David Cameron's speech to the Conservative conference: full text

"As Prime Minister it has fallen to me to say some hard things and to help our country face some hard truths."

In May 2010, this party stood on the threshold of power for the first time in more than a decade.

We knew then that it was not just the ordinary duties of office that we were assuming.

We were entering into Government at a grave moment in the modern history of Britain.

At a time when people felt uncertainty, even fear.

Here was the challenge:

To make an insolvent nation solvent again.

To set our country back on the path to prosperity that all can share in.

To bring home our troops from danger while keeping our citizens safe from terror.

To mend a broken society.

Two and a half years later of course I can't tell you that all is well, but I can say this:

Britain is on the right track.

As Prime Minister it has fallen to me to say some hard things and to help our country face some hard truths.

All of my adult life, whatever the difficulties, the British people have at least been confident about one thing.

We have thought we can pay our way.

That we can earn our living as a major industrial country...

…and we will always remain one.

It has fallen to us to say - we cannot assume that any longer.

Unless we act, unless we take difficult, painful decisions, unless we show determination and imagination, Britain may not be in the future what it has been in the past.

Because the truth is this.

We are in a global race today.

And that means an hour of reckoning for countries like ours.

Sink or swim. Do or decline.

To take office at such a moment is a duty and an honour…

…and we will rise to the challenge.

Today I’m going to set out a serious argument to this country about how we do that.

How we compete and thrive in this world…

…how we can make sure in this century, like the ones before, Britain is on the rise.

Nothing matters more.

Every battle we fight, every plan we make, every decision we take is to achieve that end…

…Britain on the rise.

BRITAIN CAN DELIVER

Though the challenge before us is daunting, I have confidence in our country.

Why?

Because Britain can deliver. We can do big things.

We saw it this summer.

The Jubilee, the Olympics, the Paralympics…

…the best country in the world…

…and let’s say it: with our Queen, the finest Head of State on earth.

I was trying to think of my favourite moment.

Was it telling President Hollande that no, we hadn’t cheated at the cycling, we didn’t have rounder wheels, it was just that we peddled faster than the French?

No… for me it was seeing that young woman who swam her heart out for years…

…nine training sessions a week, two hours a time.

My best moment was putting that gold medal around the neck of Ellie Simmonds. 

And I am so grateful for what all those Paralympians did.

When I used to push my son Ivan around in his wheelchair, I always thought that some people saw the wheelchair, not the boy.

Today more people would see the boy and not the wheelchair – and that’s because of what happened here this summer.

And the Olympics showed us something else.

Whether our athletes were English, Scottish, Welsh or from Northern Ireland…

….they draped themselves in one flag.

Now, there’s one person who didn’t like that…

…and he’s called Alex Salmond.

I’m going to see him on Monday to sort that referendum on independence by the end of 2014.

There are many things I want this coalition to achieve but what could matter more than saving our United Kingdom…

…let’s say it: we’re better together and we’ll rise together – so let’s fight that referendum with everything we’ve got.

There are so many people to thank for this summer.

Those that won the bid, those that built the stadia, that ran the Games…

…and of course: the man who put a smile on our faces…

…the zinger on the zip-wire…

…the Conservative Mayor of London: our Boris Johnson.

And those Games-Makers.

You know, I’ve spent three years trying to explain the Big Society…

…they did it beautifully in just three weeks.
.
There is another group of people who stepped into the breach this summer – and we in this party never forget them.

Our armed forces have been on the ground in Afghanistan for over ten years now.

433 men and women have made the ultimate sacrifice.

Just last weekend there was a memorial service for one of the fallen, and the eulogy said this:

“All that they had they gave. All that they might have had. All that they had ever been. All that they might ever have become.”

For all those who serve, and their families, I repeat the commitment I made when this Government came to office.

By the end of 2014, all UK combat operations in Afghanistan will have come to an end.

Nearly all our troops will be home – their country proud, their duty done…

…and let everyone in this hall stand and show how profoundly grateful we are for everything they do.

CONSERVATIVES CAN DELIVER

To meet the challenges our country faces, we must have confidence in ourselves… confidence as a party.

We’ve been in office two and a half years now – and we’ve done some big, life-changing things.

Just ask Clive Stone, who you saw in a film earlier.

I met him years ago, when we were in Opposition.

He had cancer and he said to me: the drug I need – it’s out there but they won’t give it to me because it’s too expensive…

…please, if you get in, do something about it.

And we have. A new cancer drugs fund that has got the latest drugs to more than 21,000 people and counting.

There was a reason we could do that.

It’s because we made a big decision to protect the NHS from spending cuts.

No other party made that commitment.

Not Labour. Not the Liberal Democrats. Just us – the Conservatives.

To all those people who said we’d bring the NHS down…

...I say…

…well, yes, you’ve got a point.

I’ll tell you what is down.

Waiting lists – down. Mixed wards – down. The number of managers – down. Bureaucratic targets – down. Hospital infections – down.

And what’s up? The number of doctors, the number of dentists, the number of midwives, the number of operations carried out in our NHS.

So be in no doubt: this is the party of the NHS and that’s the way it’s going to stay.

We made a big decision to go on saving lives abroad too.

I know some are sceptical about our aid budget.

But picture the scene – you’re in a health centre in Kinshasa.

See the child with a needle in her arm, being injected with a Yellow Fever vaccine…

…the difference between living and dying…

…how can anyone tell me that’s a waste of money.

Since we gathered here in Birmingham on Sunday, British aid money has vaccinated 130 thousand children around the world. One hundred and thirty thousand children.

You, the Conservative party helped do that, and you should be proud of what you’ve done. 

Here’s something else this party’s done in government.

Last December I was at a European Council in Brussels.

It was three in the morning, there was a treaty on the table that was not in Britain’s interests…

…and twenty five people around that table were telling me to sign it.

But I did something that no other British leader has ever done before…

…I said no – Britain comes first – and I vetoed that EU treaty.

We’re doing big, Conservative things.

For years people said you’ll never reform public sector pensions, the trade unions won’t stand for it.

Well, we’ve done it, and it’s going to cut the cost to the taxpayer almost in half.

For years people said benefits are out of control and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Well, because of our welfare cap, no family will be getting more in benefits than the average family earns.

For years people asked why we couldn’t get rid of those radical preachers who spout hatred about Britain while living off the taxpayer…

…well, Theresa May – a great Home Secretary - has done it – and she’s got Abu Hamza on that plane and out of our country to face justice.

