The speech made by Sally-Ann Hart, the Conservative MP for Hastings and Rye, in the House of Commons on 18 July 2022.
I thank the Prime Minister for his dedication to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, his aspiration for all in this country, and his expectation that we can achieve great things as individuals and as a country. This Conservative Government, working as a team, have delivered hundreds of achievements over the past two and half years. They have delivered and continue to deliver on the people’s priorities: Brexit, for starters. In March 2020, the country faced an alarming health crisis—the covid pandemic—which the Opposition have conveniently forgotten about. The Government have taken decisive action to shield the public from the worst effects of the pandemic and the war in Ukraine. It is very easy to criticise, but far more difficult to make tough and hard decisions.
We have delivered the biggest reforms to our railways in 25 years, with simpler, modern fares and reliable services. We have begun the accession process to join the comprehensive and progressive agreement for trans-Pacific partnership, giving UK businesses access to one of the world’s largest and most dynamic free trade areas. We hosted COP26 in Glasgow last year, helping to drive ambitious climate change action around the world, and we passed the world-leading Environment Act 2021, ensuring that the environment is at the heart of this Government’s agenda. We also passed the Agriculture Act 2020, the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022, the Building Safety Act 2022, the Skills and Post-16 Education Act 2022, and the Nationality and Borders Act 2022. We have seen the plan for jobs, upskilling and reskilling, and a focus on education, giving every pupil in England a funding boost so that all children have the same opportunities to succeed. We have invested in levelling up parts of the country that have been long overlooked and neglected, including through the levelling-up fund and the towns fund deals. Hastings received £24.3 million, leveraging another £85 million in private sector funding. I could go on.
Mark Eastwood (Dewsbury) (Con)
My hon. Friend mentions the towns fund. Does she agree that it will transform and regenerate the towns and cities left behind by Labour in the past?
I completely agree. That is why the previous Conservative Government had the northern powerhouse, to try to lift people left behind for generations by the Labour party.
It is a fundamental principle of our constitution that any Government must retain the confidence of the legislature. That is us. The Conservative party won an 80-seat majority. That majority may have been reduced slightly, but the Government operate effectively, as votes on legislation in the last couple of weeks alone prove—healthy majority votes in favour of the Government, backing the Government. The Prime Minister may have lost the personal confidence of some of his MPs, but he has not lost the legislature’s mandate.
I pity those on the Opposition Benches. They have resorted to the petty low of personality politics because they have nothing else. With this Prime Minister gone, what will they do? We can feel their panic seeping across the Floor of the House. Their hate-fuelled moralistic posturing has made them all vulnerable. The Government continue to function as a strong team, and I have full confidence in them to deliver the priorities of the people and businesses in my constituency, as well as in the country. On the Conservative Benches, we keep calm and we carry on in the British way.