It’s great to be here in Manchester at the best attended conference for years and I know that some of you may have been mildly peppered with abuse on the way in but are you abashed? are you downcast?
Of course not. We are conservatives and we get on with serving the people and speaking of service I should begin by paying tribute to my predecessor Theresa, I know the whole of conference remains full of gratitude to you, and to Philip May, for your patience and your forbearance, and yes, we will continue with the work of tackling domestic violence and modern slavery and building on your legacy
I have been prime minister for only seventy days but I have seen so many things that give cause for hope: hospitals that are finally getting the investment to match the devotion of the staff; schools where standards of reading are rising through the use of synthetic phonics; police colleges where idealistic young men and women are enrolling in large numbers to fight crime across the country; shipyards in Scotland that are building superb modern type 26 frigates for sale around the world; and every one of those high wage high skill jobs in shipbuilding is a testament to the benefits of belonging to the United Kingdom the most successful political partnership in history which we will protect and we will defend against those who would wantonly destroy it.
And I say to Ruth Davidson as well: thank you for everything you did for the cause of Conservatism and unionism in Scotland and Ruth, we will honour your legacy too and I am proud of the role this government is playing in every one of those investments and they are only possible because It was this Conservative government that tackled the debt and the deficit left by the last Labour government.
It was because we cleared up the wreckage they left behind that we now have record employment wages rising the fastest for 10 years and we have record Foreign Direct Investment of £1.3 trillion and so many reasons to be confident about our country and its direction and yet we are like a world class athlete with a pebble in our shoe, there is one part of the British system that seems to be on the blink.
If parliament were a laptop, then the screen would be showing the pizza wheel of doom. If parliament were a school, Ofsted would be shutting it down. If parliament were a reality TV show the whole lot of us would have been voted out of the jungle by now. But at least we could have watched the speaker being forced to eat a kangaroo testicle. And the sad truth is that voters have more say over I’m a celebrity than they do over this House of Commons. Which refuses to deliver Brexit, refuses to do anything constructive and refuses to have an election just at the moment when voters are desperate for us to focus on their priorities.
We are continuing to chew the supermasticated subject of Brexit when what people want, what leavers want,what remainers want, what the whole world wants – is to be calmly and sensibly done with the subject, and to move on. And that is why we are coming out of the EU on October 31, come what may. Conference, let’s get Brexit done.
We can we must and we will, even though things have not been made easier by the surrender bill. We will work for a deal with our EU friends; but whatever happens we must come out by the end of October. Let’s get this thing done – and then let’s get ready to make our case to the country against the fratricidal anti-semitic Marxists who were in Brighton last week. Last week Jeremy Corbyn had a number of damaging and retrograde ideas in his speech: he wants a 4 day week – which would slash the wages of people on low incomes. He wants to ban private schools and expropriate their property. Even though it would cost the taxpayer seven billion to educate the kids. He wants to stamp out excellence in schools by banning Ofsted. Yhe inspectors who ensure that schools are safe for our children.
But he had one good idea: he had a whole paragraph repeating what he has said every week for the last three years. He wants an election now – or that is what he was going to say, poor fellow. The only trouble is that the paragraph was censored by John McDonnell or possibly Keir Starmer. So we have the astonishing spectacle of the leader of the opposition being prevented by his colleagues from engaging in his constitutional function which is to try to remove me from office and in this age of creative litigation I am surprised that no one has yet sued him for breach of contract, though it now appears that the SNP may yet try to bundle him towards the throne, like some Konstantin Chernenko figure. Reluctantly propelled to office in a Kremlin coup, so that they get on with their programme for total national discord, turning the whole of 2020 – which should be a great year for this country – into the chaos and cacophony of two more referendums, a second referendum on Scottish independence, even though the people of Scotland were promised that the 2014 vote would be a once in a generation decision; and a second referendum on the EU? Can you imagine?
Another 3 years of this? But that is the Corbyn agenda – stay in the EU beyond October 31, and paying a billion pounds a month for the privilege, followed by years of uncertainty for business and everyone else.
As for the Lib Dems, their idea of serving the national interest was to write to Jean-Claude Juncker urging him NOT to give this country a better deal.
While the leader has called for a second referendum.
While pledging to campaign against the result.
It’s time to respect the trades descriptions act.
And take the word democrat out of the liberal democrats.
