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“Time to reject the ideological templates provided by the socialist left and the libertarian right and to embrace a new centre ground in which government steps up – and not back – to act on behalf of us all.”
Since Theresa May became the Prime Minister we at Conservatives for Liberty have been in a state of confusion. Having railed against her policies for years as an illiberal Home Secretary, we were surprised to have had so much to praise her for in the initial stage of her premiership. The brief love affair is seemingly now over.
We felt buoyant at our extremely successful conference event Freedom Fizz in which over 400 members of the Liberal Right of the Conservative Party gathered together in a show of unity, strength and celebration. The very next day our leader and Prime Minster apparently declared war on us in an alarming speech which steered the Party sharply to the Left.
We now know what Mayism will look like; it’s a form of paternalistic “Tory socialism”. In a speech full of lines that could have been spoken by Ed Miliband; it was made perfectly clear that the ideas of Liberal, free marketers are to be marginalised as we were dismissed scornfully as unreasonable ideologues. Yet her claims to be advancing a non-ideological, pragmatic form of politics simply do not ring true. Her speech was in-fact deeply ideological; it was statist and economically interventionist with an anti-business tone.
We do hope that the Prime Minster does not forget about the successes of the Cameron/Osborne years. Yes, Osborne missed his targets and weakened in deficit reduction, not to mention being far too keen on Brownite stealth taxes, but the pro-business policies of the Cameron/Osborne Government helped to create a booming UK labour market which led to a job creation miracle; this was the driving force behind our economic recovery.
It is baffling that Theresa May, who served in that Government for six years, is determined to put that success under threat with her interventionism and populist caricaturing of business leaders as tax evading villains living off cheap labour and doing British workers down. The Conservative Party should be unashamedly pro-business; especially given the uncertain time ahead as we negotiate our way out of the EU.
The policy floated by Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, that companies who hire “too many” foreign workers will be “named and shamed” is absurd. It is a disgracefully anti-business policy that demonises foreign people who are here legally, working hard. If British businesses are so keen on hiring foreign workers it would be better for this Government to question whether young Britons have the skills, education and work ethic required to compete in our open and dynamic labour market.
There are in-fact 28.1 million British-born people in work today, up 400,000 since 2015, and the evidence that foreign born workers are displacing natives and depressing wages is far from extensive or conclusive. In order to make our young people more employable, we need to look at further education reforms, and ensure that our welfare system does not make idleness an attractive proposition.
The Miliband-esque proposals to bring in energy price controls, implement state industrial strategies and put in place employee representation were particularly appalling and, given that they fly in the face of all evidence that shows them to be poor policies, they are purely ideological.
If the PM wants to reduce the price of energy, she should repeal the 2008 Climate Change Act and get fracking; price controls will hinder investment and risk brownouts or worse. As for industrial strategies, surely the appalling deal struck for Hinckley adequately demonstrates how poor the state is at strategizing? The gimmick policy of employee and/or customer representation on company boards has not worked in Germany, as corporate scandals and the decline in the value of German firms, clearly shows.
We call on the Prime Minister to lead a pro-business Government that understands the solutions that a free market brings and curb this turn to the Left. Reducing the deficit, cutting taxes and allowing business the freedom to flourish and compete is what will bring prosperity and growth to the UK. State interventionism and bashing business will do far more damage than any uncertainty over Brexit negotiations.
So, what do you do if you believe in a balanced budget, free markets, lower taxes and a state that interferes less in our lives? Join Conservatives for Liberty and help us increase our influence!
The views expressed in this article are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Conservatives for Liberty
It’s great to be back in Birmingham – and a privilege to address this conference as Chancellor of the Exchequer. I don’t think I am giving away any state secrets in admitting that I just might have hoped to have been a Treasury Minister a little bit earlier in my political career!
In fact, having been Shadow Chief Secretary for the three years up to the 2010 General Election, I rather think that Liam Byrne’s infamous note to his successor – remember it? – “Dear Chief Secretary, I’m afraid there is no money”– I rather think it was intended for me. But it went to David Laws. Who published it! And so it became, perhaps, the shortest political suicide note in history! Liam, that message to your successor was an admission of Labour’s abject failure.
My predecessor didn’t leave me a note. But if he had, here’s what it would have said: “Dear Chancellor, Employment is up; Wages are rising; the Deficit is down and income tax has been cut for tens of millions of people.” That is the Conservative record. That is the difference Conservative leadership makes. Anyway, I got to the Treasury in the end! I even went down to look at the Gold Reserves at the Bank of England last week. Well, what’s left of them after Gordon Brown sold half of them at the bottom of the market, losing British tax payers £7bn. Another example of Labour failure.
Unlike Brown, I’m fortunate to have an excellent team supporting me in the Treasury. David Gauke as Chief Secretary; Jane Ellison as Financial Secretary and Simon Kirby as Economic Secretary. All ably supported by our Commons Whip Steve Barclay and our PPSs John Glen and Craig Williams. We last met in this hall two years ago, on the eve of the fight of our political lives. A fight between two very different visions of the future. Our, Conservative, vision of a Britain moving forward with a strong economy supporting strong public services. And Labour’s offer of a Britain going back to the bad old days of tax, spend and waste. It is a credit to your hard work… …and the good sense of the British people……that we won that fight.
And we should not forget the debt that this Party owes to the man who led us out of Opposition and into Coalition……and then on to form the first Conservative Government in 18 years: Our former Leader and Prime Minister, David Cameron.
Today, my friends, we meet on the eve of a different challenge. No less daunting. No less crucial to the future of our country. That vote on 23rd June – the first of its kind in Europe – was a defining moment. Not just of this Parliament, but of this generation. The moment when the British people decided to change direction and map out a new path for our country’s future. And whichever side of the argument we were on, we shouldn’t forget this: Only one mainstream political party was prepared to give the British people their say; Only one party delivered that referendum. And only one party unhesitatingly accepted the result. This great party, the Conservative Party. That result in June gave clear voice to a desire by the British people for an end to political union and a restoration of control: Control over the rules and regulations that govern their lives; Control over who can live and work in their country; And control over how their money is spent. And I can reassure the British people of this: that message has been received, loud and clear!
No ifs, no buts, no second referendums. We are leaving the European Union. But it is equally clear to me that the British people did not vote on June 23rd to become poorer, or less secure. So our task is clear: repatriate our sovereignty; control our borders; and seize the opportunities that the wider world has to offer….…but do all of this while protecting our economy, our jobs and our living standards. The message may be simple, but the process will be complex. Successful negotiation with the EU27 will demand patience, experience, meticulous planning and steely resolution. And I know of no-one better-equipped to lead us through those negotiations than our brilliant new Prime Minister, Theresa May. And we should approach that negotiation with self-confidence.
