March 29, 2021

Spring Forum 2021: The Party Co-Chairman’s Speech In Full

Read Party Co-Chairman Amanda Milling’s speech to Conservative Spring Forum 2021 in full here:

Hello and welcome to Spring Forum

and Welsh Conference 2021.

After the success of Virtual Party Conference

I’m delighted to be opening our first ever

Virtual Spring Forum and Welsh Conference.

A huge thank you to David Comerford, Angus Lloyd-Skinner and Kate Jenkins.

And the whole team at CCHQ

for all their hard work to bring you a jam-packed couple of days.

And I cannot thank my fantastic Co-Chairman Ben Elliot enough for all of the support

he’s given to the Party this past year.

He’s a tremendous asset working tirelessly to improve our

Party and raise the money which funds our campaigns.

Last year we cancelled Spring Forum,

so I’m so glad we’ve all been able to come together,

even if we can’t meet in person.

While we’ve had to stay at home,

this virtual format has been a fantastic way

for us to carry on with Party life.

And I cannot thank you all enough

for the role that you have played in this.

This past year has been challenging

but you’ve adapted to life online.

You’ve seamlessly moved AGMs

and selections online

You’ve become so adept at virtual fundraisers

that our Party is no longer known for raffles,

but for its virtual quizzes!

And events, like this have allowed us to

keep our party together while we can’t be together.

Friends, I can today announce that

we have over 200,000 members.

From the North East to the South West.

From Wales to Northern Ireland.

We’ve seen our membership grow in every region of our country.

This is a fantastic achievement,

in what has been a really challenging year for the Party.

And I want to thank you all for the work you’ve done

to reach out and get more people involved.

You are the ones that shape our Party.

You pick our leaders including our fantastic Prime Minister.

You deliver the leaflets that get Conservatives elected.

You are the bedrock of our Party and I want

to thank you all for everything that you do.

In the 2019 General Election we saw the power

you and our supporters can bring

You shape our Party and I need your help

to recruit even more members.

By all working together

we can build a bigger, better and stronger team

to help us with elections this year and beyond.

The past year has been like no other.

It’s seen us lose loved ones, COVID has put our lives on hold.

But it’s down to the determination of our

Prime Minister the brainpower of our scientists

and the hard work of our NHS

and social care workers and so many more

that we are on the road to recovery.

With every jab we make, we are one step closer

to stopping this ghastly virus in its tracks.

The past year has been so tough for so many

But it’s also shown the best of our country.

And I want to take this moment to pay tribute to people from across the

Conservative Party family, our MPs, our Councillors,

our Members, our Supporters

who have given up their time to help others.

It’s these small acts of kindness

that have helped keep our country together,

and also to keep our community spirit thriving.

With the huge efforts you’ve all gone to to control the virus

and the successful rollout of the vaccine,

I have no doubt that the Conservative Party family

will soon be able to meet in person again.

Now while we may not be able to come together today,

we can certainly get out campaigning.

So I hope you’ve rested your legs over the last year

because we’ve got a bumper crop of elections coming up

on Thursday the 6th of May.

Mayorals, Police and Crime Commissioners,

Councils, Scotland, Wales,

and now by-elections in Hartlepool and Scotland.

Friends, I have to level with you.

These are going to be a really tough set of elections.

We’re 11 years into Government

Heading into the 11th year of power,

the Thatcher Government had lost 3,000 council seats.

After 10 years in Government,

The Labour Party had lost over 4,000 council seats.

Now I don’t want history to repeat itself,

and there’s everything to play for in May,

but we must be honest about the challenge we’re facing.

We’re defending almost 2,000 council seats –

the largest of any Party

And thanks to your hard work

we’re starting from an incredibly high base.

In 2017 we saw our best performance in a decade,

gaining over 550 seats.

And the unexpected wins of the Mayors

in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough,

the West of England

Tees Valley and the West Midlands.

Those elections were when Jeremy Corbyn was leader.

In his four years of opposition

Corbyn lost over 500 council seats,

making him the worst performing Leader of the Opposition

in local elections since Michael Foot.

And let’s not forget those pesky Lib Dems:

In the 2017 locals, they recorded their worst ever result

since the Party was launched in 1988.

