hasnae even won a raffle.

Well, conference I have been here before and I can tell you how this story ends.

I have watched as Nicola Sturgeon sold out rock venues. As she released a line of signature clothing. As she sold foam fingers to the faithful so they could point at the sky as she flew in a helicopter she’d slapped her face on, over their heads.

I’ve read the commentary that said her momentum was irresistible, that everything would be swept before her.

And all the other parties in Scotland should just pack up, and go home.

Well, conference, I don’t like anyone telling me where to go.

Politics is not for faint hearts. It’s not about what’s in fashion or who is the absolute boy.

It’s about making the case for what you believe in.

It’s about service and duty and getting the job done. Delivering for others. And giving everyone the chance to get on.

And, just as the SNP came crashing down to earth. Just as they lost 40 per cent of their seats in June. Just as half a million Scots chose to take their vote away. So too can the Corbyn bubble burst, but only if we work hard to make it so.

Because, you know what? People tire of being offered free unicorns. Of easy promises that don’t add up.

They want serious solutions to the issues facing their world.

They want opportunities to make their own lives better.

A good school so their children can do anything they set their mind to.

A strong economy so they’ll always have the security of work.

Well-funded public services to look after their needs

And to keep more of their own money because they make better decisions for their family’s future than the state makes for them.

That’s what we offer. That’s what Theresa May offers.

A belief in country, duty, service and the power of people.

And that’s what we fight for.

Always. We fight.


We may have five years, but I tell you – we need to get to work right now.

Because the in-tray is full.

Firstly. Brexit.

It’s time to get the best deal we can.

And you know what?

It’s time we in this party made it clear – that we’re not Leavers or Remainers anymore – we’re just Brits.

People who were asked to make a decision. Did. And now want to deliver that decision in the best way possible. Who now must unite behind our leader to get the best deal for us and the right deal for Europe as well.

Next we’ve got to deliver that strong economy and world-class public services.

Ten years of tough times since the crash – it’s time to show working families right across the UK – from a tenement in Glasgow, to a one-bed in Grantham – that we’ve got their back.

Yes, we’ve got record employment in the UK today – but we also need to recognise the pressures faced by the job-juggling generation, where two or even three jobs are needed to make ends meet.

The sheer effort that takes – just to keep going.

The strain it puts on relationships.

The stress of not knowing if you’re going to make your rent.

And what will happen if you can’t.

These people are looking to us for answers – and for action to make their lives easier.

It’s our duty to deliver.

Also, to make our country fairer.

To make it clear: this party isn’t there for those at the top of the ladder – this party IS a ladder.

It’s what we’re about: to help people move up and get on.

To be the party of home-building.

The party that enshrines excellence in education – no matter the school.

The party that will take action on the low wage economy and help lift living standards.

Further, to be a beacon in the world. To help those that are hurting and fight for those who can’t fight for themselves. To go into bat for our friends and allies.

To be able to say when you go abroad that despite the financial hit of the last few years – that my country, our country, kept its commitments to the world’s poor and will continue to do so.

And finally, conference, to stay united.

To stay one United Kingdom.

By being a nation that realises the ambitions of everyone in this country. That seeks to be a home for all who live here.

And I mean everyone.

From the people who voted to leave the UK, to the majority who voted to stay…

From the people who voted to remain in the EU to the people who voted to leave.

From the people who can trace their ancestors back through generations, to people who’ve settled here from somewhere else.

…who pursued that innate Conservative instinct to better themselves and their families and build a new life in a new land.

We need to stand together, Not defensive in this diversity and our sometime disagreement – but to be confident in our ability to embrace difference and debate.

And to have the courage to confront not just our strengths but our weaknesses too.

We are a remarkable Union, conference.

Because of the leadership of this party – our Union is known the world over as a Union of choice, not of force.

A Union that, three years ago, put our democratic right to choose whether to leave before its very survival.

That’s not nothing. In fact, the more time passes, the more remarkable it becomes.

And let’s say it loud and proud – that this is a Union that that does not hoard power to the centre, but has sought to push it out.

And again, did so thanks to a Conservative party which – as Edinburgh, as Cardiff, Manchester and Teeside will attest – is now THE party of devolution.

Not Labour, certainly not the LibDems. Us.