Our economy is the fifth largest in the world… Our nation is built upon a history of global trade….Our people are responsible for some of the most significant inventions and discoveries of history. So no-one should be in any doubt that we have the skills, the ingenuity and the determination to make a success of Brexit. Starting from a position of strength
And thanks, in no small part, to the actions of my predecessor, we enter those negotiations from a position of fundamental economic strength. It’s easy to forget, six years on, the scale of the legacy of Labour’s Great Recession that we inherited in 2010. Turmoil in the markets. A banking system still reeling from the crisis. A deficit of more than 10% of GDP, the highest in our peacetime history.
An economy on the brink. It was the decisions George Osborne took in those early days that pulled us back from the precipice. And set us on a course to recovery.
The tough early choices……and the doggedness in sticking with them……delivered that intangible, but indispensable commodity: credibility. Credibility in the markets that helped secure record low borrowing costs. And credibility with business, securing the investment that supported our recovery. And the results are clear for us all to see: 2.7 million more people in work today under a Conservative Government than in 2010 under Labour. Did we hear that achievement being lauded in Liverpool last week?
Of course not…Because Corbyn’s Labour Party has abandoned the agenda of working people…… deserting the middle ground of British politics……in favour of the socialist ideology of the Metropolitan left-wing elite. Leaving us, the Conservatives, as the true party for working people. Of course, for much of his time as Chancellor, George Osborne faced Ed Balls across the despatch box. Remember Ed Balls? I know you remember him from Saturday night – I’m asking if you remember him from when he was Shadow Chancellor? (you know, of course, that Ed was not their first choice for Strictly? They were going to ask Corbyn – but then they discovered he’s got two left feet!) Yes, I saw Ed on Saturday too – and, not to sound too much like Craig Revel Horwood, I think his Charleston is probably better than his economic analysis! He told us back then that our policies would push the economy into recession. But he was wrong: since 2010, Britain has grown faster than any other economy in the G7. He said we would never replace lost public sector jobs with new private sector jobs. But we did: not one for one – but seven for one! And that’s not all: We got our deficit down by nearly two thirds.
We’ve cut the welfare bill. We’ve kept mortgage rates low, protecting millions of homeowners through difficult times. We’ve cut income tax for 30 million people……taking four million low-paid workers out of income tax altogether. Not bad for an economy that looked out-for-the-count when we took it over in 2010. And a record of which this Party can be very proud. But we cannot rest on our laurels. We must look to the future……to the economic challenges ahead.
Let’s start with the immediate challenge: The markets have calmed since the referendum vote. And many of the recent data have been better than expected. That is the clearest demonstration of the underlying strength of our economy. But there is no room for complacency.
Many businesses which trade with the EU are uncertain about what lies ahead. They have understandable questions about the process of the negotiations. About the deal that will be done. About the changes they will have to make to adapt to the post-Brexit world. And about what it will all mean for their employees, their company, their business model. I understand their concerns: business hates uncertainty. But let me repeat the Prime Minister’s pledge yesterday: As we negotiate our exit from the EU……and our future relationship with it, this Government will fight for the best possible deal for British business and British workers. The best possible access to European markets for our manufacturing and services industries. And the best possible freedoms for our entrepreneurs and global exporters……ensuring Britain after Brexit will remain one of the best places in the world for a business to invest, to innovate and to grow. The independent Bank of England successfully cut interest rates to restore confidence in the wake of the vote.
But as the economy responds over the coming months……fiscal policy may also have a role to play. So let me be clear. Throughout the negotiating process, we are ready to take whatever steps are necessary to protect this economy from turbulence. And when the process is over, we are ready to provide support to British businesses as they adjust to life outside the EU. Because Brexit does mean Brexit….and we ARE going to make a success of it! And in the meantime, I can offer some additional certainty to British businesses and other organisations bidding to receive EU funding while we’re still a member. I’ve already guaranteed the funding for projects signed prior to this year’s Autumn Statement.
Today, I can go further. The Treasury will offer a guarantee to bidders whose projects meet UK priorities and value for money criteria… …that if they secure multi-year EU funding before we exit… …we will guarantee those payments after Britain has left the EU.
As Conservatives, we know that no one owes us a living; that a country has to live within its means. And a fundamental part of maintaining our global competitiveness is getting our public finances back in order. We should, of course, be proud of our achievements in fiscal consolidation. But the work that we began in 2010… …is not finished. The deficit remains unsustainable. And the decision to leave the EU has introduced new fiscal uncertainty. Last year, the government borrowed £1 in every £10 we spent. And piling up debt for our children and our grandchildren to pay off is not only unsustainable.…it’s unfair……and it’s downright un-Conservative.
The British people elected us on a promise to restore fiscal discipline. And that is exactly what we are going to do. But we will do it in a pragmatic way that reflects the new circumstances we face. The fiscal policies that George Osborne set out were the right ones for that time. But when times change, we must change with them. So we will no longer target a surplus at the end of this Parliament. But make no mistake. The task of fiscal consolidation must continue.
And it must happen within the context of a clear, credible fiscal framework that will ……control day-to-day public spending….…deliver value for money……and get Britain back living within our means. At the Autumn Statement in November I will set out our plan to deliver long-term fiscal sustainability……while responding to the consequences of short-term uncertainty……and recognising the need for investment to build an economy that works for everyone.
A Conservative Government demonstrating the flexibility, the common sense and the pragmatism that has made our party the most successful political party in British history. Contrast this responsible, balanced approach with the shambles of Labour in Liverpool last week. In denial about their record in office. Deluded about the state of the public finances today. Not once did Jeremy Corbyn apologise for the mess that Labour left behind. On the contrary, his Shadow Chancellor says their mistake was not to have spent more! If you think their past record is bad……look at their plans for Britain’s future. Corbyn’s big idea is to spend an extra half-a-trillion pounds. That’s £7,700 for every man, woman and child in the UK. (I just hope he remembers to water that magic money tree every night before he goes to bed!) Now, we could speculate as to how Labour would pay for such a spending splurge… …but fortunately we don’t have to.