Be proud of what we’ve done already.

Two million of the lowest-paid workers being taken out of income tax altogether.

Over eighteen million households helped with a freeze in their council tax – and we’re freezing it all over again next year too.

BRITAIN ON THE RISE

Big, Conservative things - delivered by this government; made possible by this party.

We can deliver. We can do big things.

The Olympics reminded us how great it feels to be successful.

But we mustn’t let that warm glow give us a false sense of security.

All around the world, countries are on the rise.

Yes, we’ve been hearing about China and India for years…

…but it’s hard to believe what’s happening in Brazil, in Indonesia, in Nigeria too.

Meanwhile, the old powers are on the slide.

What do the countries on the rise have in common?

They are lean, fit, obsessed with enterprise, spending money on the future – on education, incredible infrastructure and technology.

And what do the countries on the slide have in common?

They’re fat, sclerotic, over-regulated, spending money on unaffordable welfare systems, huge pension bills, unreformed public services.

I sit in those European Council meetings where we talk endlessly about Greece…

…while on the other side of the world, China is moving so fast it’s creating a new economy the size of Greece every three months. 

I am not going to stand here as Prime Minister and allow this country to join the slide.

My job – our job - is to make sure that in this twenty first century, as in the centuries that came before, our country, Britain, is on the rise.

And we here know how that is done.

It is the collective result of individual effort and aspiration…

… the ideas you have, the businesses you start, the hours you put in.

Aspiration is the engine of progress.

Countries rise when they allow their people to rise.

In this world where brains matter more, where technologies shape our lives, where no-one is owed a living…

…the most powerful natural resource we have is our people.

Not just the scientists, the entrepreneurs, the engineers…

...not just the teachers, the parents, the nurses…

…but all our people: including the poorest, those who’ve never had a job, never had a chance, never had hope.

That’s why the mission for this government is to build an aspiration nation…

…to unleash and unlock the promise in all our people.

And for us Conservatives, this is not just an economic mission – it’s also a moral one.

It’s not just about growth and GDP…

…it’s what’s always made our hearts beat faster – aspiration; people rising from the bottom to the top.

Line one, rule one of being a Conservative is that it’s not where you’ve come from that counts, it’s where you’re going.

We’ve been led by the daughter of a grocer, the son of a music hall performer…

…by a Jew when Jews were marginalised, by a woman when women were sidelined.

We don’t look at the label on the tin; we look at what’s in it.

Let me put that another way.

We don’t preach about one nation but practise class war…

…we just get behind people who want to get on in life.

The doers. The risk takers. The young people who dream of their first pay-cheque, their first car, their first home – and are ready and willing to work hard to get those things.

While the intellectuals of other parties sneer at people who want to get on in life, we here salute you.

They call us the party of the better-off…

…no: we are the party of the want to be better-off, those who strive to make a better life for themselves and their families – and we should never, ever be ashamed of saying so.

THE RIGHT IDEAS

This party has a heart but we don’t like wearing it on our sleeve.

Conservatives think: let’s just get on with the job and help people and not bang on about it. It’s not our style.

But there’s a problem with that.

It leaves a space for others to twist our ideas and distort who we are: the cartoon Conservatives who don’t care.

My mission from the day I became leader was to change that.

Yes, to show the Conservative party is for everyone: North or South, black or white, straight or gay.

But above all - to show that Conservative methods are not just the way we grow a strong economy, but the way we build a big society.

That Conservative methods are not just good for the strong and the successful but the best way to help the poor, and the weak, and the vulnerable.

Because it’s not enough to know our ideas are right – we’ve got to explain why they are compassionate too.

Because we know what we’re up against.

We say we’ve got to get the private sector bigger and the public sector smaller…our opponents call it ‘Tory cuts, slashing the state’.

No: it’s the best way to create the sustainable jobs people need.

We say help people become independent from welfare…our opponents call it: ‘cruel Tories, leaving people to fend for themselves.’

No: there is only one real route out of poverty and it is work.

We say we’ve got to insist on a disciplined, rigorous education for our children…our opponents call it: ‘elitist Tories, old-fashioned and out of touch.’

No: a decent education is the only way to give all our children a proper start in this world.

The reason we want to reform schools, to cut welfare dependency, to reduce government spending is not because we’re the same old Tories who want to help the rich...

...it’s because we’re the Tories whose ideas help everyone - the poorest the most.

A strong private sector. Welfare that works. Schools that teach.

These three things are essential to helping our people rise.

They are essential to our success in this world.

And you know what – Labour will fight them all the way.

So these things are not just the battle-ground for Britain’s future…

…they are also the battle-lines for the next election – and it is a fight we’ve got to win, for our party and our country.

ECONOMY

To help our people rise, then – number one – we need an economy that creates good jobs.

We need businesses, of every size, in every type of industry, in every part of the country – investing and taking people on.

There are some basic things they need to do that.

Low interest rates so they can afford to take out a loan.

And confidence that it’s worth investing - because the customers will be there, whether at home or abroad.

Getting the deficit down is essential for both.

That’s why our deficit reduction plan is not an alternative to a growth plan: it’s the very foundation of our growth plan.

It’s the only way we’ll get Britain on the rise.

Now I know you are asking whether the plan is working.

And here’s the truth: the damage was worse than we thought, and it’s taking longer than we hoped.

The world economy – especially in the Eurozone – has been much weaker than expected in the past two years.

When some of our big trading partners like Ireland, Spain and Italy are suffering, they buy less from us.

That hurts our growth and makes it harder to pay off our debts.

But here is the crucial thing you need to know.

Yes it’s worse than we thought, yes it’s taking longer, but we are making progress.

Thanks to the grit and resolve of George Osborne, we have cut a quarter off the deficit in the past two years.

25 per cent. 

That’s helped to keep interest rates at record low levels...

...keeping mortgages low.  Leaving more money in your pockets.  Giving businesses more confidence to invest.

Creating more jobs.

And if you don’t believe me, just look at the job creation figures.

Since this government took office, over one million new jobs have been created in the private sector.

That is more – net – in the last two years than Labour managed in ten years.

LABOUR

Now, the Labour politicians who got us into the mess say they have a different way out of it.

They call it Plan B and it goes like this:

We should stop worrying about deficit reduction, borrow more money and spend it to boost the economy.

It sounds so reasonable when you put it like that.