And a party that now wants to use Brexit to go further – to ensure that the power surge that will hit Britain when we leave the EU is felt in Edinburgh, in Cardiff Bay and in Stormont too.

I’m proud of that, conference. I’m proud of all we’ve done in the last few years to keep this country together and move forward as one.

But we should recognise that these huge changes to our nation pose challenges too.

Devolution of power has transformed our nation for the better. It has put power closer to people.

But – at the same time – while we’ve built vigorous new devolved structures, we’ve not done enough to nurture that which binds us.

As the Prime Minister said in Scotland earlier this year, all too often, Whitehall devolves and forgets.

And the danger is that we become a country that stays together, but lives apart.

With the cracks exploited by those who would pull us apart for good.

So let me make a plea today.

Yes – let’s absolutely press on with more devolution. But it’s time for a bit more Union too.

More Union right across Britain.

More Union in all parts of our nation – benefiting us all.

More Union spread evenly– and not just based in London.

Now let me make this clear: conference, I love London.

No plans to move there myself, but great to visit.

And it’s wonderful that our small island nation plays host to the capital of the world.

But the truth is: for all the devolution of power in the last twenty years, our Union continues to be far too London-centric.

Compare us to our friends around the world. New York’s global status doesn’t diminish Washington’s political clout, or LA’s creativity, or Silicon Valley’s entrepreneurialism. Instead, America has a cluster of great global cities.

Or look at Germany – where Berlin’s political heft is balanced by the financial hub of Frankfurt and the industry of Munich.

We’re the odd one out – in fact, among major global capitals, only Moscow accounts for a greater share of national product than London.

And this imbalance is getting crazy.

We live in a country where the property values of London’s top 10 boroughs are worth more than all of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales combined.

Where you can sell a three bed semi in Ilford, and buy half of Sutherland.

Where, in a capital city already zooming forward on the jet fuel of high finance, the economy is further boosted by enough civil servants to fill Wembley.

It is time for change – to fulfil the plans we set out at the election this year…
…to give Britain a shake and spread more of our Union outside the capital.

To see our great metropolitan cities have a larger share in the government of our country.

To ensure that – if our civil service and cultural bodies are to claim to be UK institutions – they must be present across our whole United Kingdom.

To move more of the infrastructure, the people and the administration of our country out of the capital and into the country.

It is happening to a degree already of course.

More civil service jobs coming to my constituency in central Edinburgh.

The fantastic new V+A museum rising up in Dundee, ready to show the best of Scottish and British design.

And here in Manchester, the Northern Powerhouse now showing the way ahead.

But I want to see more. We need to see more.

The government’s industrial strategy is designed to boost growth in places across all four nations of the United Kingdom.

And it’s reviewing the various agencies based in London to see which ones could be ready for a move.

So I want us to seize the opportunity to ensure more of them come to Scotland.

Conference, here’s the bottom line.

The success of our Union cannot and should not be measured by the fact the alternative has failed.

That separation is a busted flush.

No – our success must be measured by our determination to always improve.

By going the extra mile. By refusing to accept the status quo as a given. And being restless for change.

By recognising that thousands of our fellow countrymen and women no longer see this country as theirs.

By seeking not to shun them, or dismiss their complaints – but to answer them with action.

And that must be our task as we go forward from conference this week.

In Government, across the United Kingdom, united behind our Prime Minister, determined to face the challenges of the future.

To tackle injustice.

To be the ladder.

To create real social cohesion.

And – in opposition in Scotland – we must be ready to change, and to win.

Because, I don’t know about you, but after ten years of SNP Government, it seems to me like it’s time for a new broom.

It’s not going to be Scottish Labour, by the way.

They swap leaders so often that Trump’s communications director feels sorry for them.

But us? We’re serious.

…serious about restoring Scotland’s reputation as the education capital of the world.

….serious about boosting our productivity – to get Scotland’s economy firing once again.

And serious about running a government in Scotland that just gets on with the job for once.

A government you can trust to focus on the tough choices.

To dump the tedious grievance politics and the petty complaints.

Instead, to act as a grown-up partner within a reformed United Kingdom – eager not just to better Scotland but – in so doing – to better our wider nation too.

As a party that, in Scotland, is re-engaging with our roots.

A party as Teddy Taylor once put it, isn’t just there for the people in the ‘big hooses’.

But for those who clean their tenement step as well.

