Good Afternoon Conference.
I’m delighted that we are in Manchester once again.
As Andrew highlighted. Just over four months ago, this city and its people were the victims of a horrendous terror attack. Aimed particularly at young people.
It left 22 dead and scores injured.
It is hard to imagine the impact on those families who have lost loved ones. Those injured. Their lives changed forever.
In response to this attack, Manchester came together.
This great city is an example to us all.
Far from being driven apart and divided, Manchester, and its people, are closer together and more united.
We want to thank Greater Manchester Police. The North-West Ambulance Service. And the staff of our NHS.
For the way in which they dealt with the attack. Treating those injured, and dealing with the consequences of such an atrocity.
We are grateful to you all. Thank you.
Conference. This has been another unpredictable year in politics.
We had brilliant local election results. We also had a general election that nobody expected to take place. We did not get the result we hoped for.
Ahead of those local elections in May, I was out with our members across the country.
I saw the hard work and dedication of our volunteers and our candidates.
It is because of you that we achieved some outstanding results, winning overall control of ten more councils, gaining over five hundred and fifty councillors.
For a sitting Government, it was an incredible result.
We took overall control of Lincolnshire. Norfolk. Cambridgeshire. Gloucestershire. East Sussex. Suffolk. Warwickshire. The Isle of Wight. Lancashire.
In my own county, Derbyshire, we delivered a majority of ten on the County Council - something that has not happened in decades.
Across the country, we took seats from Labour. From the Liberal Democrats. From UKIP.
In the mayoral elections, we saw four Conservatives elected in some of England’s biggest cities.
In the West Midlands, Andy Street delivered a huge victory. One that many predicted wasn’t possible. And now, in the second largest city in the country, we have a Conservative Mayor.
Well done Andy, thank you for your hard work and that of all the Conservative associations across the West Midlands - and beyond - who helped you to deliver such a stunning result.
Ben Houchen in the Tees Valley also delivered a result which many said couldn’t happen.
A Conservative mayor for Darlington? Hartlepool? Stockton-on-Tees?
Well Ben, you’ve proven them wrong - and made us all proud.
In Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, James Palmer ensured that a strong, local, Conservative voice will fight for an area which includes one of the world’s top universities and some of the world’s leading technology companies.
Tim Bowles in the West of England is now representing Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire. And Jacob Rees-Mogg.
I want to congratulate each new Conservative mayor along with all those new councillors and council leaders.
Thank you to every single Conservative activist, candidate and associations who fought so hard to get them elected.
Along with the rest of the Cabinet, I supported the Prime Minister’s decision to have a General Election.
We did not get the result we wanted.
Every Parliamentary Election I have fought has been different – and this was my tenth.
I’ve seen the party win and I’ve seen us lose too - I know why we want to win and what winning feels like.
When people write about this year’s general election, some seem to forget the fact that we did win.
We have a Conservative Prime Minister in Downing Street.
A Prime Minister who will be leading those crucial Brexit negotiations and working hard at home to build a country that works for everyone.
This is only possible because of your hard work.
Your hard work delivered some remarkable results.
We increased our share of the vote for the fifth election in a row.
We won seats like Stoke on Trent South and Mansfield. We haven’t held a Stoke seat since 1935, until Jack Brereton. We’ve never won Mansfield before - until Ben Bradley.
We achieved a tremendous result in Scotland, winning thirteen seats where we only had one. With Ruth and the Prime Minister, we have secured the Union. And - Conference. Alec Salmond was defeated by Colin Clark, the new Conservative Member of Parliament for Gordon.
Because of your hard work, we’ve been joined by new MPs. Lee Rowley in North East Derbyshire, Simon Clarke in Middlesbrough South & East Cleveland. Kirstene Hair in Angus.
But. Conference. We did not get a majority.
We lost some brilliant colleagues and friends.
I want to pay tribute to those candidates who fought and didn’t win their seat.
I know how difficult this election was for some candidates and some members. The vile abuse faced by some colleagues was outrageous.
We have acted.
The Prime Minister takes this seriously. I take it seriously. Your party takes it seriously and we do not want to see it happen again.
The Prime Minister has asked the Committee on Standards in Public Life to look into this and suggest measures to protect those who take part in our democratic process. I gave evidence to the Committee and we as a party have made representations - highlighting many of the disgusting abuses that took place.
It has no place in our great democracy.
I know how hard it is to lose - I fought my first election in 1983 - in Wolverhampton South East and lost.
To those of you that fought and lost, I hope that you will give it another go. Fight again.
During the election I visited dozens of seats up and down the country.
I saw how hard you fought this year. I want you fighting at the next election.
I want to thank you all for your work, not just at the general election, but at the local elections and every time you do anything to support our party.
You, our members, are the heart and soul of our party.
I have been a member of this party for over 40 years. I, like you, care passionately about the Conservative Party. And, like you, I am proud to be a Conservative.
I am sorry that we did not get the result we hoped for - and I know, as do all of my colleagues, that was not because of a lack of hard work on your part.
Conference - you, our members, are the reason we are still in Government.
We are not complacent. There is no place for it.
At CCHQ we are making necessary changes to ensure that - working together - we can deliver a majority when the next election comes.
We are changing the way that we work. We’ve brought in new people. And we’ve developed new technology to take the fight to Labour.
Mick Davis has taken on a new role as Chief Executive.
We’ve appointed new Vice-Chairmen.
Stephen Hammond to head up our efforts in London.
Alec Shelbrooke for our international work
David Brownlow to head up our campaigning.
