Grant Shapps: Reckless has betrayed the Conservative Party

CONFERENCE as you know on Thursday the Prime Minister called an emergency Cabinet Meeting in Downing Street…

We approved action, in response to an urgent request from the Iraqi Government…

On Friday, Parliament was recalled to sanction that military force…

In these uncertain times, I know you will want to join me and the whole country in sending our thoughts and prayers to those brave men and women serving in our Armed Forces…

…as well as to the families of the British hostages caught up in that shadow of horror, which seeks to spread itself right to the shores of the Mediterranean.

Cross-party support makes it clear…

… Britain will never stand on the sidelines, and witness the spread of this murderous evil, which threatens us both at home and abroad.

I believe we have the finest Armed Forces in the world…

And we want them to know: they have our support, not just from this conference hall or even this great city, but from right across the whole of our United Kingdom.

Conference, this year we’re going to do things differently:

You won’t just be hearing from the Cabinet…

You’ll be hearing from our Candidates too.

But first, I want to address the events of the last 24-hours.

Conference, we have been betrayed.

Every Conservative in this hall, and everyone you represent:

We all know:

…Individual MPs don’t succeed on their own.

They do so by standing on the shoulders of others.

Your shoulders.

People who volunteered for Mr Reckless, they supported him as a Conservative…

People who pounded the streets, they supported him as a Conservative…

People who donated money from their own pockets, who worked tirelessly for him, they supported him as a Conservative…

They did so in good faith.

You believed this individual represented a set of ideals and deeply held principles: a manifesto.

You leant him your support on trust, and because you believed he carried our Party’s banner.

Today, your trust has been abused.

You have been cheated.

But worse; the people of Rochester and Strood have been cast aside.

They voted for a strong Prime Minister, who would not duck the difficult decisions on our economy, on holding our Union together, and on English votes for English laws…

They voted to cap welfare, to create jobs, to curb immigration…

They voted for a strong Conservative team, who would give them a once in a lifetime opportunity for an in/out referendum on Europe…

As your Party Chairman, I share your deep sense of betrayal and anger.

We have been let down by somebody who has repeatedly lied to his constituents, and to you:

Who said one thing, and then did another.

Last month, he looked us in the eye, and said only our Prime Minister could secure a say for the British people on Europe.

Last week, he insisted he would be campaigning for an outright Conservative victory.

Two days ago, he was busy leaving phone messages, claiming he was enthusiastic about joining us to campaign for Rachel Maclean here in Birmingham today.

He lied and he lied and he lied.

Here’s the truth:

There is only one party with a plan to fix our economy; to deal with our deficit; and cut taxes…

There is only one leader with the clout to stand up for Britain on the world stage…

There is only one way to get that in-out referendum…

Let this be our rallying cry:

My friends… we are going to campaign hard in Rochester and Strood…

Because the people there deserve an MP who will keep his word…

Because our country needs us now – more than ever…

So, let us resolve today…

We will not waver…

We will not be blown off course…

We will finish the job we have started…

And next year, we will meet as a majority Conservative Government!

This year, I really want you to get to know our candidates – our next generation of Conservative MPs.

Over a third women: more than ever…

24 selected by Open Primaries…

And from all walks of life: Nurses, small business-owners, postmen, charity workers, doctors, farmers, teachers, Mums and Dads, local Councillors, engineers: you name it, we’ve got it!

So let’s hear it for our candidates.

Do you remember when Labour used to claim they were the One Nation Party?

Not a word of that last week…

But here’s something that people should know about Conservatives and our motives…

From Disraeli to David Cameron, we are driven by doing what is right for our nation…

Let me give you a recent example…

There are 59 MPs in Scotland, we have just one seat…

So it was not in our narrow self-interest to keep Scotland in the Union.

Yet, despite this, we fought for it…

We fought for it with all our heart and all our soul, because we believe in keeping our nation together…

We should feel proud, hold our heads high, because our generation, we didn’t give up, we didn’t give in…

Both sides of the border, our Party… the Conservative & Unionist Party… said to those doubters who sought to divide us: “No, this is our Britain…”

“So, we’re going to keep our British pound, our British passports, our British Armed Forces…

“We’re going to keep our shared history, our shared economy and yes our shared British values.”

