Thursday, 15 October 2009

Day 4 -

Up early to get to the Conference Hall in order to participate in the "Great Britain" debate. Having asked a question from the platform it was time to do a quick interview for ITN and then off to say a few goodbyes in advance of the Leaders speech.

(watch my question at from 44 minutes 50 seconds)

Such was the enthusiasm and anticipation of David's speech that queues for the afternoon session started forming from 11am for a scheduled 2pm start.

A few kind Scottish gentlemen who came down to Manchester to lobby Conference had managed to get near the front of the queue and very kindly let Peter Lyburn and I nicked in near the front - only for us to be sat in the Conservative Future section when we finally got into the hall.

For me the speech I heard today from David Cameron was every bit a speech from a Prime Minister in waiting but more importantly a speech that clearly defined the man, his principles and the type of country he wants to fashion under a Conservative government.

Three things stood out for me starting with David putting our armed forces at the very beginning of his speech in committing our Party to giving them all the equipment and support they need. Whether you agree with the military action the current government has committed our troops to or not the one thing we all agree on is that it is a scandal they are not properly equipped to protect themselves and those they are being asked to fight for.

The next memorable moment was David's reference to his family year and to his wife in particular. The things politicians partners have to put up with are above and beyond any call of duty and we don't thank them enough. Our partners don't choose a public life but they put up with calls to the house at ungodly hours and us simply disappearing at a moments notice when someone asks for our help. I must admit to shedding a tear as David described the painful year his family had experienced before paying paid tribute to Samantha.

And I think the most memorable passage of his speech was the one that dealt with the scandal of those left in poverty by Labour's complicated systems. That a young mum working part time, trying to earn something extra for her family, pays 96 pence in every pound in tax and benefit reductions is simply scandalous. In Gordon Brown’s Britain if you’re a single mother with two kids earning £150 a week the withdrawal of benefits and the additional taxes mean that for every extra pound you earn, you keep just 4 pence. What kind of incentive is that? As David said, "Thirty years ago this party won an election fighting against 98 per cent tax rates on the richest. Today I want us to show even more anger about 96 per cent tax rates on the poorest."

Today I heard a speech from a man ready and able to be my next Prime Minister. The Conference slogan was "Ready for Change" and David Cameron is both ready and capable of proving our country with the change we so desperately need!

(watch David Cameron's full Conference speech at

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