And we are working on more appointments.
We know that having local campaign managers works.
So we are appointing more of them across the country. To work hand-in-hand with you to ensure that when the next election comes we are ready.
And we are going to invest in them to ensure they are here for the long term.
I want to welcome the new members of the team and say how grateful I am that you are working to build the best campaigning organisation we can.
But, more important than all that, we’re listening to our members across the country.
You know our party, its candidates and what we need to do to improve better than anyone.
Eric Pickles has completed his review into this year’s general election.
I want to thank Eric for all his work over the summer to improve our party.
He’s been listening to your views.
I hope that you took the opportunity to share your experiences and thoughts about the campaign and what we need to do to make this party stronger.
As part of that review, the Deputy Chairman, Amanda Sater and I have taken part in member forums across the country to hear from Party Members directly.
It’s always inspiring, hearing the work that you have done on the doorstep.
We won’t stop listening. At this conference we will be listening to your ideas.
I will be out visiting associations across the country to hear about new ways of campaigning - what works in your area. What we need to do better.
I have been where you have been. Like the Prime Minister, I come from the voluntary party. We were both councillors before we became Members of Parliament.
40 years ago, I attended my first Party Conference.
I have the programme here.
My attendance wasn’t as remarkable as that of another young man.
He told Conference that year that most of us wouldn’t be here in forty years time.
Well, like me, a few of us still are.
I am proud to say that, at this conference, I am reintroducing contributions from the floor.
From our members.
Perhaps from the next William Hague.
I know that our party needs to listen to its membership - because without you we wouldn’t get the results we achieve.
You pound the streets. You are out there week after week.
And that is crucial ahead of next year’s local elections.
We all know that the easiest thing in public life is to spend money other people’s money.
There will always be pressures to spend more money.
But what makes us different from Labour is we know you have to earn that money – it is never the Government’s, it is yours.
Labour always take it too far. We know you have to take a balanced approach.
I say this to Jeremy Corbyn. It’s easy to be a big spender. But. Let me get right to the point. People have to pay for it.
We know that Labour will always run out of other people’s money.
It’s why we have to ensure we have Conservatives representing British people across the country, at local, regional and national levels of our politics.
Next year, we have crucial local elections in London, the West Midlands and many other areas of the country.
This couldn’t be more important.
We have to fight each and every seat. We have to work together.
We cannot allow our councils to become socialist enclaves - Corbyn’s ideas played out on our streets.
Ideas that went out of fashion in the 1970s cannot make a return in 2018.
Ideas that don’t make economic sense.
Ideas that would set this country back decades.
The Conservative Party needs you out there. Knocking on doors. Delivering leaflets. Putting yourself up for election.
Making those arguments.
Standing up for Conservative ideas.
To make sure that this is a country that works for everyone.
Conference, we have to remember what we work together for.
We work together to deliver a Conservative Government.
That matters at every level of our party.
Just look at our achievements to see what that is so important.
When we came to office in 2010, the Labour Government took income tax from people earning just £6,500.
In 2017, taxpayers don’t start paying income tax until they earn £11,500 thanks to Conservatives in Government.
It means that a basic rate tax payer keeps over £1,000 more of their earnings each year.
In 2010, under Labour, unemployment was at almost 8%. Now, under the Conservatives, it’s at just over 4%.
It means more people in work, earning a pay packet and supporting their family.
In 2010, under Labour, corporation tax was 28%. Now, under the Conservatives, it’s 19%.
In the last year that Labour were in power, it brought in £36.6 billion and in 2016 it brought in £49 billion. Despite cutting the rate.
It means businesses invest in this country. It allows us to fund our NHS. Our schools. Our police forces.
In 2010 Labour were borrowing one pound in ever four spent. Conservatives have made real progress on reducing our deficit – it is down by nearly two-thirds.
It means we can invest in infrastructure. It safeguards our economy for the long-term. It keeps mortgage rates low.
Crime is down by more than a third since 2010.
It means that people are safer on the streets and in their home.
We have a proud record in Government.
And we should remember that we have done all of this despite being handed a disastrous economic legacy by the last Labour government.
We’ve made Britain better, and we’ve made it better because the Conservatives are in Government.
And the simple fact is, Conference, that we are only in government because of you, andbecause of your hard work ensuring that we can form one.
We can do more.
We must do more.
And we will do more.
This is an ambitious government; a government with high aspirations for our country; a government with a vision to deliver them.
Last year, on becoming Prime Minister, Theresa May spoke on Downing Street about fighting injustices.
We know that the Conservative party has the answers. We’ve shown that through our strong record over the past seven years.
As we look to the future, it will be a Conservative Prime Minister
With a Conservative Cabinet.
Delivering for Britain.
We are working to continue to deliver a strong economy and world-class public services.
Dealing with our debts, but also investing.
Keeping taxes low.
Taking a balanced approach.
Delivering the best Brexit deal for Britain. A deal which works for Britain.
Ensuring fairness for working people. Making sure that we have a country where you get out what you put in.
Fighting injustices like the gender pay gap, modern day slavery, and racism and discrimination,
As well as providing greater help and recognition for those with mental health conditions.
And every step of the way we will protect and strengthen the Union – the precious bond between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
We have come so far.
In the seven years we have been in Government we have delivered so much.
In Government we will continue to make our country better.
And it is only possible to do this with your support.
Thank you for everything you have done this year.
Thank you for everything you will do in the future. For the Conservative Party. For your communities. For our Country.
I hope you enjoy Conference.