This week Parliament returned from one of the busiest Conference seasons of recent years. I know some will see it as bias, but the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham really was the only one which set out a clear path and commitment to working for the people of the UK.
UKIP and Labour were embroiled in leadership battles which showed just how in disarray they both are. Labour has been taken over by the militant left and Jeremy Corbyn has lost what little control he had over his MPs with the moderates amongst them fearing being deselected. The leader of UKIP, Diane James, resigned after just 18 days and then the new contender for the leadership has been embroiled in a fracas.
The Conservatives on the other hand spent Conference showing how we will build a country that works for everyone and make a success of Brexit. We now know the Government will trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty by the end of March 2017 and we could be out of the EU by summer 2019. Theresa May and the Government have been right to take the time to formulate a robust plan to go into negotiations to ensure we get the best deal for Britain. A ‘Great Repeal Bill’ will be introduced which will end the EU’s supremacy over our Parliament and our courts. It will instantly annul the Act which took us into the EU and allow us to keep the EU legislation we want, such as workers’ rights, and scrap the rules which hamper the UK, like fishing quotas. In land locked Derbyshire the way our fishing industry has been decimated by the EU is mentioned to me time and again by voters on the doorstep.
Our Conference firmly placed us in the centre ground of Politics and showed we are the true party of working people and those who want to get on in life. Mrs May outlined how the economy should be as free as possible, but not at the expense of the poorest in society and how the Government should be prepared to intervene when required to save jobs. However, as the Chancellor reaffirmed in his speech, we remain committed to reducing and ultimately eradicating the deficit but recognise the need for internal investment which will help our industries to thrive. Indeed Mr Hammond announced a new £220 million investment into “bio-medical catalysts” and “tech transfer offices”, technologies for the future where Britain can be at the cutting edge developing systems and products which will encourage interest at home and abroad and new and exciting jobs will be created.
This year’s Conference was also an opportunity for all party members, including myself, to thank David Cameron for everything he did not only for our party but for our country. He was indeed a great modern Prime Minister, history will look on him favourably as someone who brought together two different parties to form a Government at a time of great national division to work in the national interest and bringing our great country back from the brink of bankruptcy. He will also be missed as a good local MP for his Constituency of Witney.
Theresa May did an excellent job in her first Conference speech since becoming Prime Minister and Party Leader. In both her speech on the first day about Brexit and the speech to close the four day event she displayed poise, intellect and a ferocious commitment to public service. As Home Secretary she displayed her ability to handle difficult situations and the tenacious spirit this country needs in its leader especially at a time of such tremendous change. There will be difficult times ahead when our Country will be tested in more ways than one, but I am sure from what I saw at Conservative Party Conference this year, Theresa May will deliver on Brexit and a better future for the UK.
(This article was originally written for the Derby Telegraph).