Because we have the answer from Labour’s last Shadow Chancellor, Chris Leslie. This is what he said last week about how Labour would fund Corbyn’s plan: “you’d have to double income tax. You’d have to double National Insurance. You’d have to double council tax. And you’d have to double VAT as well.” So, there you have it – Labour condemned out of the mouth of one of its own as totally unfit to govern this country. With nothing to offer the hard-working people of Britain. And, as always, it would be the poorest and the most vulnerable who would pay the biggest price. My friends, we in this party now have a great and solemn responsibility, because we alone carry the burden of ensuring that Labour can never again wreck the British economy. The Conservative commitment is to build a country and an economy that works for everyone. To raise our living standards and grow our national wealth. Not just for today, but for future generations too. We know how to do that, we Conservatives. We’ve proved it time after time. Cleaning up Labour’s mess again and again.
We will do it by making the British economy the most outward-looking, most dynamic, most competitive, high wage, high skilled, low tax economy in the world. We will do it by making sure that after Brexit, we go on attracting the brightest and the best……the highest skilled and the most dynamic……entrepreneurs, scientists, engineers and managers from around the world.
And I’ll tell you, it’s a million miles away from the la-la land Labour were describing in Liverpool last week. But to deliver that strong, prosperous, economy……requires long-term, sustainable growth. And long-term sustainable growth requires us to raise our national productivity. Now, before you switch off, I know that productivity doesn’t necessarily set political pulses racing. But bear with me while I try to convince you that it should! How about this? You probably know that our national productivity is lower than the US and Germany… …perhaps you even feel somewhat resigned to that fact? But did you know that it is lower than France…. and Italy too? And had you made the connection about what that means in the real world? Because it means that millions of British workers are working longer hours for lower pay than their counterparts in Europe and the US. That has to change if we are going to build an economy that works for everyone in Britain.
If we raised our productivity by just 1% every year, within a decade we would add £250 billion to the size of our economy; £9,000 for every household in Britain.
So productivity should set political pulses racing. It’s a decades-old problem. Swept under the carpet for far too long.
But under this Government, we are going to put it in the spotlight, right at the forefront of our policy agenda… …and at the heart of our industrial strategy.
We know where to start: Our productivity performance is grossly uneven. Still too reliant upon a few key sectors. Still too focussed on London and the South East. The good news is that we do know how to do productivity. Parts of London have the highest productivity in Europe. The bad news is that the productivity gap between our capital and our 2nd, 3rd and 4th cities is greater than in any other major economy in the world. Closing that gap will be key to Britain’s future outside the EU. That’s why we are doing regional devolution deals……and why tackling those regional differences will be one of the key drivers for the industrial strategy that Greg Clark is developing now. And then there is the skills challenge. We’ve made huge progress over the last six years. How many people, ten years ago, would have believed that in every year since 2014, Maths would be the most popular A-level subject in English schools?
But it was. What a tribute that is to Conservative education reforms. But despite the progress, there is still a huge gap between our skills base and that of our key competitors. It’s holding people back from achieving their full potential. And it’s holding our nation back in the global race. And there’s more.
Our stock of public infrastructure – like our roads, railways and flood defences – languishes near the bottom of the developed-countries’ league table after decades of under-investment. And our businesses, too, are not investing enough.
All of this must change to build an economy that works for everyone. We need to close that gap with careful, targeted public investment in high value infrastructure… …and encouragement of more private investment in British businesses.
And if we are going to see economic growth distributed more evenly across the regions and sectors of our economy……and more fairly between the generations……there’s another big challenge that needs to be tackled:
Because despite the action we’ve taken… …fewer and fewer young people are able to afford to get their foot on the first rung of the housing ladder and buy their own home.
Quite simply, we’re not building enough new homes. This is a long-term challenge. But there are short-term measures we can take. And the package of measures announced by Sajid Javid earlier:
– The £3 billion Home Builders’ Fund
– And £2 billion of new investment for accelerated construction on public land
…is a clear demonstration of this Government’s determination to tackle this challenge using all the tools at our disposal. Because making housing more affordable will be a vital part of building a country that works for everyone. And this Government is determined that the dream of home ownership should be for the many, not the few. Ensuring we have world class infrastructure is vital to maintaining our competitiveness……but it is a very long-term agenda.
One that can be, and often has been, knocked off course by short-term political considerations. That’s why we announced the National Infrastructure Commission. To define independently the nation’s long-term infrastructure needs……to prioritise and plan……to test value for money……to ensure that every penny spent on infrastructure is properly targeted to deliver maximum benefit. And today I recommit to putting the Commission at the very heart of our plans to renew and expand Britain’s infrastructure. Making sure that it is long-term economics, not short-term politics,that drives Britain’s vital infrastructure investment.
Part of Britain’s productivity transformation will come, of course, from innovation. But the new, disruptive, technologies which are right now making their way from university labs and company R&D facilities into early stage production……offer Britain a much bigger prize than incremental productivity improvements.
Because at the cutting edge of many of these new technologies, the UK is becoming a world leader once again. Not just in the science. But in the application of it.
And in the innovation that follows. Over the last few years, unnoticed by most of us, entrepreneurs and scientists from home and abroad have been turning Britain into a hub of tech innovation. And global businesses have followed, hungry for the inventions and innovations they are generating……developing technologies that will change fundamentally the way we work and the way we live.
Driverless cars, Graphene, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, virtual reality, advanced robotics. I’ll be honest with you: I had no idea until a few weeks ago just how much I don’t know! And even less idea how much I wouldn’t be able to understand even once it had been explained to me!
But this is the future! A whole new world that would have sounded like science fiction just a few years ago – but is now a reality taking shape in laboratories, incubators and factories across Britain. There is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for Britain……to cement its role as a leader in tech innovation. And my ambition is clear: I want to see what is invented here, developed here. I want to see what is developed here, produced here. I want to see jobs, profits and tax receipts here in Britain. The fruit of British genius being harvested here in Britain as we move into a fourth industrial revolution……creating jobs, wealth and success…
Future-proofing the economy of post-Brexit Britain. We are well placed to do it. More competitive than ever.
Up to 7th place in the world league table last year, from 10th the year before. We have world-leading universities and research institutes.
…a trusted legal system…
…an advantageous time-zone…
…the English language…
…and vibrant markets.
At 20 percent, we have a highly competitive Corporation Tax rate. And as it falls to 17 percent over the next three years, it will be more attractive still. Of course this explosion of creativity and innovation has not happened solely or even mainly because of Government policy……but it could easily be snuffed out by Government policy.