And now we want to send a message from this hall, “Thank You Scotland”…

Thank You for staying with us!

Now, we made a commitment to give more powers to the Scottish people; and we will keep our vow:

Not just the right to spend taxpayers’ money, but the responsibility to raise it too.

At the same time, we’ll also keep our commitments to England and the rest of the UK.

So we’ll bring forward a common-sense solution for the English people: English votes for English laws!

Last week, Ed Miliband attacked this as “politics”.

Well he’s right, it is politics…

It’s the politics of fairness for the 53 million people in England.

So I say this to Ed Miliband…

Now the whole country knows…

They know that when you duck and dive, dither and delay and dodge the question 20 times…

… Your inability to put our country before your party, means you will never be fit to hold the office of Prime Minister of our United Kingdom.

It’s a pleasure to be back here in Birmingham: home to our most popular Symphony Orchestra, who play in this very hall.

This is the birth-place of gas-lighting, the X-ray; the first English translation of Bible, a place with more canals than Venice and yes famously the Balti Triangle!

Our conference has a long-term relationship with this city…

And I’m proud to announce today:

We will be coming back here in 2016, 2018, and 2020!

Now, of course, we could not make that long-term commitment if we were flat broke:

So I want you to join me in thanking the man who has made it all possible – ladies and gentlemen, Andrew Feldman.

Andrew, you’ve made sure our Party is debt-free for the first time anyone can remember.

But there’s another reason we can make this commitment to Birmingham…

And it’s because we’re renewing our party for the Digital Age.

Last year I introduced you to Emma Lane…

You might recall, Emma was the 3,000th member of our growing volunteer army, called Team2015.

These are our new foot soldiers working alongside members to deliver our message on the ground.

Today, we haven’t just doubled that workforce…

…Or even trebled it…

A year later Team2015 is no longer 3,000 volunteers, it’s 25,000 volunteers strong!

And if you haven’t joined them yet, come to our stand in the market hall, or if you’re watching – come to Conservatives.com, and please join us!

Conference, we have a mission: securing a better future…

And people are flocking to our banner…

Party Membership: UP

Members here at Conference: UP

Actually there are more of us here than on record…

And whilst two years ago, no one was visiting Conservatives.com to donate to the party…

…Today… we’re raising hundreds-of-thousands of pounds through small individual donations of perhaps £5, £10 or £20…

…These are made by ordinary people who care passionately about our country’s future and want a stake in it.

But here’s something even more dramatic…

People really want to know about our plan for Britain…

So they’ve been signing themselves up to hear…

Conference, we now have one million, eight thousand, six hundred and twenty supporters who have signed themselves up to receive our message!

… Over a million people…

So our emails now reach a city the size of Birmingham every single week!

Add to that the millions who follow… tweet… and view our message through social media…

… and there are now more people actively engaged in our grassroots network, than at any time since the famous Primrose League, in the 19th century!

But these aren’t just numbers on a database somewhere…

… these are people who are spreading our message to their friends… donating their own cash to the cause… and taking the campaign to every corner of our country.

And if you don’t believe me…

In just one hour’s time…

Please check your Twitter and  Facebook feed for #RoadTrip2015…

Where you’ll see our brilliant candidate Rachel Maclean with hundreds of Team2015 members right here on the streets in Birmingham!

Last week, at Labour Party Conference, Ed Miliband spoke for over an hour.

Intriguing as it was, to hear about how he meets women in local parks…

He quite literally had nothing to say about the British economy…

Nothing on the record deficit he saddled us with…

Nothing on Labour’s Great Recession… the worst in 100 years…

He spoke of the NHS, but with no apology for the people who died just twenty-five miles from here in the mid-Staffordshire hospital scandal…

…and with no apology to those who, even today, cross the Welsh border to escape Labour’s starvation of the NHS in Wales.

But most importantly of all…

He made no reference to the fact that we cannot secure the future of our NHS, unless we secure the future of our economy.

So, let’s tell people who are thinking of voting Labour, about the real risks of Ed Miliband in Downing Street:

– Risk one: YOUR JOB: Never forget that every Labour Government in history has left more Brits unemployed.

– Risk two: YOUR LIVING STANDARDS: Ed Miliband wants to tax your job…tax your pension… and now tax your family home too.