I am afraid that after three and a half years people are beginning to feel that they are being taken for fools.
They are beginning to suspect that there are forces in this country that simply don’t want Brexit delivered at all and if they turn out to be right in that suspicion then I believe there will be grave consequences for trust in democracy.
Let’s get Brexit done on October 31.
Let’s get it done because of the opportunities that Brexit will bring not just to take back control of our money and our borders and our laws.
To regulate differently and better, and to take our place as a proud and independent global campaigner for free trade.
Let’s get it done because delay is so pointless and expensive.
Let’s get it done because we need to build our positive new partnership with the EU because it cannot be stressed too much that this is not an anti-European party and it is not an anti-European country.
We love Europe.
We are European but after 45 years of really dramatic constitutional change we must have a new relationship with the EU a positive and confident partnership—and we can do it.
Today in Brussels we are tabling what I believe are constructive and reasonable proposals which provide a compromise for both sides. We will under no circumstances have checks at or near the border in Northern Ireland.
We will respect the peace process and the Good Friday agreement.
And by a process of renewable democratic consent by the executive and assembly of Northern Ireland, we will go further and protect the existing regulatory arrangements for farmers and other businesses on both sides of the border.
And at the same time we will allow the UK – whole and entire – to withdraw from the EU, with control of our own trade policy from the start.
And to protect the union.
And yes this is a compromise by the UK.
And I hope very much that our friends understand that and compromise in their turn.
Because if we fail to get an agreement because of what is essentially a technical discussion of the exact nature of future customs checks.
When that technology is improving the whole time.
Then let us be in no doubt that the alternative is no deal.
That is not an outcome we want.
It is not an outcome we seek at all.
But let me tell you this conference it is an outcome for which we are ready.
Are we ready?
Are we determined to resolve this?
Let’s get Brexit done on October 31 because we must get on and deliver on all the priorities of the people, to answer the cry of those 17.4 m who voted for Brexit, because it is only by delivering Brexit that we can address that feeling in so many parts of the country that they were being left behind, ignored and that their towns were not only suffering from a lack of love and investment. But their views had somehow become unfashionable or unmentionable.
And let’s get Brexit done for those millions who may have voted remain but are first and foremost democrats.And accept the result of the referendum, and when I say that I want us to work together, now, to bring this country together. You are entitled to ask yourselves about my core principles and the ideals that drive me and are going to drive me as your prime minister.
I am going to follow the example of my friend Saj.
I am going to quote that supreme authority in my family – my mother (and by the way for keen students of the divisions in my family you might know that I have kept the ace up my sleeve – my mother voted leave) and my mother taught me to believe strongly in the equal importance, the equal dignity, the equal worth of every human being on the planet and that may sound banal but it is not.
And there is one institution that sums up that idea. The NHS is holy to the people of this country because of the simple beauty of its principle that it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from but when you are sick the whole country figuratively gathers at your bedside, and does everything it can to make you well again.
And everybody pays to ensure that you have the best doctors and the best nurses and the most effective treatments known to medical science and after 70 years the results are – on the whole –amazing. When I was a kid the word cancer was a death knell and heart attack was a terrifying thought.
Well, we are slowly defeating the legions of disease.
This country has seen the fastest falls in breast cancer in Europe. But we have so much more to do.
On Monday I went to the north Manchester general hospital, and I saw the incredible work they are doing with reconstructive maxillo-facial surgery, on people who only a decade ago would have been permanently disfigured by their traumas.
And for whom hope and confidence is so important.
I talked to the patients and every one of them was bursting with praise for the staff and their energy and devotion. But conference that fantastic hospital was built in 1876. To serve the workhouse. And we were walking down long narrow nightingale wards that were designed by the pioneer of nursing and as one of the managers told me that asking those professionals to work in that environment is like asking a premiership footballer to play on a ploughed field.
And so I was proud to tell them under this government we will totally rebuild that hospital.
So that we are not only recruiting more doctors and nurses, and training them.
But in the next 10 years we will build 40 new hospitals.
In the biggest investment in hospital infrastructure for a generation. Because after 70 years of the existence of the NHS, 44 of them under a Conservative government.
