“Now Parliament has risen for the summer recess, I thought I should bring you up to date with recent political developments, to chart the progress we have made, and to thank you for all your hard work over the past few months.
There are three particular areas I would like to highlight:
- our success as an effective Opposition in Parliament;
- the important changes we are making in the Conservative Party;
- and some important electoral successes.
I believe that by working together over the past seven months, we have become the powerful new voice for change, optimism and hope in our country. Politics is interesting again, and it’s an exciting time to be a Conservative.
Our strong and energetic Shadow Cabinet and Shadow Ministerial Team
have shredded the Government’s legislative programme and held Labour
ministers to account for their failures. For example, we have forced
the Government to abandon compulsory police mergers, u-turn on home
information packs and backtrack on ID cards.
Conservative Party Changes
We are making good progress with implementing important changes in our
Party. We have held a series of successful meetings throughout the
country giving members the opportunity to debate ‘Built to Last’, our
statement of aims and values, and we will shortly publish a summary of
the responses. As promised, we will revise the document to take
account of members’ views and later in the summer every member will
have the chance to vote on the adoption of ‘Built to Last’.
We have set a clear political direction so that now people can begin to
see the contours of the next Conservative government: more green, more
local, more family-friendly, less arrogant about politicians’ ability
to solve every problem.
While we have been setting out a new direction, the Government has
become mired in sleaze, incompetence and drift. Tax credits, hospital
closures, prisoner releases, botched reshuffles…after nine years in
office, Labour are running out of excuses and running out of ideas.
Our campaigning efforts have met with some important successes at the
ballot box: in the May local elections we had our best result since
1985 and we now have a powerful army of excellent Conservative
councillors right across the country. But there is a mountain still to
climb, and we must keep up the pressure on Labour and keep up the
pressure for change in our Party.
The Gordon Brown approach to government – top-down, centralising, with
a state solution for every problem – has clearly failed. Labour’s
shambolic performance since the last election has destroyed people’s
faith that the state can deliver.
Our responsibility is to provide an exciting, competent and credible
alternative. We need to be ready for the General Election whenever it
comes. That means the changes we have to make must go faster, wider
and deeper. We need more women candidates. We need to do more to earn
people’s trust in our cities. And we need to show we have the ideas to
meet the complex challenges of the future, reflecting our core values –
trusting people and sharing responsibility.
So thank you once again for all you have done, have a great summer, and
let’s make sure we’re ready for the challenges that lie ahead.”