Let me tell you why it’s not.

Right now, while we’ve got a deficit, the people we’re borrowing money from believe that we’ll pay it back - because we’ve set out a tough plan to cut spending and live within our means.

That’s why our interest rates are among the lowest in the world, even though the deficit left to us by Labour was one of the highest in the world.

If we did what Labour want, and watered down our plans, the risk is that the people we borrow money from would start to question our ability and resolve to pay off our debts.

Some may actually refuse to lend us that money.

Others would only lend it to us at higher interest rates.

That would hurt the economy and hit people hard.

If you have a mortgage of £100,000, just a 1 per cent interest rate rise would mean an extra thousand pounds to pay each year.

Labour’s plan to borrow more is actually a massive gamble with our economy and our future.

And it would squander the sacrifices we’ve already made.

We’re here because they spent too much and borrowed too much.

How can the answer be more spending and more borrowing?

I honestly think Labour haven’t learned a single thing.

When they were in office, their answer was always:

Borrow more money.

Now they’re out of office it’s:

Borrow more money.

Whatever the day, whatever the question, whatever the weather it’s: borrow more money.

Borrow, borrow, borrow.

Labour: the party of one notion: more borrowing.

I sometimes wonder if they know anything about the real economy at all.

Did you hear what Ed Miliband said last week about taxes?

He described a tax cut as the government writing people a cheque.

Ed... Let me explain to you how it works.

When people earn money, it’s their money.  

Not the government’s money: their money.

Then, the government takes some of it away in tax.

So, if we cut taxes, we’re not giving them money - we’re taking less of it away.  OK?

And while we’re on that - who suffers when the wealthy businessman goes off to live in Geneva?

Not him – he’s paying about half the tax he would do here…

…it’s those who want to work who suffer because the jobs aren’t being created here.

We promised that those with the broadest shoulders would bear the biggest burden...

…and with us, the rich will pay a greater share of tax in every year of this Parliament than in any one of the thirteen years under Labour.

Under Labour.

We haven’t forgotten, you know.

We remember who spent our golden legacy, who sold our gold…

…who busted our banks, who smothered our businesses…

… who wracked up our debts, who wrecked our economy…

…who ruined our reputation, who risked our future…

…who did this? – Labour did this – and this country should never forget it.

ASPIRATION ECONOMY

To get Britain on the rise we need a whole new economy…

…more enterprising, more aspirational…

…and it’s taking shape already.

We’re getting our entrepreneurial streak back: last year the rate of new business creation was faster than any other year in our history.

Let me repeat that.

The rate at which new businesses started – faster than any year on record.

We’re making things again.

We had a trade surplus in cars last year for the first time in almost 40 years.

And it’s not just the old industries growing, it’s the new.

We’re number one in the world for offshore wind.

Number one in the world for tidal power.

The world’s first green investment bank.

Britain leading; Britain on the rise.  We’re showing we can do it.

Look at the new investment coming in.

In the last two years, Google, Intel, Cisco – the big tech firms – they’ve all set up new bases here.

And we are selling to the world again.

When I became Prime Minister I said to the Foreign Office: those embassies you’ve got…

…turn them into showrooms for our cars, department stores for our fashion, technology hubs for British start-ups.

Yes, you’re diplomats but you need to be our country’s salesforce too.

And look what’s happening.

In just two years, our exports to Brazil are up 25 per cent…

…to China – 40 per cent…

…to Russia – 80 per cent.

There are so many opportunities in this world.

I want to tell you about one business that’s seizing them.

It’s run by a guy called Alastair Lukies.

He and his business partner saw a world with almost 6 billion mobile phones and just 2 billion bank accounts.

They saw the huge gap in the market– and they started a mobile banking firm…

…helping people in the poorest parts of the world manage their money and start new companies.

He’s been with me on trade missions all over the world – and his business is booming.

Back in 2010, when we came to office, they employed about 100 people – now it’s more than 700.

Then they were nowhere in Africa, nowhere in Asia, now they are the global player, with one million new users every month.

So don’t let anyone tell you Britain can’t make it in this world – we’re the most enterprising, buccaneering, creative, dynamic nation on earth.

And to those who question whether it’s right to load up a plane with businesspeople – whether we’re flying to Africa, Indonesia, to the Gulf or China…

…whether we’re taking people from energy, finance, technology or yes – defence …

…I say – there is a global battle out there to win jobs, orders, contracts…

…and in that battle I believe in leading from the front.

To get our economy on the rise there’s a lot more to do – and frankly a lot more fights to be had.

Because there are too many of what I’d call the “yes-but-no” people.

The ones who say “yes, our businesses need to expand…

…but no we can’t reform planning.”

It’s simple.

For a business to expand, it needs places to build.

If it takes too long, they’ll just build elsewhere.

I visited a business the other day that wanted to open a big factory just outside Liverpool.

But the council was going to take so long to approve the decision that they’re now building that factory on the continent – and taking hundreds of jobs with them.

If we’re going to be a winner in this global race we’ve got to beat off this suffocating bureaucracy once and for all.

And then there are those who say “yes of course we need more housing”…

…but “no” to every development – and not in my backyard.

Look - it's OK for my generation. Many of us have got on the ladder.

But you know the average age that someone buys their first home today, without any help for their parents?

33 years old.

We are the party of home ownership – we cannot let this carry on.

So yes – we’re doubling the discount for buying your council house…

…we’re helping first-time buyers get a 95 per cent mortgage…

…but there’s something else we need to do – and that’s accept we need to build more houses in Britain.

There are young people who work hard year after year but are still living at home.

They sit in their childhood bedroom, looking out of the window dreaming of a place of their own.

I want us to say to them – you are our people, we are on your side, we will help you reach your dreams.

WELFARE

If we want our people to rise so Britain can rise, we must tackle welfare.

Here’s two facts for you.

Fact one.  We spend £90 billion a year on welfare for working-age people.

Not pensions. Just welfare for working age people – and that’s one pound in every eight the government spends.

Fact two.  More of our children live in households where nobody works than almost any other nation in Europe.

Let me put it simply.  Welfare isn’t working. And this is a tragedy.

Our reforms are just as profound as those of Beveridge 60 years ago.

He had his great evils to slay. Squalor. Ignorance. Want. Idleness.  And Disease.

Here are mine.

First, unfairness. 