So, we must carefully maintain the conditions that have brought this activity to Britain in the first place. Including the ability to attract the brightest and best to work here in our high-tech industries. And where we see that there are Government interventions that work… we should make them. So today I can announce a further £220 million of support to tech innovation: £100 million to extend the biomedical catalyst fund to stimulate the transformation of revolutionary science into deliverable healthcare interventions. And a further £120 million to nurture the tech transfer offices that put universities and entrepreneurs together to get the science from the lab into the factory. A Conservative Government – investing in Britain’s future. I have made my argument that we will not overcome Britain’s productivity challenge unless we tackle the serious inequalities in performance between cities and regions. That’s an economic analysis. But this is about politics too.
One of the key messages of the referendum campaign was that large parts of our country feel left behind. They see the country getting richer, but don’t feel part of that success.
A dangerous divide is opening up between those who believe they have a stake in the success of our economy and those who do not. It is one of the central missions of this government to tackle that divide……to see the benefits of economic growth shared more evenly across the regions, and across the generations. A key part of this agenda is harnessing the economic power of our cities. The Northern Powerhouse project takes a visionary approach……linking the great cities of the North into a coherent economic entity……an interconnected region that raises productivity and delivers growth by making it easier and cheaper for firms and individuals to move goods, people, and ideas. And I pledge today, that the Treasury, under my leadership, will continue to drive the Northern Powerhouse project ……working in partnership with local leaders to see it deliver its potential for people in the North. But our ambition isn’t limited to the Northern Powerhouse.
We want to create the conditions for success in the North, the South, and everywhere in between. And there is nowhere more ripe to benefit from a similar approach than the Midlands. The Midlands Engine, with its hub here in Birmingham, powers 11.7 million lives……generates £220 billion of Added Value to the economy….….produces 18 percent of UK goods exports….….and more than a fifth of UK manufacturing output. In this great region, there are 320,000 more people in work than there were in 2010. But both productivity and economic growth have lagged behind the UK average. So we have developed our Long Term Economic Plan for the Midlands.
And it is already delivering. But we can, and will, do more. We are working with the West Midlands Combined Authority on a second devolution deal to include new powers on transport, criminal justice, data, planning and skills. And with Andy Street, our fantastic Conservative Mayoral candidate for the West Midlands, now in place, a great future is within the region’s grasp. It will certainly never be knowingly undersold! The Northern Powerhouse; the Midlands Engine
Two great projects that can be emulated across Britain. Indeed, I suspect the limiting factor may only be our ability to think up snappy titles for new regional projects.
But be assured – we have passed a tipping point in devolution in this country. A decisive and irreversible shift in economic and political power……and Britain’s economy will be the better, and the bigger, for it.
Conference, the British people have made a bold decision. Our party trusted them with the nation’s future in a referendum……and now they trust our party to deliver on their decision.
We will not let them down. We are going to leave the European Union.
To repatriate our laws. To assert the supremacy of our courts. To control our borders. But we are not going to turn our backs on the nations of Europe. Let us resolve that as we leave their Union… …we will remain the best of neighbours……the closest of trade associates……the strongest of security partners. But our economic future must not be defined by Brexit alone. So as we tread the path to becoming an independent, sovereign country once again… …and forge a new and exciting role for our nation in the world……let us resolve to tackle the challenges we face at home with renewed vigour: Dealing with the deficit. Raising our productivity. Rebalancing our economy. Rebuilding our infrastructure. And ensuring that everyone, in every part of our country, can contribute to, and benefit from, the growth that follows. Paying our way in the world; Standing tall amongst our competitors; Attracting the brightest and the best… …to deliver the vibrant, successful economy that will mean……when future generations look back on our decision in 2016……they will see not the end of an era……but the beginning of a new age……not a country turning inward……but a nation reaching out……decisively, confidently to grasp new opportunities. A bigger, better, Greater Britain.
Truly, a country that works for everyone.
81 days ago, I stood in front of Ten Downing Street for the first time as Prime Minister, and I made a promise to the country.
I said that the Government I lead will be driven not by the interests of a privileged few, but by the interests of ordinary, working-class families. People who have a job, but don’t always have job security. People who own their own home, but worry about paying the mortgage. People who can just about manage, but worry about the cost of living and getting their kids into a good school. And this week, we’re going to show the country that we mean business.
But first, today, we’re going to talk about Global Britain, our ambitious vision for Britain after Brexit. Because 100 days ago, that is what the country voted for. We’re going to talk about Britain in which we are close friends, allies and trading partners with our European neighbours. But a Britain in which we pass our own laws and govern ourselves. In which we look beyond our continent and to the opportunities in the wider world. In which we win trade agreements with old friends and new partners. In which Britain is always the most passionate, most consistent, most convincing advocate for free trade. In which we play our full part in promoting peace and prosperity around the world. And in which we – with our brilliant armed forces and intelligence services – protect our national interests, our national security, and the security of our allies.
So today we’re going to be hearing from David Davis, Priti Patel and Boris Johnson as we start to explain our plan for Brexit. And the country will see that the Conservative Party is united in our determination to deliver that plan.
Because even now, some politicians – democratically-elected politicians – say that the referendum isn’t valid, that we need to have a second vote.
Others say they don’t like the result, and they’ll challenge any attempt to leave the European Union through the courts.
But come on. The referendum result was clear. It was legitimate. It was the biggest vote for change this country has ever known. Brexit means Brexit – and we’re going to make a success of it.
Now of course, we wouldn’t have had a referendum at all had it not been for the Conservative Party – and had it not been for David Cameron. And I want to take a moment to pay tribute to David.
I served in his Shadow Cabinet for nearly five years, and in his Cabinet for six more. I saw first-hand his commitment to public service, to social justice, and his deep love for our country. He led the rescue mission that brought confidence back to the British economy. He made sure that people on the lowest wages paid no income tax at all. And he won the right for two people who love one another – regardless of their sexuality – to marry. He has a legacy of which he – and our whole Party – can be proud. And to those who claim he was mistaken in calling the referendum, we know there is no finer accolade than to say David Cameron put his trust in the British people.
And trust the people we will. Because Britain is going to leave the European Union.
Now I know there is a lot of speculation about what that is going to mean, about the nature of our relationship with Europe in future, and about the terms on which British and European businesses will trade with one another. I understand that. And we will give clarity – as we did with farm payments and university funding – whenever possible and as quickly as possible.
But we will not be able to give a running commentary or a blow-by-blow account of the negotiations. Because we all know that isn’t how they work. But history is littered with negotiations that failed when the interlocutors predicted the outcome in detail and in advance.