That’s the party we are building in Scotland and across the United Kingdom.

A party that speaks to the hopes of our nation as a whole.

From car production lines in Coventry to contact centre staff in Cardiff.

From ship workers in Glasgow to software designers in Dundee.

A party that reaches out to every corner of our country with a level head, but also an open heart.

And with a clear set of values.

…That strong families are the foundation of a stable society.

…A good education is the key to a lifetime of opportunity.

…That everybody should have a safe and secure home.

…That there should be a job for everyone who wants to work – and that pay should be fair.

These are the things I believe in – and I know you believe in them too.

So it’s time for us – all of us – to unite and fight.

Unite and fight for the union of our nation

…For the security people want.

…For the prosperity families need.

…For the future our young people deserve.

Unite and fight for this country we are proud to serve.

David Gauke – 2017 Speech at Conservative Party Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by David Gauke, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, at the Conservative Party conference held in Manchester on 2 October 2017.

In 2010, our economy faced a crisis.

We were borrowing more than at any time in our peace time history.

Unemployment had risen by nearly 850,000 in the previous two years, we had just under 4 million workless households.

Our welfare system had become much more expensive, increasing in real terms by £82 billion over 13 years. But we still had a dysfunctional benefit system that failed to properly reward work and left too many trapped in a life of dependency.

And where are we today?

Youth unemployment down by over 400,000
Long term unemployment down by 400,000
600,000 more disabled people are in work

Today, do not let anyone forget, there are over 3 million more jobs in this country than seven years ago.

And only a very small minority of those jobs have been filled by George Osborne!

This country’s remarkable jobs story is one of the reasons why it is such a privilege to have been appointed Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, to build on the work of Iain Duncan Smith, Stephen Crabb and Damian Green.

Helping millions into work is not the only way the department supports those in need:

We have established auto enrolled pensions. By the end of August, over 8.5 million people had been automatically enrolled into a workplace pension.

We are giving employers the tools they need to recruit, retain and support disabled people. Almost 5,000 employers have signed up to the Disability Confident scheme so far, and this number is growing rapidly.

And I’d like to thank my excellent ministerial team. Penny Mordaunt, Damian Hinds, Caroline Dinenage, Guy Opperman and Peta Buscombe. I’m fortunate to have such a strong team and I would like to thank them – and all the department’s frontline staff up and down the country – for all that they do.

The work that we do touches on the lives of millions of our fellow citizens.

We know that to improve the living standards of the poorest in society, we need a strong economy and a job creating economy. Without the tax receipts that a strong economy provides, we cannot support those that need it most. And we also know that it is through work that people have a chance to progress and to provide for their own economic security.

As Conservatives we do not believe, we have never believed, that we can turn our backs on those most in need.

As Conservatives we believe in a strong and compassionate welfare state that helps everyone fulfil their potential.

In truth, the strength and compassion of a welfare system should not be measured just by the money you spend, but by the lives you transform.

Among the people that need more support are those with mental health conditions.

Helping them has rightly been a priority for the Prime Minister. The UK is increasingly a world leader in treatment and Jeremy Hunt is doing great work here. We understand more than in the past that mental health conditions are a barrier to work but, if we can help people into employment, for many, work can be part of the solution.

That’s why we have trained 1800 Universal Credit work coaches in how to support claimants with mental health issues. To further support Jobcentre work coaches, we have developed an enhanced mental health training programme. Following testing, I can therefore confirm that by the end of the year, it will be made available to all those work coaches who would benefit from it.

Of course, there are some people who suffer from such severe disabilities that they will never be able to work. Last year, my predecessor, Damian Green, announced that we were looking to exclude those with severe lifetime health conditions from any requirement to be reassessed for out-of-work benefits. After early tests of this approach, it has now been implemented and I can tell you that around twice as many people are expected to benefit from this reform than were originally thought.

It is right that we focus our disability benefits on those that need it most. We will support those who are unable to work, while helping those who can work to maximise their potential.

And this is consistent with our approach to the welfare system. An effective welfare system is about eliminating the barriers to work. And it is working, with an employment rate higher than the US, and an unemployment rate half that of the Eurozone.

Of course, we should acknowledge the importance of the job creators in this country. The entrepreneurs, the businesses that have created opportunities, taken on staff and given people the chance to earn a living, and support themselves and their families.