What are hard-working people who travel long distances to get into work and pay their taxes meant to think when they see families – individual families – getting 40, 50, 60 thousand pounds of housing benefit to live in homes that these hard working people could never afford themselves?

It is an outrage. And we are ending it by capping housing benefit.

The second evil: injustice.

Here’s the choice we give our young people today.

Choice one: Work hard. Go to college. Get a job. Live at home. Save up for a flat. And as I’ve just said, that can feel like forever.

Or: Don’t get a job. Sign on. Don’t even need to produce a CV when you do sign on. Get housing benefit. Get a flat. And then don’t ever get a job or you’ll lose a load of housing benefit.

We must be crazy.

So this is what we’ve done.

Now you have to have to sign a contract that says: you do your bit and we’ll do ours.

It requires you to have a real CV and it makes clear: you have to seek work and take work – or you will lose your benefit.

And we’re going to look at ending automatic access to housing benefit for people under 25 too.

If hard-working young people have to live at home while they work and save, why should it be any different for those who don’t?

The next evil: bureaucracy.

Sign on. Sign here. Come back in a fortnight. Repeat as required.

What does this do for the guy who’s been out of work for years, playing computer games all day, living out a fantasy because he hates real life?

For people like him we’re doing something new.

The Work Programme takes the money we’re going to save from getting people off the dole…

…and uses it today to get them into work, with proper training.

We’re spending up to £14,000 on one individual to get them into work – and already almost 700,000 people have got onto the Work Programme.

So let’s be clear: in British politics today it is this party saying no-one is a write-off, no-one is hopeless…

…and with Iain Duncan Smith leading this revolution let this be the party that shows there is ability and promise in everyone.

And just one more thing on welfare.

You know our work experience programme, where we give young people the chance to work in a supermarket, a shop, an office?

Here’s what one union official said about it.

I quote: “The scheme belongs back in the nineteenth century, along with Oliver Twist and the workhouse. It is nothing short of state sponsored slavery…”

Honestly. What an appalling, snobbish attitude to the idea of work.

We’re not sending children up chimneys, we’re giving them a chance.

What’s cruel isn’t asking something of people – it’s when we ask nothing of them.

Work isn’t slavery, it’s poverty that is slavery…

…and again it’s us, the modern compassionate Conservative party, who are the real champions of fighting poverty in Britain today.

EDUCATION

To help people to rise, to help Britain rise, there’s a third – crucial – thing we must do.

Educate all our children.

And I mean really educate them, not just pump up the grades each year.

In maths, in science, in reading, we’ve fallen behind…

…not just behind Germany and Canada but Estonia and Australia too.

This is Britain’s real school report and the verdict is clear: must try harder.

You’ve heard of pushy parents, sharp-elbowing their way to a better education for
their kids?

Well – this is a pushy government.

My approach is very simple.

I’ve got two children in primary school, and I want for your children what I want for mine.

To go to schools where discipline is strict, expectations are high and no excuses are accepted for failure.

I don’t want great schools to just be the preserve of those that can pay the fees, or buy the nice house in the right catchment area…

…I want those schools to be open to every child – in every neighbourhood.

And the reason I know that every child can go to a school like that is because with this Government, more and more new ones are opening.

We’ve heard from some of them this week…

…not just the 79 new free schools – with over a hundred more to come…

…but from some of the more than 2000 academies we’ve helped create – state schools given all the freedoms, and carrying all the high expectations, of private schools.

Yes – that’s my plan – millions of children sent to independent schools…

…independent schools, in the state sector.

That’s the genuine revolution that’s now underway.

The Harris Academy in Peckham has increased the number of students getting five good GCSEs – from 12 percent when it was under local authority control to almost 90 percent now.

The transformation has been astonishing – and the methods have been Conservative.

Smart uniforms, teachers in suits.

Children taught physics, chemistry and biology not soft options.

Children set by ability – with excellence applauded, extra resources for those most in need but no excuses for slacking.

When you see a school like that succeed it prompts the question:

Why can’t every school be that way? Why can’t every child have those chances?

It’s not because parents aren’t ambitious enough – most of these schools are massively over-subscribed.

It’s because the old educational establishment – the left-wing local authorities, the leaders of the teachers unions, the Labour party theorists – stood in the way.

When we saw a badly failing school in Haringey and wanted to turn it into an Academy, the Labour authority, the Labour MP and the teaching unions said no.

When inspirational teachers and parents – in Hammersmith, in Norwich, in Bristol and in Wigan – wanted to open free schools, the left-wing establishment said no.

When we proposed: More pay for good teachers... Getting rid of bad teachers…

…Longer school days to help children learn… Flexible school hours to help parents work…

…More stretching exams for those who’re really able… Less nonsense about health and safety…

…the left-wing establishment have said just one thing: No.

When you ask them: why is a school failing? Why aren’t the children succeeding?

You hear the same thing over and over again.

‘What can you expect with children like these?’ they say.  ‘These children are disadvantaged.’

Of course we want to tackle every disadvantage.

But isn’t the greatest disadvantage of all being written off by those so in hock to a culture of low expectations that they have forgotten what it’s like to be ambitious, to want to transcend your background, to overcome circumstance and succeed on your own terms?

It’s that toxic culture of low expectations – that lack of ambition for every child – which has held this country back.

Well, Michael Gove and I are not waiting for an outbreak of sanity in the headquarters of the NUT or an embrace of aspiration in the higher reaches of Labour before we act.

Because our children can’t wait.

So when people say we should slow down our education reforms – so adults can adjust to them, I say:

I want more free schools, more Academies, more rigorous exams in every school, more expected of every child.

And to all those people who say: he wants children to have the kind of education he had at his posh school…

…I say: yes – you’re absolutely right.

I went to a great school and I want every child to have a great education.

I’m not here to defend privilege, I’m here to spread it.

CONCLUSION

I don’t have a hard luck story.

My dad was a stockbroker from Berkshire.

It’s only when your dad’s gone that you realise – not just how much you really miss them – but how much you really owe them. 

My dad influenced me much more than I ever thought.

He was born with no heels on his feet and legs about a foot shorter than they’re meant to be.  But he never complained - even when he lost both those legs later in life.

Because disability in the 1930s was such a stigma, he was an only child.  Probably a lonely child.  

But Dad was the eternal optimist.  To him the glass was always half full.  Usually with something alcoholic in it.

When I was a boy I remember once going on a long walk with him in the village where we lived, passing the church he supported and the village hall where he took part in interminable parish council meetings. 