Every stray word and every hyped up media report is going to make it harder for us to get the right deal for Britain. So we have to stay patient. But when there are things to say – as there are today – we will keep the public informed and up to date.
So I want to use today to tell you more about the Government’s plan for Brexit, and in particular I want to tell you about three important things. The timing, the process – and the Government’s vision for Britain after Brexit.
There was a good reason why I said – immediately after the referendum – that we should not invoke Article Fifty before the end of this year. That decision means we have the time to develop our negotiating strategy and avoid setting the clock ticking until our objectives are clear and agreed. And it has also meant that we have given some certainty to businesses and investors. Consumer confidence has remained steady. Foreign investment in Britain has continued. Employment is at a record high, and wages are on the up. There is still some uncertainty, but the sky has not fallen in, as some predicted it would: our economy remains strong.
So it was right to wait before triggering Article Fifty. But it is also right that we should not let things drag on too long. Having voted to leave, I know that the public will soon expect to see, on the horizon, the point at which Britain does formally leave the European Union. So let me be absolutely clear. There will be no unnecessary delays in invoking Article Fifty. We will invoke it when we are ready. And we will be ready soon. We will invoke Article Fifty no later than the end of March next year.
Now I want to tell you a little more about the process for triggering Article Fifty.
The first thing to say is that it is not up to the House of Commons to invoke Article Fifty, and it is not up to the House of Lords. It is up to the Government to trigger Article Fifty and the Government alone.
When it legislated to establish the referendum, Parliament put the decision to leave or remain inside the EU in the hands of the people. And the people gave their answer with emphatic clarity. So now it is up to the Government not to question, quibble or backslide on what we have been instructed to do, but to get on with the job.
Because those people who argue that Article Fifty can only be triggered after agreement in both Houses of Parliament are not standing up for democracy, they’re trying to subvert it. They’re not trying to get Brexit right, they’re trying to kill it by delaying it. They are insulting the intelligence of the British people. That is why, next week, I can tell you that the Attorney General himself, Jeremy Wright, will act for the Government and resist them in the courts.
Likewise, the negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union are the responsibility of the Government and nobody else. I have already said that we will consult and work with the devolved administrations for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, because we want Brexit to work in the interests of the whole country. And we will do the same with business and municipal leaders across the land.
But the job of negotiating our new relationship is the job of the Government. Because we voted in the referendum as one United Kingdom, we will negotiate as one United Kingdom, and we will leave the European Union as one United Kingdom. There is no opt-out from Brexit. And I will never allow divisive nationalists to undermine the precious Union between the four nations of our United Kingdom.
The final thing I want to say about the process of withdrawal is the most important. And that is that we will soon put before Parliament a Great Repeal Bill, which will remove from the statute book – once and for all – the European Communities Act.
This historic Bill – which will be included in the next Queen’s Speech – will mean that the 1972 Act, the legislation that gives direct effect to all EU law in Britain, will no longer apply from the date upon which we formally leave the European Union. And its effect will be clear. Our laws will be made not in Brussels but in Westminster. The judges interpreting those laws will sit not in Luxembourg but in courts in this country. The authority of EU law in Britain will end.
As we repeal the European Communities Act, we will convert the ‘acquis’ – that is, the body of existing EU law – into British law. When the Great Repeal Bill is given Royal Assent, Parliament will be free – subject to international agreements and treaties with other countries and the EU on matters such as trade – to amend, repeal and improve any law it chooses. But by converting the acquis into British law, we will give businesses and workers maximum certainty as we leave the European Union. The same rules and laws will apply to them after Brexit as they did before. Any changes in the law will have to be subject to full scrutiny and proper Parliamentary debate. And let me be absolutely clear: existing workers’ legal rights will continue to be guaranteed in law – and they will be guaranteed as long as I am Prime Minister.
And in fact, as we announced yesterday, under this Government, we’re going see workers’ rights not eroded, and not just protected, but enhanced under this Government. Because the Conservative Party is the true workers’ party, the only party dedicated to making Britain a country that works, not just for the privileged few, but for every single one of us.
So that is what I want to say about the process. But I want to talk to you about the Government’s vision of Britain after Brexit, our vision of a truly Global Britain. And I want to start with our vision for the future relationship we will have with the European Union.
Because, in this respect, I believe there is a lot of muddled thinking and several arguments about the future that need to be laid to rest. For example, there is no such thing as a choice between “soft Brexit” and “hard Brexit”. This line of argument – in which “soft Brexit” amounts to some form of continued EU membership and “hard Brexit” is a conscious decision to reject trade with Europe – is simply a false dichotomy. And it is one that is too often propagated by people who, I am afraid to say, have still not accepted the result of the referendum.
Because the truth is that too many people are letting their thinking about our future relationship with the EU be defined by the way the relationship has worked in the past. That is understandable. We have been members of the EU for more than forty years. We have just been through a renegotiation, during which we remained members of the EU and the Government sought to keep us members of the EU.
But what we are now talking about is very different. Whether people like it or not, the country voted to leave the EU. And that means we are going to leave the EU. We are going to be a fully-independent, sovereign country, a country that is no longer part of a political union with supranational institutions that can override national parliaments and courts. And that means we are going, once more, to have the freedom to make our own decisions on a whole host of different matters, from how we label our food to the way in which we choose to control immigration.
So the process we are about to begin is not about negotiating all of our sovereignty away again. It is not going to be about any of those matters over which the country has just voted to regain control. It is not, therefore, a negotiation to establish a relationship anything like the one we have had for the last forty years or more. So it is not going to a “Norway model”. It’s not going to be a “Switzerland model”. It is going to be an agreement between an independent, sovereign United Kingdom and the European Union.
I know some people ask about the “trade-off” between controlling immigration and trading with Europe. But that is the wrong way of looking at things. We have voted to leave the European Union and become a fully-independent, sovereign country. We will do what independent, sovereign countries do. We will decide for ourselves how we control immigration. And we will be free to pass our own laws.
But we will seek the best deal possible as we negotiate a new agreement with the European Union. I want that deal to reflect the kind of mature, cooperative relationship that close friends and allies enjoy. I want it to include cooperation on law enforcement and counter-terrorism work. I want it to involve free trade, in goods and services. I want it to give British companies the maximum freedom to trade with and operate in the Single Market – and let European businesses do the same here. But let me be clear. We are not leaving the European Union only to give up control of immigration again. And we are not leaving only to return to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.
As ever with international talks, it will be a negotiation, it will require some give and take, and while there will always be pressure to give a running commentary on the state of the talks, it will not be in our best interests as a country to do that. But make no mistake: this is going to be a deal that works for Britain.
