Andrew Davies – 2023 Speech at Conservative Party Conference

The speech made by Andrew Davies, the Leader of the Welsh Conservatives in the Senedd, in Manchester on 1 October 2023.

Well it’s great to be here in Manchester, and to see you all once again. And I want to start by saying a big thank you.

A big thank to our hardworking party members who put in the graft to deliver our message across Wales.

A big thank you to our team of Welsh MPs, led by our brilliant Secretary of State David TC Davies.

A big thank you to our Senedd members, who work tirelessly every day holding Mark Drakeford and Labour to account.

And a big thank you to our Prime Minister.

Taking the tough decisions is never easy.

But that’s exactly what Rishi is doing:

Taking long term decisions for a brighter future.

As a Party, we all want to protect our environment and reduce emissions. But we must do it in a way that doesn’t hit working families in the pocket. Rishi’s common sense approach will achieve that.

The contrast with Wales, the only part of the UK where Labour are in government, couldn’t be more stark.

Rather than take a common sense approach, they’re motivated by an extreme ideology.

In the past month, they’ve introduced blanket 20mph speed limits across Wales.

Labour’s own figures show it’ll cost the Welsh economy up to £9billion.

The cost of changing the road signs alone is up to £40million.

And nearly half a million people have signed a petition calling for Labour’s blanket 20mph speed limits to be scrapped.

But Mark Drakeford won’t listen.

And the Labour minister who imposed blanket 20mph speed limits on Wales arrogantly dismissed the decent Welsh people who signed the petition as “anti-road safety”.

What’s worse, blanket 20mph speed limits aren’t the only extreme policy Labour have imposed on Wales.

They’ve also banned all major new road building projects. And that’s not all.

Our Prime Minister has introduced tough measures to secure our borders through our Illegal Migration Act.

But in Wales, Labour want to pay illegal immigrants £1,600 a month.

And Labour’s other big priority in Wales? Spending £120million on 36 more politicians.

This extreme ideology Labour has imposed on Wales isn’t just dangerous in itself.

It also distracts from the things that matter.

Let’s take our Welsh NHS, which has been run by Labour for the past 24 years.

Waiting lists are far longer than in England.

Ambulance response times are slower.

And cancer outcomes are worse.

And unlike in England, where Conservatives have protected the health budget, Mark Drakeford and Labour voted to cut our Welsh NHS.

And just a fortnight ago, Welsh Conservatives once again voted to protect our Welsh NHS from cuts, while Labour and the nationalists voted against.

Their priority isn’t our Welsh NHS – it’s spending £40million on blanket 20mph speed limits and £120million on 36 more politicians.

They are out of touch.
And their extreme ideology is also hurting our Welsh economy. Their barmy road building ban has deterred investment.

And their toxic tourism tax has hit a key Welsh industry.

But there’s one other thing you mustn’t forget, and this matters to everyone across our United Kingdom.

Keir Starmer has described Mark Drakeford’s Wales as his “blueprint for the whole UK”.

That’s right.

Starmer will deliver longer NHS waiting lists.

He’ll deliver open borders.

And he’ll wage a war on motorists.

Drakeford has cosied up to the Welsh nationalists, who prop up his administration.

And Starmer would do exactly the same with the SNP.

That’s what’s at stake at the next General Election.

And why as Conservatives, it’s our duty to win.

So as we leave Manchester, we must all get out on the campaign trail and hammer this home.

I’m as proud a Welshman as they come.

It pains me to see what Labour have done to Wales.

And I don’t want to see them do it across the UK.

So together, let’s stop that happening.

Let’s take the fight to Labour.

Together, we’re taking long term decisions for a brighter future. And we’re delivering for our great country.