He told me what he was most proud of. 

It was simple – working hard from the moment he left school and providing a good start in life for his family. 

Not just all of us, but helping his mum too, when his father ran off.

Not a hard luck story, but a hard work story. 

Work hard.  Family comes first.  But put back in to the community too.

There is nothing complicated about me.

I believe in working hard, caring for my family and serving my country.

And there is nothing complicated about what we need today.

This is still the greatest country on earth.  We showed that again this summer.  22nd in world population.  3rd in the medals table. 

But it’s tough.  These are difficult times.  We’re being tested. 

How will we come through it?  Again, it’s not complicated.

Hard work.  Strong families.  Taking responsibility.  Serving others.

As I said on the steps of No10 Downing Street before walking through that door:  Those who can should, those who can’t we will always help.

The job of this party … of this government … is to help to bring out the best in this country.  Because at our best we’re unbeatable.

We know Britain can deliver because we’ve seen it time and again.

This is the country that … invented the computer, defeated the Nazis, started the web, saw off the slave trade, unravelled DNA and fought off every invader for a thousand years.

We even persuaded the Queen to jump out of a helicopter to make the rest of the world smile …. there is absolutely nothing we cannot do.

Can we make Britain the best place in the world to start a business, grow a business and help that business take on the world and win?  Yes.

Can we – the people who invented the welfare state in the first place – turn it into something that rewards effort, helps keep families together and really helps the poorest with a new start in life.  Yes. 

Can we take our schools and turn out students that will take on the brightest in the world?  Yes. Of course we can.

Let us here in this hall, here in this government, together in this country make this pledge – let’s build an aspiration nation…

…let’s get Britain on the rise.

Deficit, paid down.  Tough decisions, taJken.  Growth, fired up.  Aspiration, backed all the way. 

We know what it takes to win … to win in the tough world of today …. to win for all our people … to win for Britain.  So let’s get out there and do it.

 

David Cameron delivering his conference speech. Photograph: Getty Images
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Cabinet audit: what do Theresa May’s new hires mean for government?

The New Statesman team looks at the politics and policy behind the new Prime Minister’s cabinet appointments.

Liam Fox, International Trade Secretary

Only Nixon, it is said, could have gone to China. Only a politician with the impeccable Commie-bashing credentials of the 37th President had the political capital necessary to strike a deal with the People’s Republic of China.

Theresa May’s great hope is that only Liam Fox, the newly-installed Secretary of State for International Trade, has the Euro-bashing credentials to break the news to the Brexiteers that a deal between a post-Leave United Kingdom and China might be somewhat harder to negotiate than Vote Leave suggested.

The biggest item on the agenda: striking a deal that allows Britain to stay in the single market. Elsewhere, Fox should use his political capital with the Conservative right to wait longer to sign deals than a Remainer would have to, to avoid the United Kingdom being caught in a series of bad deals.

Stephen Bush

Andrea Leadsom, Environment Secretary

A little over a week into Andrea Leadsom’s new role as Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), senior industry figures had already begun questioning her credentials. A growing list of campaigners have called for her resignation, and even the Cabinet Office implied that her department's responsibilities will be downgraded.

So far, so bad.

The appointment would appear to be something of a consolation prize, coming just days after Leadsom pulled out of the Conservative leadership race and allowed Theresa May to enter No 10 unopposed.

Yet while Leadsom may have been able to twist the truth on her CV in the City, no amount of tampering will improve the agriculture-related side to her record: one barely exists. In fact, recent statements made on the subject have only added to her reputation for vacuous opinion: “It would make so much more sense if those with the big fields do the sheep, and those with the hill farms do the butterflies,” she told an audience assembled for a referendum debate. No matter the livelihoods of thousands of the UK’s hilltop sheep farmers, then? No need for butterflies outside of national parks?

Normally such a lack of experience is unsurprising. The department has gained a reputation as something of a ministerial backwater; a useful place to send problematic colleagues for some sobering time-out.

But these are not normal times.

As Brexit negotiations unfold, Defra will be central to establishing new, domestic policies for UK food and farming; sectors worth around £108bn to the economy and responsible for employing one in eight of the population.

In this context, Leadsom’s appointment seems, at best, a misguided attempt to make the architects of Brexit either live up to their promises or be seen to fail in the attempt.

At worst, May might actually think she is a good fit for the job. Leadsom’s one, water-tight credential – her commitment toopposing restraints on industry – certainly has its upsides for a Prime Minister in need of an alternative to the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP); a policy responsible for around 40 per cent the entire EU budget.

Why not leave such a daunting task in the hands of someone with an instinct for “abolishing” subsidies – thus freeing up money to spend elsewhere?

As with most things to do with the EU, CAP has some major cons and some equally compelling pros. Take the fact that 80 per cent of CAP aid is paid out to the richest 25 per cent of farmers (most of whom are either landed gentry or vast, industrialised, mega-farmers). But then offset this against the provision of vital lifelines for some of the UK’s most conscientious, local and insecure of food producers.

The NFU told the New Statesman that there are many issues in need of urgent attention; from an improved Basic Payment Scheme, to guarantees for agri-environment funding, and a commitment to the 25-year TB eradication strategy. But that they also hope, above all, “that Mrs Leadsom will champion British food and farming. Our industry has a great story to tell”.

The construction of a new domestic agricultural policy is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for Britain to truly decide where its priorities for food and environment lie, as well as to which kind of farmers (as well as which countries) it wants to delegate their delivery.

In the context of so much uncertainty and such great opportunity, Leadsom has a tough job ahead of her. And no amount of “speaking as a mother” will change that.

India Bourke

Chris Grayling, Transport Secretary

Having run Theresa May’s leadership campaign, Chris Grayling was always going to be in line for a pretty beefy promotion. And so it transpired, with the staunch Brexiteer being plucked from his post as Leader of the House of Commons to head the Department for Transport.

He has been a useful ally of May’s, reassuring fellow eurosceptics and Brexit voters that the once Remain-backing Prime Minister really means that “Brexit means Brexit”.

But his appointment will bring less comfort to DfT mandarins and those in the transport industry. Detractors who have previously worked for him in government usually either decry him as a hardline right winger, or suggest he is just simply not very bright. A notorious figure since his stint as Justice Secretary in 2012-15, Grayling is known for his uncompromising and compassionless (and often senseless) policy decisions – banning books being sent to prisoners, legal aid cuts, and controversial new court charges. The legal world was also riled by his lack of knowledge about the profession, as the first non-lawyer to serve as Lord Chancellor for nearly half a century.