But Brexit should not just prompt us to think about our new relationship with the European Union. It should make us think about our role in the wider world. It should make us think of Global Britain, a country with the self-confidence and the freedom to look beyond the continent of Europe and to the economic and diplomatic opportunities of the wider world. Because we know that the referendum was not a vote to turn in ourselves, to cut ourselves off from the world. It was a vote for Britain to stand tall, to believe in ourselves, to forge an ambitious and optimistic new role in the world.
And there is already abundant evidence that we will be able to do just that. Important foreign businesses – like Siemens and Apple – have committed to long-term investments in this country. With the Japanese purchase of ARM for £24 billion, we have seen the biggest-ever Asian investment in Britain. Countries including Canada, China, India, Mexico, Singapore and South Korea have already told us they would welcome talks on future free trade agreements. And we have already agreed to start scoping discussions on trade agreements with Australia and New Zealand.
A truly Global Britain is possible, and it is in sight. And it should be no surprise that it is. Because we are the fifth biggest economy in the world. Since 2010 we have grown faster than any economy in the G7. And we attract a fifth of all foreign investment in the EU. We are the biggest foreign investor in the United States. We have more Nobel Laureates than any country outside America. We have the best intelligence services in the world, a military that can project its power around the globe, and friendships, partnerships and alliances in every continent. We have the greatest soft power in the world, we sit in exactly the right time zone for global trade, and our language is the language of the world.
We don’t need – as I sometimes hear people say – to “punch above our weight”. Because our weight is substantial enough already. So let’s ignore the pessimists, let’s have the confidence in ourselves to go out into the world, securing trade deals, winning contracts, generating wealth and creating jobs. And let’s get behind the team of ministers – David Davis, Liam Fox, Priti Patel and Boris Johnson – who are working on our plan for Brexit, who know we’re going to make a success of it and who will make a reality of Global Britain.
So let’s have a great week here in Birmingham this conference. Let’s get this plan for Brexit right. Let’s show the country we mean business. And let’s keep working to make Britain a country that works not for a privileged few but for everyone in this great country.
I was at the UN general assembly in NY the other day and talking to the foreign minister of another country. I won’t say which one, since I must preserve my reputation for diplomacy, but let’s just say they have an economy about the size of Australia (though getting smaller, alas). Plenty of snow, nuclear missiles, balalaikas, oligarchs, leader who strips to the waist you get the picture.
After a few tense exchanges my counterpart gave a theatrical sigh and said that any difficulties we had in our relationship were all Britain’s fault: “It was you guys who imposed democracy on us in 1990”. I was a bit startled by this, and I decided I couldn’t let it go unchallenged, and I said: “hang on, Sergei,” I said; “aren’t you in favour of democracy?” And then I asked for a show of hands in the room… “All those in favour of democracy please show”, I said, and you would have thought that this was a relatively uncontroversial thing, a bit like asking Maria von Trapp whether she was in favour of raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens and I am proud to say that the entire UK side of the room raised their hands as one to show that democracy was indeed one of our favourite things but much to my amazement our opposite numbers just kept their hands on the table and gave us what we diplomats call the hairy eyeball and of course they felt I was winding them up; and there is a sense in which my question was semi-satirical.
But the exchange was also deeply serious, and revealing about the way the world has changed – or perhaps the way in which it has failed to change – since that moment of exhilaration in 1990 when the Berlin wall had come down, and the Soviet union was coming to an end, and some of us – and yes, I was one – really BELIEVED that we had come to a moment of ideological resolution and that after seven frozen and sometimes terrifying decades of communist totalitarian rule – the gulags, the oppression of eastern europe: all the things that have been conveniently forgotten by the Dave and Deirdre Sparts who were still singing about Lenin’s red flag last week at the Labour party conference… We genuinely thought that after all that misery and slaughter we were seeing the final triumph of that conglomerate of western liberal values and ideals that unite the people in this room not just free markets – but all the things that we then believed, in that brief shining moment, were the essential concomitants of free-market capitalism …rule of law, human rights, independent judiciary, habeas corpus, equalities of race and gender and sexual orientation the eternal and inalienable right of the media to make fun of the politicians.
We assumed then that this political freedom went with economic freedom like buying a two for one ice cream snickers bar (only free markets could produce something so ingenious) and a copy of private eye (free speech of a kind still unknown in much of the planet) like two sides of liberty’s golden coin and yet I have to tell you that both sides of that coin have been tarnished and devalued over the last two decades and we must be humble and realistic enough to accept that in many eyes the notion that we could endlessly expand the realm of liberal democracy was badly damaged, alas, by the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and symmetrically our model of free-market anglo-saxon capitalism as practised in London and New York was seriously discredited by the Crash of 2008, and the global suspicion of bankers and we have taken those twin blows like punches to the midriff; and we have been winded and sometimes lacking in confidence in these ideals; and if you look at the course of events in the last ten years I am afraid you can make the case that it is partly as a result of that lack of western self-confidence – political, military, economic – that in some material ways the world has got less safe, more dangerous, more worrying.
After a long post-war period in which the world was broadly getting more peaceful the number of deaths in conflict has risen from 49,000 in 2010 to 167,000 last year. The global number of refugees is up by 30 per cent on 2013 to 46m and though much of this refugee crisis can be attributed to the war in Syria, it is part of a wider arc of instability that sweeps across from Iraq to Libya and this matters profoundly to our country because it is the continuing savagery of the Assad regime against the people of Aleppo and the complicity of the Russians in committing what are patently war crimes – bombing hospitals, when they know they are hospitals and nothing but hospitals that is making it impossible for peace negotiations to begin and that is prolonging a migration crisis that at one stage last year had overwhelmed Europe’s ability to cope and when the violent extremism of Daesh is erupting like boils across the face of the Middle east we are inevitably seeing the contagion spread to cities in Germany, France, Belgium – and in Britain as well and if that threat to travel continues to have a palpable chilling effect on tourism and perhaps even on trade then for a great trading nation like Britain that is a matter of deep concern and then there is perhaps an even more pernicious phenomenon – stemming, however unfairly, from the disastrous events in Iraq, which is the temptation of more and more governments to take this instability and insecurity as an excuse to move away from democracy.