It is time for us to say loud and clear. We are the party of the NHS and I claim that title because it is our one nation conservatism that has delivered and will deliver the economic growth that makes those investments possible, and it is we Conservatives who will solve the problem of social care and end the injustice that means people have to sell their home to pay for their old age and if you ask me how we are going to do it, how we are going to grow the UK economy, I will tell you that it is by raising the productivity of the whole of the UK, not with socialism, not with deranged and ruinous plans borrowed from the playbook of Bolivarian revolutionary Venezuela. But by creating the economic platform for dynamic free market, capitalism
Yes, you heard it right, capitalism – and when did you last hear a Tory leader talk about capitalism.
We are the party of the NHS precisely because we are the party of capitalism not because we shun it, or despise it and we understand the vital symmetry at the heart of the modern British economy between a dynamic enterprise culture and great public services. And I have seen this formula in action.
Now who comes from London? Who lives there?
No disgrace in that – I used to be mayor there. And it is one of the many astonishing things about our nation’s capital that it is the most productive region in the whole of Europe, because in 1863 this country led the world in putting trains in tunnels, among other breakthroughs and yet there are many other regions of the country that are far less productive and that represents not just an injustice but a massive opportunity.
I believe that talent and genius and initiative and chutzpah are evenly distributed across the whole UK but it is also clear that opportunity is not evenly distributed and it is the job of this one nation conservative govt, to unlock talent in every corner of the UK because that is the right thing to do in itself.
and because that is the way to release the economic potential of the whole country and the first thing we must do in spreading opportunity is to insist on the equal safety of the public wherever you live.
to make your streets safer and that is why we are recruiting 20,000 new police officers.
and that is why we are committing now to rolling up the evil county lines drugs gangs.
that predate on young kids and send them to die in the streets to feed the cocaine habits of the bourgeoisie.
And we will succeed and yes we will be tough on crime.
We will make sure that the police have the legal powers and the political backing to use stop and search because it may be controversial but believe me that when a young man is going equipped with a bladed weapon.
There is nothing kinder or more loving or more life-saving you can do than ask him to turn out his pockets. And yes, when people are found guilty of serious sexual or violent offences, we will make sure that they serve the sentence they should – if only for the protection of the public.
But we will also do everything we can to stop people becoming criminals with rehabilitation, education in prisons, so that they are not just academies for crime and we are investing in youth clubs and better FE training, to give young people the best possible antidote to the criminal instinct the prospect of a good job.
and indeed the best way to level up and to expand opportunity is to give every kid in the country a superb education so that is why we are levelling up education funding across the country.
So that every child has the chance to express their talents and that’s why we are investing in transport from northern powerhouse rail, to a huge new agenda of road improvements. And yes I admit I am a bit of a bus nut. I confess that I like to make and paint inexact models of buses, with happy passengers inside.
But it is not just because i am a bus nut that we want to expand bus transport.
With clean, green buses and contactless payment by card or phone.
a good bus service can make all the difference to your job.
To your life.
To your ability to get to the doctor.
To the liveability of your town or your village.
And to your ability to stay there and have a family there and start a business there.
And it is for exactly the same reason.
To increase connectivity and liveability.
that we are putting in gigabit broadband.
spreading across the country like tendrils of superinformative vermicelli.
because that is the way to unite the country.
to spread opportunity.
to bring the country together.
and there is another vital effect.
with the right infrastructure and education and technology.
you increase the productivity of the whole UK economy.
if the streets are safe, and if the transport links are there, and if there are good broadband connections.
you enable new housing to go ahead.
on brownfield sites that were never considered viable before.
we enable young people to get a foot on the housing ladder.
and we enable people to live near the good jobs.
and above all – with safe streets and affordable housing and fantastic wifi – we give business the confidence to invest and to grow.
That is the virtuous circle.
That is the balance and the symmetry at the heart of our one nation project.
And there are so many ways in which we are pulling ahead.
London has overtaken New York as the number one city for investment in fintech firms.
And that is before we have even delivered Crossrail.
Which was on time and on budget when I left.
And isn’t it time we had a Mayor who is focused on the job – which is why i am backing Shaun Bailey?
Here in Manchester we are seeing an extraordinary growth in genomics, witha flood of inward investment from banking and insurance to IT.
And that is before we have delivered northern powerhouse rail.
In the west midlands we are seeing a 21st century industrial revolution in battery technology.
One in five of the electric cars sold in Europe is now made in the UK.
And that is before we have begun Andy Street’s vision of a West Midlands metro.
With infrastructure education and technology we will drive up the productivity of this country and bring it together.