However, Grayling is familiar with the transport brief, having shadowed the role in 2005-7, and he will have the same challenges as many past transport secretaries (and their shadows): the future of HS2, and the question of airport expansion. Politically sticky infrastructure projects that have been consistently kicked into the long grass. But perhaps May’s enthusiasm for a proper industrial policy – and shelving of austerity targets – will mean Grayling has to get more done on such matters than his prevaricating predecessors.

Anoosh Chakelian

Karen Bradley, Culture Secretary

The most politically charged of the culture minister's responsibilities is overseeing the BBC, and to anyone who works for - or simply loves - the national broadcaster, Karen Bradley has one big point in her favour. She is not John Whittingdale. Her predecessor as culture secretary was notorious for his belief that the BBC was a wasteful, over-mighty organisation which needed to be curbed. And he would have had ample opportunity to do this: the BBC's Charter is due for renewal next year, and the licence fee is only fixed until 2017. 

In her previous job at the Home Office, Karen Bradley gained a reputation as a calm, low-key minister. It now seems likely that the charter renewal will be accomplished with fewer frothing editorials about "BBC bias" and more attention to the challenges facing the organisation as viewing patterns fragment and increasing numbers of viewers move online.

Of the rest of the job, the tourism part just got easier: with the pound so weak, it will be easier to attract visitors to Britain from abroad. And as for press regulation, there is no word strong enough to describe how long the grass is into which it has been kicked.

Helen Lewis

Sajid Javid, Communities Secretary

Sajid Javid is a pinup for Tory aspiration – son of a British-Pakistani bus driver, he worked his way from his local comprehensive in Rochdale to the towers of New York.

At 20, he was attending the Conservative Party Conference and by 25 he was the youngest vice-president of Chase Manhattan Bank. This was the start of an international career that took him to London and Singapore.

After winning the seat of Bromsgrove in 2010, Javid began an equally rapid political rise. By the end of 2011, he was the parliamentary private secretary to the then-Chancellor, George Osborne.

The following years saw him climb the Treasury’s stairs. And a year’s break from economic policy found him haunting the foyers of London’s West End as Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. But by 2015, he was back in Osborne’s sphere of influence as Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills.

He is now the most high-profile survivor of Theresa May’s purge of the Osbornites (she and the former Chancellor often clashed in cabinet), but downgraded to the slightly less weighty position of Communities and Local Government Secretary.

Could Sajid Javid be Britain's first Asian Prime Minister? asked the Daily Mail in 2014. As it is, the new PM has sent his path to power on something of a detour. He's held onto a seat at the cabinet table, but with Osborne on the backbenches, he’s on his own.

Julia Rampen

Boris Johnson, Foreign Secretary

The world shared a stunned silence when news broke that Boris Johnson would be the new Foreign Secretary. Johnson, who once referred to black people as “piccaninnies” and more recently accused the half-Kenyan President of the United States of only commenting on the EU referendum because of bitterness about colonialism, will now be Britain’s representative on the world stage.

His colourful career immediately came back to haunt him when US journalists accused him of “outright lies” and reminded him of the time he likened Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to a “sadistic nurse”. Johnson’s previous appearances on the international stage include a speech in Beijing where he maintained that ping pong was actually the Victorian game of “whiff whaff”.

But Johnson has always been more than a blond buffoon, and this appointment is a shrewd one by May. His popularity in the country at large, apparently helped by getting stuck on a zip line and havingnumerous affairs, made him an obvious threat to David Cameron’s premiership. His decision to defect to the Leave campaign was widely credited with bringing it success. He canned his leadership campaign after Michael Gove launched his own bid, but the question of whether his chutzpah would beat May’s experience and gravity is still unknown.

In giving BoJo the Foreign Office, then, May hands him the photo opportunities he craves. Meanwhile, the man with real power in international affairs will be David Davis, who as Brexit minister has the far more daunting task of renegotiating Britain’s trade deals.

Julia Rampen

Philip Hammond, Chancellor

Even officials with leftwing politics hoped that Theresa May would keep George Osborne in place at the Treasury, for two reasons: firstly because he is a considerate boss, and secondly because his exit from frontline politics likely means the end of a 19-year period of dominance by the Treasury, in which, whether under Gordon Brown, Osborne or even under Alistair Darling, whoever has been in office, the Treasury has been in power.

But Philip Hammond was very much the second choice, way ahead of any of the possible figures. Hammond was the biggest beast to back May’s candidacy and was rewarded for the Treasury brief that coalition denied him (he had shadowed the post of Chief Secretary to the Treasury in opposition but the mechanics of the coalition meant the post had to be given to a Liberal Democrat). Before May’s accession to the premiership, he had already lined up with her on negotiations with the European Union and Osborne’s deficit targets (now shelved).

Hammond comes in with the economy looking pre-recessional and with Britain’s future participation in the single market in some doubt. (Hammond has publicly said Britain ought to remain in the single market above all else – May is more concerned about immigration, while the Brexit-backing ministers are divided.)

What ought he to do? The big task is to get the construction industry back on its feet. Happily, although the decline in Britain’s credit rating has made borrowing more expensive, low interest rates at home and abroad make the case for fiscal stimulus stronger than ever, and mean the government can borrow on the cheap. Launching programmes of housebuilding, transport infrastructure and clean energy would be good ways to try to avert or at least ride out any economic shocks. (From an economic perspective albeit not an environmental one, it makes sense to approve new runways at Heathrow and Gatwick, two “shovel-ready” infrastructure projects that have private money behind them.)

But the big victory that Hammond could achieve at the Treasury would be to defeat the Brexiteer ultras and keep Britain in the single market.

Stephen Bush

Amber Rudd, Home Secretary

The good news first: Amber Rudd, MP for Hastings and Rye since 2010, joins May in the Great Offices of State. This is the first time two of these four positions have been held by women at the same time. Rudd is only the fifth woman ever to hold one.

The ex-Energy Secretary will take the reins directly from May, so it’s fair to assume she’ll carry on much of the work begun by the longest-serving Home Secretary since 1892. Rudd is unlikely to rock the boat here – she has not rebelled once in this parliamentary term. Therese Coffey MP told the Telegraph that May sees Rudd as “a safe pair of hands”.