Across Africa you can see for the first time in decades that governments are gradually becoming more authoritarian
The number of African countries rated free or partly free has fallen from 34 to 29 in the last ten years. There are 4 African presidents who are currently re-writing their national constitutions to tighten their grip on power and I am afraid there are plenty of countries large and small where the idea of multi-party representative democracy is obstinately failing to catch on and that is because there is a view that has gained ground over the last few years that Fukuyama was wrong that there is no symmetry in our golden coin and that you CAN have economic prosperity without political and social freedom and indeed there is a view now in many parts of the world that the ONLY way to ensure prosperity and stability is to suppress freedom – to crack down on pesky NGOs and irritating journalists and independent judges and generally to deprecate the western liberal consensus about how a society should be ordered…
Over the last couple of months I have sat in all kinds of EU meetings vast and ruminative feasts of lunch or dinner in the castles of Mitteleuropa washed down with the finest wines known to man and on one occasion a splendid breakfast that seemed to stretch, for course after course, from 8 am to 11 and I have enjoyed them all. I have made friends, alliances and had wonderful conversations in my various euro-creoles but I have to tell any lingering gloomadon-poppers that never once have I felt that this country would be in any way disadvantaged by extricating ourselves from the EU treaties and indeed there are some ways in which we will be liberated to be more active on the world stage than ever before because we are not leaving Europe.
We will remain committed to all kinds of European cooperation – at an intergovernmental level whether it is maintaining sanctions against Russia for what is happening in Ukraine or sending our navy to help the Italians stem the migrant flow through the central Mediterranean. But we will also be able to speak up more powerfully with our own distinctive voice; leading the world as we now are, in imposing a ban on ivory helping to save the elephant in a way that the disunited EU is unable to do.
In fact we have an absurd situation in which the EU is actually trying to veto the ivory ban in spite of having a president called Donald Tusk or relaunching the cause of global free trade that has been stalled since the failure of the Doha round and I can think of few more positive forces in the global economy than the world’s fifth richest economy taking back control not just of our democracy and our borders and our cash but taking back control of our tariff schedules in Geneva, so that we can galvanise free trade, break the log jam and as our new PM has rightly said – we can now become the global champions and agitators for this phenomenon doing free trade deals with countries around the world – as Liam will do deals that will continue the process of lifting billions out of poverty and that is why the world needs Global Britain more than ever as a campaigner for the values we believe in a catalyst for change and reform and economic and political freedom in a world that has lost confidence in those values. And of course there are those who say that we can’t do it – that we are too small, too feeble, too geopolitically reduced to have that kind of influence.
I think of the pogonologically challenged Labour party, where they literally want to abolish the armed services and to keep our new nuclear submarines as a demented job creation programme – sending them to sea without any nukes aboard so that the whole nation is turned into a kind of glorified military capon firing blanks.
I am not going to pretend that this country is something we are not. Every day I go into an office so vast that you could comfortably fit two squash courts and so dripping with gilt bling that it looks like something from the Kardashians and as I sit at the desk of George Nathaniel Curzon I sometimes reflect that this was once the nerve centre of an empire that was 7 times the size of the Roman empire at its greatest extent under Trajan and when I go into the Map Room of Palmerston I cannot help remembering that this country over the last two hundred years has directed the invasion or conquest of 178 countries – that is most of the members of the UN – not a point I majored on in New York at the UNGA and that is because those days are gone forever and that is a profoundly good thing.
It is good for Britain and good for the world that in the last 60 years – in living memory – those responsibilities have been taken away and yet it would be a fatal mistake now to underestimate what this country is doing or what it can do because in spite of Iraq, it is simply not the case that every military intervention has been a disaster. Far from it…
Look at the achievement in Sierra Leone, where we were instrumental not just in ending the civil war, but in wiping out Ebola. Look at Somalia, where my predecessor William Hague helped initiate a bold programme to tackle the pirates that plagued the coast of that country and together with a coalition of other European countries. British ships took them on, with all the courage and decisiveness of our 19th century forebears and the result? Before the anti-pirate campaign, their depredations had cost the world economy about $7bn a year. When Britain stepped in, the attacks stopped altogether – and it is a happy fact that since 2012 there have been more Hollywood films about Somali pirates starring Tom Hanks than there have been pirate attacks.
Of course we don’t want to wield our hard power; we think an age before we do so. But when we give our armed services clear and achievable missions we can still be remarkably effective and with 2 per cent of our GDP spent on defence we will be the leading military player in western Europe for the foreseeable future and our hard power, conference, is dwarfed by a phenomenon that the pessimists never predicted when we unbundled the British empire and that is soft power – the vast and subtle and pervasive extension of British influence around the world that goes with having the language that was invented and perfected in this country and now has more speakers than any other language on earth and up the creeks and inlets of every continent on earth there go the gentle kindly gunboats of British soft power captained by Jeremy Clarkson – a prophet more honoured abroad, alas, than in his own country or JK Rowling who is worshipped by young people in some Asian countries as a kind of divinity or just the BBC – and no matter how infuriating and shamelessly anti-Brexit they can sometimes be I think the Beeb is the single greatest and most effective ambassador for our culture and our values.
It was Sergei Lavrov himself who told me that he had not only watched our version of war and peace, but thought it was “very well done” and that, from the Kremlin, was praise and if you want final proof of our irresistible soft power I remind you as I always do that this country not only invented or codified just about every sport or game known to humanity but this year it was our athletes – from a country that can boast only 1 pc of the world’s population – that came second in the Olympic and paralympic games and I hope my friends in Beijing will not mind if I point out that their teams had 1.4bn people to draw on.
Yes, it is true as I have said that the world is not as healthy or as safe as it should be and it is true that in 2016 we are worryingly afflicted by war and terrorism and the new perils of cyber-crime and by the painful refusal of many parts of the world to accept what you and I might see as common sense that free markets and free societies go together
but in case you are remotely tempted to despair I urge you to look not at the problems but at the successes that these free institutions have helped to engender.
For all its problems, life expectancy in Africa has risen astonishingly as that continent has entered the global economic system. In 2000 the average Ethiopian lived to only 47 – it is now 64 and climbing; in Zambia the increase has been from 44 years to 60 in 1990 37 per cent of the world’s population lived in poverty – that is down to 9.6 pc today and yes, that is partly thanks to UK spending on development aid – £300 m a year to Ethiopia alone but above all it is our economic ideas, our beliefs, our values that continue to lift the world out of poverty and that must continue to be our ambition.
