Speech to Welsh Conservative Party Conference, Llangollen

Los Angeles

Bore da cynhadledd

I hope you are all recoverd from an excellent first day at conference.

I know I’ve enjoyed myself so far.

Friends, colleagues.

Ronald Reagan once said: "Status quo is Latin for the mess we're in".

In Wales we've had 17 years of the status quo.

Same old Labour.

Same old excuses.

Same old mess.

It's the same in Europe.

There are too many people who still think that the old way of doing things

is the only way of doing things.

In the next few months we can change all that.

Here in Wales we have plenty of talent.

We're a party bristling with new ideas.

Cleaning up the mess Labour left behind.

Helping people in work,

And into work.

Growing our economy.

Investing in our future.

Making us safer,


And better off.

Changing Wales,

Changing Britain,

For the better.


Many of us want to change the status quo in Europe too.

Whether Britain remains inside the EU.

Or outside it,

I know that to achieve this Britain needs to stand centre stage.

Fixing Europe's broken economy,

By leading its economic revival.

Working with others to put out the arc of fire raging on Europe's borders.

Offering sanctuary to those fleeing war, persecution, and prejudice.

Defending democracy, free speech, and tolerance against the preachers of hate and the forces which threaten them.

Those same forces which risk our security at home and that of our friends overseas.

We need to reform Europe to make it safer, stronger, and better off.

And lead the fight for a new Wales too.

A force for change which will dismantle the cozy consensus,

The status quo,

Which has held our country back for far too long.

Which thinks second best will do.

And which dares to challenge anyone who knows it won't.

It's why the next few weeks are so important.

Change in Wales

and in Europe.

Not more of the same in Brussels.

Not five more years of Labour in Wales.

Just think about that for a moment.





If we let that happen,

By the end of the next Assembly term Wales will have been ruled by Labour for more than two decades.

Two decades of being the poorest part of the United Kingdom.

Two decades of lagging behind on education, healthcare, and all the other things we rely upon.

Two decades of second best.


When we have the people,

The passion,

And the ideas to achieve so much more,

I don't think we should settle for second best,

And I don't think the people of Wales should either.


Our future,

My children’s future

And that of everyone in Wales,

Is as much about what we say and what we do in the next few weeks as it is in the next few years.

It's why the Assembly elections matter so much.

------- And why the more Conservatives we elect on May the Fifth,--------

The stronger the forces for change become.


Better schools.

Better hospitals.

More people in work.

Fewer people out of it.

A partnership with Westminster.

More people having more opportunities to fulfil their potential and do the things they want to do.

Safer, stronger, and better off under a Conservative Welsh Government.

And just as we can't afford more of the same in Wales.

I don't believe we can afford more of the same in Europe either.

I've made no secret of my belief that I think it's in Britain's best interests,

It's in Wales' best interests,

For the United Kingdom to remain part of a reformed European Union.

And I know there may be people here today who do not agree with me


But I'm not saying that the EU is perfect.

Far from it!

Reform is the only way forwards

Reforming the EU is not only in Britain's interests.

It's in Europe's interests too.

It's why I believe the Prime Minister was right to fight a hard fight with our European partners,

Fixing the aspects of our EU membership that cause so much frustration.

Getting a better deal for our country.

For our economy,

And for our national security.



Mae bywydau tri miliwn o bobl yma yng Nghymru yn cael eu heffeithio gan ein haelodaeth o’r UE.

Y pobl sy’n gwneud pethau

Y pobl sy’n gweithio

Y pobl sy’n gofalu


Ac ie, fyn nheulu hefyd

Mae’n rhaid i ni barhau i ddiwygio rheolau a sefydliadau Ewrop

Gwneud yr UE yn fwy ym atebol

Yn fwy parchus

Yn fwy perthnasol

Achos dim ond trwy wneud y pethau hyn…

 …dim ond trwy ddiwygio y byddwn ni’n gwellau ein perthynas ag Ewrop

 A chael del well i Brydain.



There are three million people here in Wales whose lives are affected by our membership of the EU.

The makers,

The doers,

The workers,

The carers.