The Investigatory Powers bill, or so-called Snoopers’ Charter, was a high priority for May, and is currently making its way through the Lords. Despite objections raised in the House around the protection of communications with journalists’ sources and lawyers’ clients, it’s likely it’ll pass without much fuss. Depending on the amendments that make it through, it may allow security services to hack into our computers and phones (including cameras and microphones), and require back doors to be built in encrypted messaging systems.

Rudd has repeatedly voted for a stricter asylum system by restricting the support available to failed asylum seekers, and denying permission for them to work if they’re in the UK for over six months. She was absent for a vote on sparing migrants from deportation on human rights grounds. May stubbornly sought to cut net migration in her time as Home Secretary, and created a minimum income threshold (£35,000) for non-EU citizens who have lived in the UK for less than ten years and who are hoping to stay.

Since taking the leadership May has confirmed that “we should have that goal of bringing immigration down to sustainable levels”. This is now down to Rudd, who in a fiery Brexit TV debate with Boris Johnson argued that immigration is “a complex problem…you need to look at the numbers. But the only number Boris is interested in is Number 10!”

Female Genital Mutilation within the UK also falls within the Home Office remit, and Rudd may try to make her own mark here. She is vice-chair of the Parliamentary Committee on Female Genital Mutilation and has called for stricter laws around the practice.

Barbara Speed

Justine Greening, Education Secretary

An early supporter of the new Prime Minister, and longstanding cabinet member, Justine Greening was always heading for promotion in a Theresa May cabinet. Her former territory, the Department for International Development, loyally picked up a lot of slack from the Home Office on migration issues under Greening's leadership, and she has regularly worked closely with May.

Personal allegiances aside, Greening is a sensible choice for the Department for Education. She is the first Education Secretary to have been educated at a comprehensive school, and as the first openly gay woman to serve in cabinet, she is a good choice for the Women and Equalities brief, which she also carries.

Theresa May’s first speech as Prime Minister highlighted two huge problems that many would attribute to the education system: how white working-class boys are “less likely than anybody else in Britain to go to university”; and how “If you’re at a state school, you’re less likely to reach the top professions than if you’re educated privately”.

Going some way to solving these two huge problems will be Greening’s aim, though really the issues go far deeper than her new department. Still, there is scope for improvement, beginning with an increased focus upon early years education: by the age of five, there is a 19-month gap in school readiness between the most and least disadvantaged children.

The UK is almost unique in having larger class sizes for primary than secondary school, which is barmy; addressing that should be part of a whole project of centring UK education policy on the first years in life, which are the most important, and ceasing the endless tinkering with secondary education.

Alas, many in the Conservative party do not want the tinkering to stop. There is a renewed call for the ban on opening new grammars to be overturned. There are 163 remaining today, concentrated in a few selective counties. The government’s approval of a new grammar school annexe in Sevenoaks last October, ten miles away from the original site, hints at many more to come, with ten council areas keen to open more satellite schools – effectively bringing grammar schools back through the back door.

The nostalgic argument to bring back grammar schools seems perverse considering that, in areas that maintain fully selective education like Kent, poorer pupils do worse than the national average and the attainment gap between the most advantaged and disadvantaged students is above the national average. It also ignores that the countries that perform best in education are those that separate latest, and demand the highest standards of all pupils until 16.

Greening will have more to grapple with than her predecessor Nicky Morgan, because the education brief has now been expanded to include higher education. Integrating the two could have some negative effects: schools and universities will now effectively be competing with each other for funding within the department. Whereas universities' former place in the Department for Business recognised how they are a British export and a driver of business.

But this integration gives Greening the opportunity to improve communication between elite universities and state schools, thereby improving access to the top universities. The coming vote on increasing tuition fees to £9,250 might give her an opportunity to demand that some universities ramp up their access work, as they did when fees when trebled in 2010. Yet she will soon realise that, while some universities could undoubtedly do more, the crux of the issue is way earlier, in the earliest years of life. This should be her main focus.

Tim Wigmore

Damian Green, Work and Pensions Secretary

"There will always be a little bit of the Home Office inside me,” Theresa May told her civil servants when she left 2 Marsham Street for the last time.

There is more than a little bit of the Home Office in her government, too, with trusted old hands from her old department now stretched out across the government. Damian Green, a long-term ally of May’s – and, like her, a veteran of the Conservatives’ internal battles to modernise from long before David Cameron arrived on the scene – and a trusted lieutenant in the Home Office, returns to government having been sacked by Cameron in 2014.

The appointment gives us a clue as to how May views the troubled Universal Credit programme and the Department for Work and Pensions overall. The DWP came to be regarded as something of a basket case on Whitehall and was at continual loggerheads – something that Stephen Crabb was brought in to fix after Iain Duncan Smith quit the government. Crabb’s resignation from the government following stories that he had sent salacious texts to a young woman stymied that project.

Step forward Green. It feels likely that his appointment is a signal that Downing Street is well aware of the problems with IDS’ failed reforms and the need for a competent hand to bring the department back into equilibrium. There’s an irony that the progressive wishlist for the DWP – unwind much of the Duncan Smith agenda, and get the department making headlines for positive reasons – is shared both by the Prime Minister and by the new boss at Caxton Street.

Stephen Bush

Priti Patel, International Development Secretary

Perhaps one of the least palatable new hires for Whitehall bods is Priti Patel, semi-promoted from cabinet-attending Employment Minister to International Development Secretary. The right winger is known for being on the neo-Thatcherite vanguard of the party characterised by the provocative 2012 treatise Britannia Unchained, which she co-authored – championing free market economics and a smaller state. So having her at the helm of any department would legitimately give civil servants the jitters.

But Dfid, though one of the less political departments, is a particularly controversial charge for Patel. In 2013, she suggested to the Daily Telegraph that it should be scrapped in favour of a more trade-focused department, calling for, “the consideration to replace Dfid with a Department for International Trade and Development in order to enable the UK to focus on enhancing trade with the developing world and seek out new investment opportunities in the global race. It is possible to bring more prosperity to the developing world and enable greater wealth transfers to be made from the UK by fostering greater trade and private sector investment opportunities.”

The International Development Act makes it illegal to tie aid to trade, so Patel will find it tough to pursue her ideological aims. But there are things she can do to change the tone and focus of the Department; her initial statement upon taking the job emphasises “working across government, with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the new Department for International Trade, the Home Office and others”. 