It has been an extraordinary experience to have been FSec for the last few months and together with my fantastic ministerial colleagues Alan Duncan for Europe and America, Joyce Anelay for the Commonwealth and UN, Tobias Ellwood for Africa and the Middle east, Alok Sharma for Asia and the Pacific, we have made literally hundreds of trips cats cradling the world in a truly stupefying accumulation of airmiles and I have confirmed to myself that we have in the Foreign Office the finest diplomatic service in the world – covering far more countries than the French with only 70 per cent of the budget and I am giving nothing away when I say we have the world’s most superb intelligence services and when I am making a speech in a foreign city I look around the heaving room and become aware of a phenomenon that I think people in this country are barely aware of and that is that of the Brits now alive and born in this country fully one in ten is now living abroad we are talking 5 or 6 m people – a population the size of Scotland.
No other rich country – according to the World Bank – has a diaspora on that scale. No other country is such a formidable exporter of human talent business people, lawyers, teachers, prospectors, adventurers, poets, painters, whisky-sellers, French knicker sellers to France. No other country is turned so tangibly outwards and into the world and what they take with them is not just a knowledge of English or the cast of the Archers or which game has a position called silly mid off but an instinctive set of values and whether they are retired British teachers working as monitors in the Ukrainian war zone or Met police officers training their counterparts in the parts of Syria held by the moderate opposition. I find that these Brits are respected and admired – in sometimes unexpected ways – by ordinary people around the world and in an age of anxiety and uncertainty it is surely obvious that the values of global Britain are needed more than ever and though we can never be complacent, and though we can never take our position for granted, Churchill was right when he said that the empires of the future will be empires of the mind and in expressing our values I believe that Global Britain is a soft power superpower and that we can be immensely proud of what we are achieving.
IET Austin Court, 80 Cambridge Street, Birmingham, England, B1 2NP, United Kingdom
If you’re planning on making the journey to Britain’s second city (sorry, Manchester) for this year’s Conservative Party Conference, you might like to come along to one, two or five of the Adam Smith Institute’s Conference Fringe events. We’ve got five excellent panel discussions lined up, covering everything from taxes and planning to marijuana and hangover-free alcohol. We’re even offering a free lunch.
All of our events will take place just three minutes outside the Secure Zone in the Boulton-Faraday Room at the IET Austin Court Hotel (where I’m informed Theresa May launched her leadership bid).
Here’s what we’ve got lined up:
Monday 3rd October
Rebooting Britain: Why Britain needs simpler, flatter taxes
Time: 1:00pm – 2:00pm
Speakers, including Steve Baker of the Treasury Select Committe and Angela Knight, Director of the Office of Tax Simplification, will discuss the case for radical tax reform that cuts the worst, most anti-growth taxes and simplifies the tax system to encourage innovation and let Britain boom after Brexit. Which is worst – corporation tax, stamp duty, inheritance tax? Come along and have your say.
Steve Baker MP, Treasury Select Committee
Angela Knight, Office of Tax Simplification
Ben Southwood, Adam Smith Institute
Alex Wild, Taxpayers’ Alliance (Chair)
Planning Reform: Is green the new brown?
Time: 3:00pm – 4:00pm
Everyone agrees that we need to build more houses. But what kind, and where? This panel assembles one of Parliament’s leading thinkers on housing and planning, John Howell MP, whose book was an inspiration for the National Planning Policy Framework, along with former advisor to George Osborne Nicholas Boys-Smith whose group, Create Streets, campaigns for beautiful neighbourhoods that people actually want to live in – not modernist monstrosities that only an architect could love. Other panelists include LSE’s Prof Paul Cheshire, a firebrand critic of the green belt who believes that we need to totally rethink our approach to planning in a free market way to build the houses we need.
John Howell MP, Author of “Open Source Planning”
Nicholas Boys Smith, Create Streets
Prof. Paul Cheshire, London School of Economics
Rory Meakin, Taxpayers’ Alliance
Jonn Elledge, CityMetric (Chair)
Legalising Cannabis: Lessons from Abroad
In partnership with VolteFace
Time: 6:00pm – 7:00pm
Cannabis isn’t just for the Dutch anymore – a tide of legalisation is rising across the developed world. Following in the footsteps of US states like Colorado and Washington, Canada looks set to become the first major Western nation to fully legalise and regulate cannabis. But can this be done without encouraging problem use, and if we are going to regulate cannabis, how should we do it? A range of speakers from across the Conservative Party, including Crispin Blunt MP and former Cameron speechwriter Ian Birrell, will discuss where we should draw the line. This event is co-hosted with VolteFace Magazine.
Crispin Blunt MP, Foreign Affairs Select Committee
Ian Birrell, Mail on Sunday
Steve Moore, VolteFace
Sam Bowman, Adam Smith Institute
Francesca Washtell, City AM (Chair)
Tuesday 4th October
The Border After Brexit: Securing Britain’s borders
Free Lunch Provided
Time: 1:00pm – 2:00pm
We’re joined by senior MPs to discuss one of the most pressing issues in post-Brexit politics: how do we control our borders. Following the ASI’s widely-covered report, The Border After Brexit, the panel will include Ed West, best known for his book “The Diversity Illusion” and his writing for the Spectator and Evening Standard, and leading Members of Parliament on this issue, Ranil Jayawardena MP and Charlie Elphicke MP, to discuss how to make the border secure and efficient – and how to implement the post-Brexit immigration policies we decide on. We’ll be serving a free, hot buffet lunch, so get there early to make sure you get a seat (and a plate).
Charlie Elphicke, MP for Dover
James Kirkup, The Daily Telegraph
Ed West, The Spectator
Sam Bowman, Adam Smith Institute
Dr Eamonn Butler, Adam Smith Institute (Chair)
Innovate not Regulate: How the nanny state harms public health
Time: 3:00pm – 4:00pm
The nanny state beats drinkers and smokers over the head for their own good – or so it claims. Following on from a new ASI report, we discuss the technological alternatives to regulation, with a pioneer of “hangover-free alcohol” Prof David Nutt and scourge of nanny statists Christopher Snowdon. E-cigs are just the start – we won’t be happy until there’s a safe, cheap and enjoyable alternative to every ‘vice’ under the sun. If you’re sick of being told what to put in your body by the state, this is the panel for you.
Lord Callanan, Former Leader of the Conservative Party in the European Parliament
Christopher Snowdon, Institute of Economic Affairs
Prof. David Nutt, Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs
Dr Madsen Pirie, Adam Smith Institute (Chair)
All events are open to the public (you don’t need a Conference Pass to come along), so if you’re in Birmingham and fancy coming along but aren’t at the Conference, please be our guest. There’s no need to RSVP, just come along on the day.