Tony Blair, 2006

Tony Blair, last conference speech, Labour party conference, September 2006.

 

"You're the future now. Make the most of it," were Tony Blair's final words to his last Labour party conference in 12 years as Labour leader.

By turns serious and witty, the speech covered the key topics of Blair's premiership. He acknowledged his rocky relationship with Gordon Brown but stressed that the elections could not have been won without the support of the chancellor. He jokingly addressed reports that his wife, Cherie, had criticised Brown: "Well, at least I don't have to worry about her running off with the bloke next door."

Blair highlighted the party's achievements and robustly defended his much-reviled foreign policy, looking at the challenges ahead for Labour.

The speech summed up his continuing assessment of the international struggle against terrorism, railing against anti-Americanism and looking forward to the fresh challenge of peace in the Middle East. He received a seven-minute standing ovation.

Some highlights:

"In no relationship at the top of any walk of life is it always easy, least of all in politics, which matters so much and which is conducted in such a piercing spotlight. But I know New Labour would never have happened, and three election victories would never have been secured, without Gordon Brown. He is a remarkable man. A remarkable servant to this country. And that is the truth."

"This terrorism isn't our fault. We didn't cause it. It's not the consequence of foreign policy. It's an attack on our way of life. It's global. It has an ideology. It killed nearly 3,000 people including over 60 British on the streets of New York before war in Afghanistan or Iraq was even thought of."

"David Cameron's Tories? My advice: get after them. His foreign policy. Pander to anti-Americanism by stepping back from America. Pander to the Eurosceptics through isolation in Europe. Sacrificing British influence for party expediency is not a policy worthy of a prime minister."


Click here for a video of the speech.

Click here for a full transcript of the speech.

 

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Previous speech: David Cameron, leadership bid, Conservative party conference, October 2005.

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