Day 3 at the CPC17

Browse By

Day three was a fantastic day for CPC17. Delegates were treated to great speeches by our Health Secretary, our Home Secretary, the Secretary of State for International Trade, Brexit Secretary, Defence Secretary and the brilliant Boris Johnson, Foreign Secretary. As you can imagine, it was pretty packed. It was as if all was forgiven. Even at the Northern Ireland reception, I felt a sense of forgiveness for Theresa May when we had a delightful conversation following her speech to delegates. The Conservative Party leadership has proven itself united behind our Prime Minister following two days of tension.

Jeremy Hunt addresses the Conservative Party Conference

To kick off the morning, I queued for two hours in order to see Jeremy Hunt’s speech on the state of our NHS during the “Fighting Injustices” session. During this, delegates listened to the passionate story of Debra Hazeldine who was let down by the NHS during the Mid Staffordshire crisis. She described the tragic “culture of no bad culture allowed” and how our Health Secretary was kind during her plight when many were not, and how he listened and cares when many did not. The key message at the end, to me, was that who speaks out for the vulnerable patients who have no one? It was this which resonated with me. For years I’ve always known that politics isn’t a game, perhaps without quite appreciating why. I now understand why. With politics, you can make or break the lives of millions of people, and it is the politician’s responsibility to make sure that it is the former which we do. When Jeremy Hunt took to the podium, the audience reflected on the many successes of our Health Secretary, such as the UK being the first ever country to introduce an Ofsted system style of rating for hospitals and the issue of openness and transparency, and how they are vital to change the culture within the NHS, was discussed. It was recognised that there is still more to do. Every week, there are 150 avoidable deaths, and four times a week, a baby is born brain damaged. But it cannot be forgotten that Labour doesn’t have a monopoly on our NHS. Their economic plans, according to Hunt, would leave the NHS strapped for cash as Labour crashes our economy – they cannot be trusted with either.

Before our Home Secretary took to the stage, an unexpected guest, Bear Grylls, gave an important warning to the Party: “if you ignore young people, you perish”. This surely was a relevant warning as it was revealed recently that the average age of a Tory member is now 70. The best step the party can take is to make proper policies for young people to win them over from Corbyn’s socialist trap.

Amber Rudd spoke at length, discussing solutions to many societal ailments

Our Home Secretary spoke passionately about a range of social issues that plague our society. The controversial subject of encryption software for messages sent via mediums such as WhatsApp came up, and she called on internet companies to rid platforms of terror-related materials. She delivered a stern message to these companies: act now and honour your moral obligations. As Amber Rudd alluded to, it was somewhat a record that she was able to speak for so long without mentioning the “b-word” – Brexit! Rudd announced to conference that this conservative government was committed to working with businesses to avoid unnecessary burdens regarding immigration post-Brexit. With regards to tackling the plague of acid attacks which are, tragically, on the rise, in order to stop the needless ruining of lives, the sale of acid products will be banned for those under 18 – surely a positive move which demonstrates how seriously our Home Secretary takes the matter at hand.

Controversial? Boris Johnson makes a Libya-themed joke to many people’s displeasure

The conference was then graced by the speeches of Liam Fox, David Davis, and Boris Johnson. They felt it was important to stress how “the naysayers got it wrong” with Liam Fox highlighting that, thanks to sound economic management, the UK enjoys its highest inward investment ever and that British businesses are enjoying an 11% increase in exports under his leadership of the Department of International Trade. Davis spoke passionately about his vision for the future of Britain in a post-Brexit world. The potential of free trade was discussed prominently with our Brexit Secretary talking about the benefits of it, for example how one billion people have been taken out of poverty thanks to global free trade. Our Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, generated controversy during his speech. Mr Johnson, in reference to growing global cities and markets, said that “they have a brilliant vision to turn Sirte … into the next Dubai” but “the only thing they’ve got to do is clear the dead bodies away”. This caused some backlash against the Foreign Secretary with Conservative MP Heidi Allen writing on Twitter that his words were “100% unacceptable”, adding that “Boris must be sacked for this”. Will this be career-damaging stuff? Not at all. Labour has deep-rooted, open, anti-semitism within their leadership yet very little is done about that; I’m sure a joke by Boris won’t bring the party to its knees.

Day three was certainly packed with some top quality, thought-provoking, and relevant speeches. The Prime Minister, as with on other days, met with activists attending receptions in the evening at the Midland Hotel, which has certainly helped mend the wounds of June’s election. Day four of CPC17 will bring with it the Prime Minister’s main speech, which is said to be a make-or-break event for Theresa May’s leadership, I look forward to covering it. Until then, I have Freedom Fizz to attend.

NB: By the time of publication, the gaff at the Prime Minister’s speech will have certainly swept through the airwaves. An in-depth article will be covering the incident in due course.