– Risk three: YOUR ECONOMY: Labour have no plan to pay down the deficit. He didn’t even bother to mention it in his speech!

And no plan to tackle that deficit means your mortgage is immediately at risk.

And you know, what sort of message would it send out to the rest of the world, if we, having struggled through the pain of Labour’s Great recession…

… if we, the British people who have worked hard… sacrificed… and battled our way back towards prosperity…

…if we voted back in the very same people who crashed our economy in the first place?

Now, some say about Labour: “They were useless, but they had their hearts in the right place”.
Conference, I disagree.

If your business was crushed by Labour taxes…

If you lost your job in Labour’s Great Recession…

If your mum or dad was a Mid Staffs patient, left to die without water…

You would disagree too.

So, here are two words for Labour:

Never again!

Labour’s conference…

… now, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was pretty forgettable stuff…

Actually, come to think of it… even Ed Miliband struggled to remember it!

But I’ve got a confession…

There is one Labour policy I wholeheartedly, enthusiastically support…

Keeping Ed Balls in his job until the next election!

Ed Balls:

The man who can hardly drive a car without crashing, let alone the economy…

Literally, the hit-and-run shadow chancellor!

A reminder that when you look under the bonnet, this is the same old, boom-and-bust, tax-and-spend, gold-flogging Labour Party that crashed our economy in the first place!

So yes… the risks of Labour…

…But we must also tell people about our positive Conservative vision.

Deficit down; jobs up…
Welfare capped; pensions rising…
Crime down; new businesses opening…
Our beating heart that says:

We won’t turn a blind eye to pensioners on fixed incomes…

We’re not prepared to ignore sink schools failing our children…

We know it’s unacceptable to leave millions trapped on welfare!

Our hearts are bigger than that…

… Because we understand:

… it’s not enough to dream of prosperity, we have to deliver it…

That’s why our economic plan is compassionate: because it is giving us the means to pay for what matters most…

…Education for our children…

…Care for the sick…

…Dignity for our elderly.

When Ed Miliband suggests we can fix every problem by slicing up the economic cake differently…

… Margaret Thatcher would have responded: we have to bake a bigger cake in the first place!

Colleagues: these facts don’t speak for themselves, that’s our job.

And that’s where our team comes in.

I believe this is one of the strongest teams we have ever fielded in Government!

Michael Gove, for example.

I’ve checked his old file in CCHQ.

It says this:

“A young man, Michael, has applied for a job in our research department… Although quite promising, he has been turned down on the grounds that he is…” QUOTE “…insufficiently political, and insufficiency Conservative”!

Now I know that you know that Conservative HQ doesn’t always get everything right…

But Michael… insufficiently Conservative?

Let me tell you, when we are fighting this election there is no one I would rather have with us in the trenches than Michael Gove, our fantastic Chief Whip!

There’s someone else in our team we should feel proud of:

Someone who has been a favourite of our Conference, ever since he first addressed it in 1977…

A Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary, who restored the reputation of that great office…

He may be retiring, but he will always be with us, and we can’t wait to hear from him later today – William Hague.

But if you’re like me…

If you’re like the millions beyond this hall who want to secure this recovery…

Then it’s good to know we’ve got a Chancellor who’s helped ensure we have the fastest growing economy in the developed world… George Osborne!

And zip-wiring his way back to Parliament… the one and only Boris Johnson!

Finally, most of all, we have someone leading on the world stage, a true global statesman in these insecure times, determined to put the British people first…

A man with the energy, the vision, the leadership that our country needs…

Who time and again has confronted – not ducked – the big, difficult decisions…

Who took on and settled the Scottish independence debate for a lifetime, keeping our family of nations together…

Delivering on our long-term plan… securing Britain’s future…

Ladies and Gentlemen, that’s our Prime Minister… David Cameron!

So, from today… even as we leave this hall to campaign for Rachel Maclean in a few minutes time, remember that we’re not just fighting for her…

We’re not just fighting for one constituency in the middle of England…

No, we’re fighting for the heart and soul of Great Britain…

We’re fighting for a Conservative majority Government, because that is what our country needs…

We’re fighting for full employment, for home ownership, for rising living standards…

We’re fighting for a Britain that you can feel proud of…

So if you agree with me, then let’s work together, let’s stand together, and together let’s finish the job!