And, yes ... my family too.

We need to continue to reform Europe's rules and its institutions.

Make the EU more responsive,

More respectful,

More relevant.

Because it's only by doing these things ...

... it's only through reform that we can fix our relationship with Europe.

And get a better deal for Britain.


The Prime Minister delivered on his promise to take us out of ‘ever closer union’ so we get more power for our national parliaments and assemblies.

Permanently protecting ourselves from further European integration.

David Cameron delivered on his promise to make Europe more competitive,

So we create more jobs and make families more financially secure.


The deal he got will lock in new protections so countries like ours outside the Euro are not discriminated against under EU rules.

He ensured that the Pound in your pocket today,

Will be the Pound in your pocket tomorrow.

He's secured an agreement to cut the benefits EU migrants get,

So we prevent our welfare system acting as a magnet to those who want to come here.

Creating a fairer system for people who work here and play by the rules.

Of course, there are those who believe all these things can be solved instantly by leaving the EU.

Conference ... let me tell you this.

Leaving the EU won’t solve a thing!


Leaving doesn't mean we won't be bound by the EU's rules when we want to trade with them.

It just means we won't have a say in how those rules are devised and implemented.

Leaving doesn't mean we’ll be free to trade with our European partners.

Because we’ll still have to pay for the privilege of accessing the markets businesses here in Wales depend upon.

It'll take years to negotiate trade deals with Europe,

When today we’re already part of the world's largest trading bloc of 500 million consumers and 21 million businesses.

Leaving the EU will undermine our competitive edge.

It'll put jobs and businesses at risk.

It'll build walls.

When we should be building bridges.

It'll breed confrontation,

Not cooperation.

For me there is no question.

From the money you earn.

To the money you spend.



And all the other things we get from being part of Europe.

It's incredibly important we stay in the EU.

A reformed EU.

That's why the decision we'll all soon take matters so much.


Events around the world also tell me we cannot exist in isolation.

In a globalised society the futures of every single person on this planet are increasingly interlinked.

History tells us that for generations people from Wales have reached out to the rest of Europe,

Not recoiled from it.

So just as Welsh coal fuelled Europe's industrial past,

And Welsh wings keep Europe's planes in the air today.


I want the Wales of tomorrow to show what a small country on the edge of Europe can do.

A leader in science and research.

A dynamic,


Growing economy,

Where more businesses trade with more markets and more countries than ever before.

A model of opportunity for young people.

A country which looks after its own.

And takes care of the vulnerable, the persecuted, and those fleeing terror.

A country which makes the most of its natural assets,

And its natural talent.

A leading light on equality.

So no-one feels marginalised or second best.

A country which looks out to the world,

Instead of looking in on itself.


We have to ask ourselves …

How do we achieve this?

Can we get what we want for Britain and show the world who we are by sticking with our European partners in a reformed European Union?

Does this make us stronger?


And better off?

Or are we more visible,

Or better off on our own,

Outside the EU

We need to ask ourself this too.

Why should  the United Kingdom,

A country which founded NATO and the UN,

With its global reach through the Commonwealth, the G7, and the G20,

With its trade links and its influence,

Now turn its back on its nearest neighbours,

At a time when the need to stick together is more important than ever before?


At the referendum to come I want everyone to understand the consequences,

From the money you earn,

To the job you do.

The food you eat,

To safety on our streets.

That's how fundamental our decision on EU membership is.

Just as it's a simple choice on May the Fifth at the Assembly elections.

It's more of the same versus the forces for change.

So let's not settle for second best.

Let's aspire to be better than that.


I started this speech by quoting Ronald Reagan.

I'm going to end it by quoting him too.

In 1982 he said that "in a world wracked by hatred, economic crisis, and political tension, America remains mankind's best hope".

I believe that the Europe of today faces many of the same challenges,

Economic and political.

And remaining in the EU is our best hope for overcoming them together.

It's why I believe the United Kingdom's place is to lead and reform the EU.

Making us safer,


And better off within it.

After 17 years of Labour, I passionately believe there is only one best hope in Wales too.

The Welsh Conservative Party.

Thank you.