What a great Conference we had in Birmingham this year! I’d like to thank West Midlands Police, G4S, all the security staff and the venue team at the International Conference Centre and Hyatt, all of the speakers, and all of the delegates who attended for making it such a fantastic success.
CPC18 saw the reaffirmation of the values that make us all Conservatives, and the principle that if you work hard you can succeed under a Conservative Government. Our Prime Minister was exactly right when she said “let’s make a positive case for our values that will cut through the bitterness and bile that is poisoning our politics. Let’s say it loud and clear: Conservatives will always stand up for a politics that unites us rather than divides us.” We are a party that is decent, moderate, and patriotic, that puts the national interest first, delivers on the issues that the British people care about, and is comfortable with modern Britain in all its diversity.
In the main Hall, and at fringe events across Conference, Conservative Party members spoke about the opportunities we have in front of us to build a better Britain; to help more families and individuals to have the security of owning their own homes; to ensure that our fantastic NHS will always be free at the point of access for everyone; to invest in the new technologies and industries that will pave the way for British innovation so we can export more around the world; to give every child the best possible start in life and to make sure that even more schools are rated as good or excellent; to give our elderly the dignity that they deserve in later life; and to protect and expand the rights and freedoms of the most marginalised and vulnerable in our society.
I was so proud to hear colleague after colleague, activist after activist, talking about their belief in the UK as a bastion of security, freedom and opportunity, and their certainty that our best days lie ahead of us; I completely agree with them. The Conservatives are delivering on Brexit and implementing the decision taken by the electorate in the referendum two years ago: we are leaving the EU on the 29th March next year. No ifs. No buts. I absolutely share the PM’s sentiment when she said that what has befallen the Labour Party is a national tragedy, and that the Conservative Party is not for the few, not even for the many, but for everyone who is willing to work hard and do their best.
It was fantastic to see so many young people getting involved in Birmingham and, for many, CPC18 was their first time coming to a national Conference. I was pleased to host an event for our own Northants Young Conservatives on the fringes of Conference, and to have the opportunity to talk with many of the volunteers and hard-working campaigners who go out day after day speaking to residents about local and national issues. It just goes to show that the Left does not have a monopoly on the youth vote, and many young people are eager to champion the values and ideals offered by the Conservatives.
I had the pleasure of being invited to open the 2018 Youth Zone with a focus on what it means to be a young person in the modern world, as well as discussing our Blueprint for the Economy with young activists at a fringe event. Alongside colleagues, I chaired a panel on Women in Public Life on the main stage where we had some important discussions about how we can better support more women to get involved in politics at a local and national level. The Conservative Women’s Organisation has a hugely important role to play in this, and I was glad to have the opportunity to catch up with Julie Iles and others involved in CWO later on in the Exhibition Hall, as well as talking with the Royal British Legion, the National Farmers Union, the Conservative Friends of Israel, the Midlands Engine, and many others.
Finally, the PM’s speech was incredible. From dancing onto the main stage to ABBA, her fantastic sense of humour came across superbly; her super-gluing skills are clearly beyond par. She spoke with a passion about her optimism for our country in the months and years ahead, about the duty of every Conservative Party member to shape the future of the country and to ensure that we seize this moment of opportunity. I completely agreed with her when she said that there is a whole world out there and that we should lift our horizons to meet it. If you haven’t had an opportunity to watch what Theresa May had to say, you can do so below.