She could even advocate for repealing David Cameron’s commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of GDP on development, which was enshrined in law last year. Although it is unlikely she would try this, removing the ring fence on the Dfid budget might actually become a tempting prospect for the rest of government, which is set to become even more cash-strapped as a result of Brexit.

We can only hope that Dfid’s ability to keep its ministers out of the political fray, and regularly travelling overseas, will curb this threat.

Anoosh Chakelian

David Davis, Brexit Secretary

David Davis is proof that there are second acts in political lives. Eleven years after he was defeated by David Cameron in the Conservative leadership contest, and 19 years after he last served in government, Davis has been tasked by Theresa May with negotiating Brexit.

It was a role that the Leave supporter had pitched for throughout the EU referendum campaign, though he was still surprised by his elevation. When the call from Downing Street came, Davis was drinking with a former researcher in a Commons bar and initially ignored his phone. As Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, he will now be one of the new administration’s defining figures.

The Haltemprice and Howden MP, 67, served as Europe minister from 1994-97, a role in which he acquired the sobriquet  “Monsieur Non”. He has already displayed similar implacability in his new post. To the charge that opening trade talks with other countries would be illegal under EU law, Davis replied: “Well that’s what they say, they can’t tell us who to talk to . . . What are they are going to do?” He has also warned that European migrants who arrive before Brexit is complete could be denied the right to remain.

Davis expects Article 50, which sets a two-year limit for withdrawal, to be triggered “before or by the start” of 2017. Rater than retaining single market membership (as Norway does), he favours Canadian-style tariff-free access. This would grant the UK exemption from free movement and EU budget contributions but would deny financial services the right to unhindered trade (known as “passporting”).

The former SAS reservist is best remembered by many for resigning as shadow home secretary in 2008 in order to fight a by-election over the issue of 42-day detention. After remaining outside Cameron’s team, he became a redoubtable defender of civil liberties from the backbenches. The council estate boy was also one of just two Tory MPs to originally vote against tax credit cuts (a record of rebellion that also includes tuition fees, capital gains tax, child benefit cuts, House of Lords reform, boundary changes and Syria).

When I interviewed him in May, Davis warned that any attempt to withdraw the UK from the European Convention on Human Rights would be defeated by himself and “a dozen” other Conservatives (a group known as the “Runnymede Tories” after the meadow where Magna Carta was sealed). It was a stance that May abandoned shortly after launching her leadership campaign.

Davis boasts the rare feat of joining the government while simultaneously suing it. In partnership with Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson, he launched a European court action against the Home Office, May’s former department, over the bulk retention of communications data. “I would be surprised if the ECJ doesn’t find in my favour and that will have big implications for the IP [Investigatory Powers] bill,” he told me.

As one of the “three Brexiters” at the head of May’s government (the others being Boris Johnson and Liam Fox), Davis will compete not only for supremacy over policy. The trio have been ordered to share Chevening, the foreign secretary’s traditional country residence, in Kent.

George Eaton

Greg Clark, Business Secretary

A PhD in economics and a career in management consulting would suggest that the new Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has a flare for maths. Yet when it comes to policy, Greg Clark's record doesn't always add up. 

A renowned Tory moderniser, Clark's appointment to head the new department (born out of watering down BIS, and dismantling DECC) has been greeted with optimism from the business community and green sector alike. He “gets climate change”, said Ruth Davis from the E3G energy policy think tank.

As a former policy director, he helped found and champion David Cameron’s Big Society initiative. He has since been through a succession of frontbench roles, consistently voted in favour of gay marriage, helped devolve power to cities, and made a splash by arguing that Polly Toynbee, not Winston Churchill, should set the Conservative agenda.

Yet can this Middlesbrough-born son of a milkman succeed in growing a green economy where his Big Society agenda appears to have so markedly failed?

The greatest challenge his new, enlarged, and hopefully more empowered, department faces is to grow UK industry at the same time as urgently reducing our emissions. Luckily this is something that Clark also perceives to be one of the country's greatest opportunities. He has criticised those who challenge action on climate change, shown a readiness to plan for the worst when it comes to interpreting climate science, and provided an ambitious vision for Britain’s green economy: “Britain could be the Saudi Arabia of marine energy”, he said in 2009.

Yet while his words have promoted wave-power, his actions have tended to change like the tide. His reputation for devolving power to local governments was seriously dented last year, when it was announced that Clark – then the Communities & Local Government Secretary – not the local council, would get the final say over permission to frack in Lancashire. Other concerning examples of this “do as I say, not as I do” tendency include voting to lower taxes on fuel and for cuts to renewable subsidies. 

He must therefore work fast to ensure that his reputation for blue sky thinking is more than a lot of hot air. Barry Gardiner, Labour's shadow energy secretary, has suggested that accelerating energy efficiency, developing Carbon Capture Storage and bringing forward the government’s promised Carbon Plan, would all be good places to start.

The rise of Clark and his new department is likely to be linked to the demise of the Department for Energy and Climate Change – and the loss of climate change from a cabinet nameplate. Yet if he can steer new policy in the right direction, towards making environmental costs integral to industry rather than an afterthought, he might yet make this chequered inheritance his greatest strength.

India Bourke

James Brokenshire, Northern Ireland Secretary

Remember Northern Ireland? You could be forgiven for forgetting it – certainly, for most of the EU referendum campaign, the fate of the region, which receives £120m a year in funds from the European Union, and thanks to the free movement of labour and the Common Travel Agreement no longer has a hard border between the North and the South.

Now that is in jeopardy, and thanks to the landslide endorsement of Remain by the region’s voters, tensions between Northern Ireland and the mainland are understandably high.

Neglected during the campaign, Northern Ireland has been forgotten during the discussion of what Brexit means. Most of the attention over what Britain’s Leave vote means for its constituent kingdoms has focused on whether Scotland stays in the Union or not – little attention has been given to the £600m hit to the Welsh economy or to what Brexit could do to Northern Ireland’s peace process.

Step forward James Brokenshire. Just as during the Blair era, Gordon Brown brought his protégés up through the Treasury before diffusing them throughout the government machinery, Theresa May has handed jobs to Home Office juniors who she knows and respects.

Brokenshire’s brief will be to shield Northern Ireland from the consequences of the loss of EU funds and ensure that whatever post-Brexit deal is struck, a hard border between North and South remains off the agenda.

Stephen Bush