October 03, 2021

The network of liberty | CPC21 Speeches

Liz Truss, Foreign Secretary, addressed Conservative Party Conference 2021 about how we will build a network of liberty across the globe.

Here is what she said:

It is an honour to be appointed Foreign Secretary.

We have much to be proud of.

Under the leadership of our Prime Minister we are delivering for the United Kingdom and the world.

The Oxford/AZ vaccine is being rolled out in record time …

… It is being produced in countries from Mexico to India … to the benefit of people across the globe.  

We are striking new trade deals around the world … championing innovation and enterprise … and supporting development.

Britain has always been a lodestar of freedom and democracy.

But these freedoms need to be advanced – particularly at a time of immense global change.

The democratic world order faces a stark choice. Either we retreat and retrench in the face of malign actors … or we club together and advance the cause of freedom. 

We need to rise to meet this moment.

Today, I want to explain how our foreign policy will create a better Britain, and exert our global influence in this fight for freedom.

Network of liberty

My vision is to strengthen our economic and security ties in order to build a network of liberty around the world. 

We will have a positive, proactive and patriotic foreign policy that expands trade routes, strengthens security partnerships, and supports development around the world.

We want to trade with and invest in more countries to our mutual benefit – which leads to freer and wealthier societies aligned to the cause of liberty, spreading the human rights and values we believe in. 

We must win this battle for economic influence … and this starts with forging closer ties with our friends and allies including:

o   The G7 and NATO …

o   Our Pacific partners like Australia, Japan and Mexico …

o   The great democracy of India and our friends across the Commonwealth …

o   Israel …

o   South Korea

o   The Gulf states …

o   Those countries who escaped the USSR and fought for freedom … like the so-called Visegrad Four and the Baltic 3 …

o   And of course our vital strategic partner the United States.

Challenging malign actors from a position of strength

We can only challenge malign actors from a position of strength.

We will deliver this through better security … better trade … and better development support.

On security … we are striking new pacts to protect our sea routes, trade routes and freedoms.

Aukus – our new partnership with the US and Australia – will help Australia acquire nuclear-powered submarines … and defend their territorial waters.

We are in talks with Japan about better military access and operational support between our two countries …

We want closer security ties with key allies like India and Canada in everything from fighting cyber to traditional defence capability …

We are demonstrating this with the visible armed presence of our carrier strike group.

We are investing in our capability … spending more than 2% of GDP on defence … the biggest since the Cold War.

I want our allies from the Baltic to the Tasman to know that Britain stands with them and that together we will stand up to our adversaries and promote the cause of freedom.

On the economy, we believe in working with our friends and allies and helping countries grow through enterprise and infrastructure investment.

We’ve struck trade deals covering 68 countries.

We are deepening trade routes with the world’s fastest-growing economies.

The Trade Secretary is negotiating advanced deals with India, Mexico, Canada, Israel, the Gulf, and more.

We are the first country to negotiate entry to the Trans-Pacific Partnership … and we want more like-minded countries to join us …

We are strengthening ties with ASEAN …

We are working with allies like the US and Japan to finance clean infrastructure in developing countries that is reliable and honest.

This will boost jobs and growth here in Britain … and mean those countries are not subject to strings-attached agreements with autocratic regimes.

We are working on new tech deals with the US and Singapore …

We need global technology standards to be shaped by the free world – not by authoritarian regimes.

On development … I will be focusing on women and girls.

I want to make sure more girls get a quality education.

I want to take on the appalling practice of female genital mutilation.

And I will make it my mission to end the abhorrent use of sexual violence in wars around the world.


Promoting freedom

We will build coalitions of the willing to advance these causes.

We will also be tough on those who don’t share our values and don’t play by the rules.

It is important we trade with China, but we must make sure it is reliable trade … that it avoids strategic dependency … and that it does not involve the violation of intellectual property rights or forced technology transfer.

The world is safer and more prosperous when countries abide by their international obligations.

We will reach out to more countries who haven’t historically been aligned to Britain … and encourage a freer, more prosperous world.

As Mrs Thatcher said in her Guildhall speech just days after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989: “the message is clear … when people are free to choose, they choose freedom.”

And we need to give countries across the world that choice.

The freer a country is the wealthier it is … the more secure it is … the greener it is

It is less likely to harbour terrorists and radical fundamentalists …

It is less likely to have huge migration outflows.

And less likely to go to war.

Freedom enables enterprise to flourish … people to flourish … girls and women to flourish.

It’s the best way to influence the world and tackle the great issues of our age.


Delivering for people across Britain

It is also the way we will build a more competitive, more confident Britain.

Deeper trade links mean more jobs in the Scotch whisky industry, the car industry in the North East, and tech industry here in Manchester.

Our Aukus agreement will make Britain safer and create hundreds of skilled jobs, from the shipyards of Govan to the factories of Tyneside.

Our new cleaner, greener investment into developing countries will mean more jobs for British architects, engineers and technologists.

This is the work I will be doing as Foreign Secretary …

Banging the drum for Britain abroad to deliver for people here at home.

Britain has always been at its best as an outward-looking, optimistic nation, confident in its ability to compete and lead.

This is Britain I want us to be – patriotic and positive.

This is why people voted for our Prime Minister Boris Johnson with such an overwhelming majority in 2019.

And it is the fundamental point about Britain that the Labour Party has never understood.

People want to feel proud of their country and their local area.

They want to see Britain doing well on the international stage.

They are fed up with the talk of decline … and the sneering about our place in the world.

Last week at conference, Labour members voted against the Australia-US submarine deal … showing just how out of touch they are.

I know that other countries have huge trust in Britain and want to work with us.

They are enthusiastic for everything from our Premier League, to our music and brilliant products like cars, fashion and food.

We are a great country …. a successful, modern, liberal, free enterprise country that time and time again has stood up to despots and tyrants.

We have led the emancipation of minorities … and are one of the best countries in the world to be black, a woman or LGBT.

We can be proud of our record.

And yet despite this, there are those on the Left who believe in moral equivalence between Britain and our adversaries.

Jeremy Corbyn may no longer be leader, but the same spirit lives on the Labour Party.

This moral relativism translates into their attitudes here at home, and has given rise to a creeping illiberalism that threatens our fundamental freedoms.


Freedom starts at home

Freedom starts at home … and we need to win the fight for freedom here in Britain.

That means as Conservatives we will stand up for free speech … we will stand up for a free press … and we will give everyone across the Britain the opportunity to succeed… regardless of background.

We reject the zero sum game of identity politics …

We reject the illiberalism of cancel culture …

And we reject the soft bigotry of low expectations that holds so many people back.

We are focusing on the questions keeping people up at night: can my child get a good education … do I have good access to public services … am I free from discrimination in the office or on the shop floor?

These are the bread and butter equality issues people really care about.

We want to make sure that Britain is more competitive, bolder and more forward-leaning than any other country on earth.

The best way to advance our aims is to deepen our economic partnerships and build this network of liberty.

By doing so, we will support freer and better societies across the globe … to the mutual benefit of Britain and the world.


Britain’s best days lie ahead

I reject the voices of decline. I believe that Britain’s best days are ahead of us.

We will put the UK at the heart of a network of economic, diplomatic and security partnerships.

We will help other countries grow through enterprise and trade.

And we will make our country more competitive, safer, and freer.

This is how, as Foreign Secretary, I will ensure our foreign policy delivers for everyone across our great country.