This is the text of a speech delivered by Andrea Leadsom to a rally at Millbank Tower this morning:
Thank you for coming along this morning.
I’d like to begin by taking a moment to remember all those that died in the 7/7 bombings eleven years ago today.
Above all things, our thoughts and prayers are with their families on this day.
We should never forget how special our democracy is.
Over in the House of Commons, I and my colleagues are about exercise that democratic right to make an incredibly important decision.
We will be selecting two MPs to go forward to the country so that many of you can decide who will be our next Prime Minister.
That person will face enormous challenges and today I want to tell you why I want to lead the Party and this great country of ours.
You see, I am an optimist.
I truly believe we can be the greatest nation on earth.
As we show that the UK is once again open to the world and united in our new destiny, so we will expand our horizons.
Prosperity should be our goal, not austerity.
I want to spread prosperity to every corner of our country.
I want to help create more jobs.
Because, we need to hear and heed those millions of our fellow citizens who feel and fear that their country’s leaders don’t worry about them.
Those people who think that chief executives of big businesses get telephone number salaries, that bear no relation to the performance of their companies.
I say to all of those people – I am with you and I want you to share in the great future for this country.
I want to see better training, smarter working yes, and higher pay for the many.
I want to lead a nation where anyone who aims high can achieve their dreams.
Mark Carney, Bank of England Governor, was exactly right last week when he said:
“The UK can handle change. It has one of the most flexible economies in the world and benefits from a deep reservoir of human capital, world class infrastructure and the rule of law. Its people are admired the world over for their strength under adversity. The question is not whether the UK will adjust but rather how quickly and how well.”
He then goes on to say that a clear plan is needed. He’s absolutely right.
So today I want to speak to the markets as well as to the nation.
No one needs to fear our decision to leave the EU.
We will do so carefully, reassuring our European friends, and those businesses who are worrying about change
Trade must be the top priority: continued tariff free trade with the EU; continued free trade with those countries we have agreements with as a current member of the EU; and vitally, seizing the opportunity to take up new free trade deals with fast growing economies around the world.
There’s a big job to do.
But we also have to give certainty to different groups in our own country.
Certainty on migration. We want fair but controlled immigration – fair to those who are already here; and fair to all the talents across the world.
So I tell you today – I will not use people’s lives as bargaining chips in some negotiation. People need certainty and they will get it – I say to all who are legally here that you will be welcome to stay.
Certainty for farmers, universities and others who currently receive EU money. To them I say the UK government, my government, will give you the same money when we leave, and we will work with you to make more targeted use of the subsidies.
Certainty for those who want to travel, study and collaborate with others on the continent I say to them, you will be absolutely free to do so.
But a key job of our new Prime Minister will be to ensure the continued success of the UK economy.
Already we can see that the forecasts of a disaster for sterling, for equities and for interest rates have not been proven correct.
The pound is weaker, partly as a result of the markets being wrong on the result of the referendum, and partly on the expectation of further interest rate easing. But lower sterling is good for exports and makes inward investment more attractive.
It means we may import less and buy more at home.
The FTSE 100 is trading higher, and outperforming other global stock markets.
The government cost of borrowing has dropped with private sector loans available at the same rates as before.
That means the price of our state borrowing has fallen by a remarkable 40 per cent with 10 year interest rates below 0.8 per cent versus 1.37 per cent on 23 rd June.
Our valuable financial services sector has been boosted by both Barclays and HSBC bosses saying their plans are to stick with the U.K.
I will work tirelessly to reassure investors that the UK is open for business and a great place to employ people.
When we come to see the post EU figures I expect to see continued growth.
I expect to see people buying goods, going about their normal business, buying their homes and yes, enjoying a pay rise.
I will expect high standards of company behaviour, recognising their obligations to their communities and to their employees.
Mine will be a realistic but optimistic voice.
I believe we have a great future ahead of us.
We need to unite, to be positive and to make the most of our enormous strengths:
We are one of the world’s biggest economies;
We speak the worlds international business language of English;
Our contract law and our judicial system are second to none, inspiring great investor confidence;
We are part of a Commonwealth of 2.3 billion consumers, many of whose economies are growing fast;
We have historic trading links across the world, and from tourism to software to financial services to manufacturing, we have a great deal to offer.
This is the country that gave the world the rule of law, parliamentary democracy, the right to own property, the English language and the free market.
We are a remarkable people and we have so much more to give.
That is why here today I say, let us unite, and together we will write another great chapter – one of prosperity, tolerance and hope.