Theresa May’s Speech to the Conservative Spring Forum
March 17, 2017
Well, thank you very much, everybody.
It’s good to be here in Cardiff today for our Spring Forum and Welsh Conference.
Bringing these two events together under one banner reminds us once again that we are – and will always be – the Conservative and Unionist Party – the only Party today that represents and delivers for every part of this precious United Kingdom.
I’d like to thank Alun Cairns for that introduction. Alun is a determined and passionate campaigner for Wales’s interests in Whitehall, always standing up for Welsh interests in government and speaking up for this great nation of the UK at the Cabinet table.
And I would also like to pay tribute to the work of the Conservative Group in the National Assembly – and particularly to its leader, Andrew RT Davies – the clearest, and without doubt, the loudest voice at Cardiff Bay doing the important work of holding the Labour Government to account.
Thank you to you also for all the work that you do for our Party here in Wales.
Thanks to you, some of our Party’s best results at the last general election were achieved right here.
In the North, James Davies taking the Vale of Clywd from Labour.
In Mid Wales, Chris Davies taking Brecon & Radnorshire back from the Liberal Democrats.
In this city, Craig Williams holding Cardiff North with a majority more than ten-times greater than we achieved in 2010.
And in the south-west, Byron Davies, becoming the first Conservative MP for Gower in its 130 years’ history.
Not so long ago, people were quick to write us off here in Wales. And I remember those days. People said we couldn’t win here again. But you proved them wrong. And today we are winning in Wales once more.
People said the same elsewhere, too. They said we couldn’t win in the North of England.
But tell that to the voters of Copeland and their new, brilliant Member of Parliament Trudy Harrison – the first Conservative Member of Parliament for Copeland since before the second world war.
This is the modern Conservative Party – reaching out to all parts of the country and winning in all parts of the country.
A Party that works for everyone, not just the privileged few.
And right across Great Britain on the 4th of May, people will go to the polls to decide who they want to run their local services, care for their local environment and set the council tax they pay.
In Scotland and here in Wales, there will be all-out elections in every single local authority.
In England, as well as county council and unitary authority elections, some of our great cities and the areas around them will choose powerful new mayors.
As a Party, we go into these important elections confident about the job we can do to serve local people and local communities.
Because from Cardiff to the Cairngorms, from Dover to Durham, people are looking for a party with a Plan to secure a better future for their town or their city, their county and their country.
And our task as Conservatives is clear – we must work to be that Party.
In local elections across Great Britain, that means being the Party that sets out the credible and compelling case to keep council tax low, for more effective and efficient local services and for more responsive representation.
In the elections for new metro-mayors, our candidates:
Andy Street in the West Midlands,
James Palmer in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough,
Sean Anstee in Greater Manchester,
Tony Caldeira in Liverpool city region,
Ben Houchen in Tees Valley, and
Tim Bowles in the West of England…
They must be the candidates pointing the way to a better quality of life, greater social, cultural and economic opportunity, and a more prosperous future for local people – with a Plan to deliver.
And as Her Majesty’s Government of the United Kingdom, responding to and delivering on the decision of the British people to leave the European Union and embark on a new global role, our task is clearer still.
It is to use this moment of opportunity to shape a brighter future for Britain.
It is to use this period of change to step back and ask ourselves what kind of country we want to be.
And it is to use the years ahead to deliver an ambitious programme of economic and social reform that prepares Britain for that brighter future and ensures we emerge stronger, fairer, more united and more outward-looking than ever before.
And that is why today, I want to talk to you about this Government’s Plan for Britain.
A Plan for Britain that will guide our policies and actions.
A Plan for Britain that will deliver a stronger, fairer country.
For we stand on the threshold of one of the most significant moments Britain has known for many years.
During the next two weeks, we will trigger Article 50 and begin the negotiations to secure the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union.
And at such moments – great national moments that define the character of a nation – we have a choice.
We can look forward with optimism and hope, or give in to the politics of fear and despair.
I choose to believe in Britain and that our best days lie ahead.
Because while the road before us may be uncertain at times, I believe – with the British people – that it leads towards a brighter future for our nation’s children and grandchildren.
That brighter future won’t just happen. The stronger, fairer country we want won’t just emerge. It will take effort and focus, discipline and hard work. And above all, it requires that we set out and deliver on a Plan.
So, our Plan for Britain is a Plan for a brighter future.
A Plan to make the most of the opportunities ahead and to build a stronger, fairer Britain that is more united and more outward-looking.
A Plan to get the right deal for Britain abroad yes, but also a better deal for ordinary, working people here at home.
And that is crucial.
For the referendum result was not just a vote to leave the European Union. It was an instruction to change the way our country works – and the people for whom it works – forever.
It was a call to change the balance of Britain – to make this great United Kingdom a country that works for everyone, not just the privileged few.
We – the Conservative Party – understand that.
And we – the Conservative Party – will respond.
We will get the right deal for Britain abroad – forging a new partnership with our friends and allies in Europe, but looking beyond Europe to build relationships with new allies and old friends around the world, too.
And at the same time, we will pursue the ambitious economic and social reforms we need to make Britain work for working people.