Now there will be a post Corbyn bounce

and the Lib Dems are looking for a revival

to bring them back from obscurity.

So we have to get out there

and do all we can to stop them in their tracks.

Because you and I know that

Labour, the Lib Dems, the Greens and Independents

are just not up to the job.

Friends, I want to spend a little bit of time

talking about the new Labour leader.

It’s nearly a year since Keir Starmer became Leader of the Labour Party

and we still don’t know what he stands for.

Time after time he’s called for things

the Government is already doing.

He’s done three launch speeches that had nothing in them

because he simply doesn’t know what he believes in.

In place of any ideas, he’s trying to hoodwink voters

by claiming to represent their values.

Keir Starmer may claim he stands up for you,

but we all know that’s just not the case.

He loyally served in Jeremy Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet,

and we all know the risk he posed to our great country.

As leader, Starmer ordered his Party to vote against measures

to toughen up sentences for violent criminals

which keep our streets safer.

When we announced funding to help improve towns

Starmer’s response was to criticise where the money was going.

He suggested that these places didn’t deserve it,

rather than backing our efforts to improve where people live.

Starmer is too keen to score political points

than support this Conservative Government’s

efforts to level up the country.

But it’s not just Keir Starmer in Westminster

who doesn’t want to improve where you live.

Labour councils are too obsessed with

debates over toppling statues and renaming streets

to focus on what matters to you;

And Labour run Croydon, Nottingham and Liverpool

had been brought to the brink of ruin

by poor mismanagement by Labour politicians.

And let’s not forget the Lib Dems.

They’ve been delivering leaflets despite being warned

that this was in breach of the guidelines to keep people safe.

It’s clear that there is nothing they won’t do

for their own political gain.

I also know our friends across the borders

have tough fights too.

In Scotland where the SNP are fighting… the SNP…

The great Douglas Ross is offering a chance

to stop a second independence referendum in its tracks.

In Wales where the Coronavirus has shone a light on Welsh

Labour’s decades of failings,

Andrew RT Davies is offering people a plan to rebuild.

So wherever you are, let’s get out there

and bang the drum for our fantastic

Conservative candidates up and down the country.

I know the campaign so far hasn’t been normal.

As Co-Chairman of the Conservative Party and an avid campaigner,

I never imagined I’d be asking people not to campaign.

But it was necessary to help beat

the Coronavirus and keep people safe.

We have just over a month to get out there

and campaign responsibly on the doorsteps

and make sure the only thing we lose is our lockdown pounds.

You have displayed a great deal of responsibility

during this pandemic and I have every confidence you’ll

continue to operate in a COVID-secure way

by using this guidance and following the principles of

Hands, Face, Space.

So let’s dust off our delivery bags

and hit the streets to spread the word

about Conservatives in charge of your local services.

I look forward to joining you out campaigning.

There’s light at the end of the tunnel,

full of possibility, hope and the promise of new beginnings.

Let’s make sure it is even brighter

and make the most of this short, sharp

and cheerful campaign to get even more Conservatives

elected as Mayors, Councillors and PCCs.

Thank you.
Region Labour's Pension Tax (£) Extra Months to Work
England 11,167 44
East Midlands 6,150 50
Greater London 12,871 45
North East 9,758 38
North West 6,835 47
South East 14,270 40
South West 7,407 45
West Midlands 10,729 41
Northern Ireland 13,718 35
Scotland 10,653 41
Wales 11,691 36
United Kingdom 11,253 43

Commenting, Therese Coffey, Secretary of State for the Department of Work and Pensions, said:

“Corbyn’s Pension Tax will see ten million savers facing a huge bill forcing them to delay their retirement for almost three and a half years.
“This is just one of the ways a Corbyn government would hammer hardworking people on top of his plans to hike up taxes by £2,400 a year, as well as the cost of his plan for unlimited immigration and the chaos of 2020 being dominated by two more referendums – one on Brexit and another on Scottish independence.
“Only Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party can get Brexit done with a deal, get parliament working again and turbocharge our economy to unleash Britain’s potential.”

Read more about how this Pension Tax will impact millions of savers (PDF)