And we should celebrate the determination of the so many of the British people to get in work and to stay in work, so often showing an ability to adapt and be flexible.

The phrase ‘hard working families’, is sometimes seen as a bit of a politicians’ cliché. (And, frankly, it is.) But it is also a fair description of so many people in this country.

Our job-creating businesses and our hard-working people. They are the real heroes of the British economy. And the Conservative Party will always value them and always be on their side.

But let us not hide our light under a bushel. Even with all the excellent businesses out there and our industrious workforce, the British jobs miracle would not have happened without the measures we have taken in government.

The cuts in income tax that meant the low paid could keep more of what they earnt.

The cuts in corporation tax that have encouraged investment.

And the welfare reforms that have put work at the heart of our system – ensuring better results for claimants, and fairness for the people whose taxes pay for it.

All of this has meant that every day we have been in office, 1114 jobs have been created. A remarkable achievement.

I talk about work a lot. After all, it is in my new title.

But we should all talk about it – we have a great record.

I have given you the statistics, but these are not abstract numbers. These are lives transformed, prospects raised, economic security provided. We should be proud of that.

And let us be very clear. None of that would have happened had Labour been in power. And all of it would be put at risk if Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell got their hands on the British economy.

The unreconstructed socialism they offer has failed every time and in every country it has been tried.

Let me tell you who would pay the price if they got the chance to inflict their failed ideology here. It wouldn’t be the super-rich – they’d just up sticks and move abroad. But it would be:

– those struggling to get by
– the hard pressed worker who couldn’t afford higher taxes
– the person who lost their job when a business pulls out of the country
– the young person who can’t even get on the jobs ladder because of higher unemployment.

There is nothing compassionate about destroying the public finances, driving out businesses and passing on huge debts to future generations.

And remember, unemployment always increases under a Labour government. Even when the relatively sensible ones were in charge!

We have achieved much, but there is more to do.

We inherited a welfare system that puts in place barriers to people fulfilling their potential.

The person working part time, worried about working more than 16 hours a week because they will move from one set of benefits to another – and then will have to move back again if there is a fall in their hours.

The worker reluctant to take on more responsibility because they’ll lose almost as much from reduced benefits as they gain in pay.

The person who just wants to do all they can to provide for themselves and their family.

Too many lives have been held back by a complex benefits where progressing in work is seen as a risk not worth taking.

That is why Iain Duncan Smith came forward with Universal Credit, the most radical reform to our benefits system since the Second World War. Scrapping six benefits and replacing them with one and ensuring that work always pays. And, a point that should be appreciated more, we are giving claimants the increased personalised support of work coaches. They are working with claimants to help eliminate their barriers to work.

It is the right vision and I want to pay tribute to Iain for having the courage and determination to pursue this transformative change.

In 101 job centres up and down the country, it is already in operation. The evidence is already clear. It is helping more people into work and it is helping more people in work to progress to better jobs.

Delivering a simpler system that encourages work and supports aspiration.

I understand the concerns that have been raised that, when people first claim, they have to wait six weeks or more before they receive a penny.

It is the case that what you get in Universal Credit depends on what you have earned over the previous month, so payments are made in arrears.

But I am determined to ensure that those who need support earlier in the month will get it. It is already the case that if people need help before the first full benefit payment, they can quickly get an advance to help tide them over.

Increasing numbers of people now claim this – since June, the majority of claimants did so. However, I can announce today that we are refreshing the guidance to DWP staff to ensure that anyone who needs an advance payment will be offered it up-front. Claimants who want an advance payment will not have to wait six weeks. They will receive this advance within 5 working days.

And if someone is in immediate need, then we fast track the payment, meaning they will receive it on the same day.

Universal Credit is working. So I can confirm that the rollout will continue, and to the planned timetable. We’re not going to rush things – it is more important to get this right than to do this quickly, and this won’t be completed until 2022. But across the country, we will continue to transform our welfare system to further support those who aspire to work.

Universal credit is the next step on our journey. A journey to a welfare state that gives people the help that they need but does not trap them in dependency.

A welfare state that believes we have to support the vulnerable but that simply signing a cheque is not enough.

A welfare state that is on the side of all of those who aspire to fulfil their potential.

It is a vision of the welfare state that is compassionate, practical and aspirational. It is, in short, a Conservative vision for a modern welfare state