I do not for one moment doubt the patriotism of people on all sides of this Brexit argument but I am fed up with being told that our country can’t do something, when I believe passionately that it can.
Thanks to British technology there is a place in Oxfordshire that could soon be the hottest place in the solar system.
The tokamak fusion reactor in Culham.
And if you go there you will learn that this country has a global lead in fusion research.
And that they are on the verge of creating commercially viable miniature fusion reactors for sale around the world, delivering virtually unlimited zero-carbon power/
Now I know they have been on the verge for some time.
It is a pretty spacious kind of verge.
But remember it was only a few years ago when people were saying that solar power would never work in cloudy old Britain, and that wind turbines would not pull the skin off a rice pudding.
Well there are some days when wind and solar are delivering more than half our energy needs.
We can do it.
We can beat the sceptics.
We are already using gene therapy to cure blindness.
This country leads the way in satellite technology and we are building two space ports, one in Sutherland and one in Newquay.
Soon we will be sending missions to the heavens geostationary satellites.
Confernece, can you think of anyone who could trial the next mission.
can you think which communist cosmonaut to coax into the cockpit?
And let’s get Brexit done on October 31.
Not just because we have such an immense agenda to take this country forward, but because Brexit is an opportunity in itself.
We will take back control of our fisheries and the extraordinary marine wealth of Scotland.
And it is one of the many bizarre features of the SNP that in spite of being called names like Salmond and Sturgeon they are committed to handing back those fish to the control of the EU. We want to turbo-charge the Scottish fishing sector; they would allow Brussels to charge for our turbot, we will be able to allow UK businesses to have bigger tax breaks for investment in capital, we can do free ports and enterprize zones, we can ban the shipment of live animals—and yes, we will have those free trade deals.
We already have some astonishing exports.
Just in the last few months I have seen an Isle of Wight ship-builder that exports vast leisure catamarans to Mexico.
We export Jason Donovan CDs to North Korea.
We exported Nigel Farage to America – though he seems to have come back/
And across the world there are countries that are yearning to engage with us where we have old friendships and burgeoning new partnerships
Aand that is the vision for Britain:
a country that is open, outward-looking, global in mindset and insisting on free trade.
a high wage, low tax, high skill, high productivity economy – with incomes rising fastest for those who are lowest paid.
a country where we level up and unify the entire United Kingdom through better education, better infrastructure and technology.
a country where provided you obey the law and do no harm to others you can live your life and love whomsoever you choose.
a country that leads the world with clean green technology and in reducing greenhouse gases that cause climate change.
a country that is happy and confident about its future.
That is the vision for the country we love and when the opposition finally screw their courage to the sticking point and agree to have an election, when the chlorinated chickens waddle from the hencoop where they are hiding
That is the vision of the country that we will put to the people.
And the choice is clear.
We put up wages – with the biggest expansion of the living wage for a generation; Corbyn would put up taxes for everyone.
We back our superb armed forces around the world; Corbyn has said he wants them disbanded.
We want an Australian-style points based system for immigration; Corbyn says he doesn’t even believe in immigration controls.
If Jeremy Corbyn were allowed into Downing Street, he would whack up your taxes, he would foul up the economy, he would rip up the alliance between Britain and the USA, and he would break up the UK.
We cannot allow it to happen.
But it is worse than that.
It has become absolutely clear that he is determined now to frustrate Brexit.
What do we want and need? Do we want more dither and delay.
Do we want to spend another billion pounds a month that could be going on the NHS?
Let’s get Brexit done, and let’s finally believe in ourselves and what we can do.
This country has long been a pioneer.
We inaugurated the steam age, the atomic age, the age of the genome, we led the way in parliamentary democracy, in female emancipation. And when the whole world had succumbed to a different fashion, this country and this party pioneered ideas of free markets and privatisation that spread across the planet.
Every one of them was controversial, every one of them was difficult but we have always had the courage to be original, to do things differently, and now we are about to take another giant step to do something no one thought we could do, to reboot our politics, to relaunch ourselves into the world and to dedicate ourselves again to that simple proposition that we are here to serve the democratic will of the British people and if we do that with optimism and confidence then I tell you we will not go wrong.
Let’s get on with sensible moderate one nation but tax-cutting Tory government and figuratively if not literally let us send Jeremy Corbyn into orbit where he belongs.
Let’s get Brexit done.
Let’s bring our country together.