I was in the audience to witness Theresa May’s closing speech at Conservative Party Conference. After an event run on the theme of opportunity, the Prime Minister struck a tone of unity, attacking divisive politics and looking to rally people behind a shared goal of a positive Brexit deal with the EU.
The key policy announcements included the scrapping of the cap on how much local authorities can borrow against their assets to fund new developments, a comprehensive new Cancer Strategy as part of the NHS long-term plan and another year of frozen fuel duty.
It was a very personal speech by the Prime Minister and I was pleased by the optimistic theme that focused heavily on domestic policy as we enter the post-Brexit, post-austerity era. I was particularly pleased to hear her announcements on housing and cancer treatment. I know Local Authorities will be delighted with the removal of the borrowing cap for housing developments.
The Prime Minister was full of humour and I think everyone at Conference found her self-deprecating ‘Dancing Queen’ entrance a highlight. At times her speech was also moving, particularly when she talked so candidly about the loss of her Goddaughter last year. The Prime Minister has shown incredible resilience during a difficult round of Brexit negotiations in recent weeks and it was heartening to see her speak with such clarity and passion about her plans to lead the country and unite people around a better future.
This has been a very busy conference with over 6,000 delegates of whom more than 1,000 were under the age of 25. We’ve had some well-received announcements including additional spending on transport and social care and also a promise for a Festival of Britain in 2022. The fringe events were particularly active with lots of participation and panellists and audience members fizzing with ideas. The positive and optimistic tone the Prime Minister struck in the closing speech was a great way to end the Conference.