Transcript of my Conservative Party Conference 2017 speech

As a huge believer in the benefits of trade and globalisation, I must admit that I am bemused by the anti-globalisation rhetoric of Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters.

After all, Jeremy’s whole ideology is truly global . . . .
– written by a German philosopher,
– developed by Chinese and Russians revolutionaries,
– and sold by a party leader from London.

What could be more global than that?

As we meet here in Manchester, we are surrounded by reminders of what this country is capable of achieving on the global stage. We sit across the road from the building where Mr Rolls met Mr
Royce, In a city which was a home of the industrial revolution.

I am reminded of Benjamin Disraeli’s words, ‘that what Manchester does today, the rest of the world does tomorrow.’

This city, like so much of our great nation, reminds us that we are a nation built on global aspirations and a thirst for adventure.

A nation which punches above its weight the Anthony Joshua rather than the John Prescott of the international stage.

A nation which understands that our society achieves its greatest feats, when we defy the odds.

A nation which understands the value of attracting and welcoming the best talent from across the globe, not just from Europe.

Leaving the EU was never about shrinking away from the rest of the world. But, about embracing the opportunities beyond just one small corner of it.

When we leave the EU, we will not be leaving behind our European friends. As one of my Flemish MEP colleagues reminds everyone, Britain is an island, not a boat.

We will not simply sail away.

As the Prime Minister said in Florence, we want to work hand in hand with the European Union, rather than as part of the European Union.

We also want to continue working with like-minded parties.

In the European Parliament, I am proud to lead the European Conservatives & Reformists political group with MEPs from 18 countries from across the EU.

Who wish to maintain a deep and prosperous relationship with the UK after we leave.

Because they know that the history and future we share, is not conditional on being a Member of one particular club.

A belief in open trade, fair immigration, jobs and growth governed by proportionate laws which allows innovation and ambition, rather than over regulation and costly bureaucracy.

As a libertarian-minded Conservative and a free trader – I see Brexit as THE MOMENT to seize.

It is THE MOMENT which will define us.

Not only for the UK to step out on the global stage, But for the UK to act as a global leader.

A hub for tech innovation. A beacon for global trade. A magnet for inward investment.

And we have the products, we have the people and we have the passion to do it.

As my parents used to tell me, there is no limit to what you can achieve as long as you believe in yourself and work hard.

Now is the time for Britain to roll up its sleeves, to dig deep, and to build the foundations for a better future.

As the writer Nassim Nicholas Taleb said …

“When there is disruption, you face three choices: You can be fragile – take a dive, you can be robust and survive or you can take full advantage of the opportunities by being anti-fragile and thrive.

Brexit is an opportunity for our world-leading tech companies to develop new smart, online immigration and customs systems and transform the way we work both in government and public

This is our opportunity to turn our backs on the form filling and bureaucracy more suited to the 1970s and to embrace solutions of a global 21st century nation.

And by attracting the best global talent, we can make the UK the Silicon islands of this side of the Atlantic.

Our exit from the EU is ultimately about people’s lives and livelihoods. The important thing is to make sure we come away with a deal that benefits ALL the British people. Not just the big finance houses and the multinationals that scream the loudest but a deal which restores control of our own laws, our own trade destiny, and our own fair and balanced immigration policy.

I believe that our Government is the right one to deliver this vision. I am confident about the future, because I know what kind of country this is.

It is tolerant, It is open; and It is determined.

A country that opened its arms to welcome my father in the 1950s who came here to work on the railways then as a bus driver and in one generation offered his son the opportunity to lead one of the largest political groups in the European Parliament.

So I say: As Conservatives
Let us cherish that ambition,
Let us reach out to the future

Let us embrace the new opportunities
of a truly global Britain.

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