Conservative Party leadership hustings: Opening speeches

Boris Johnson   “The hour is darkest before dawn and I’m here to tell you in all confidence that we can turn this thing around and that we can go on to defeat Jeremy Corbyn and the first thing we need to do is get Brexit done, and as someone who campaigned for Brexit , who believes in Brexit, someone who has meditated deeply on the opportunities that Brexit could bring our country, I am the right man to unleash now on that project, and in fact there is a pretty broad consensus as you saw in the recent BBC debate about how to do it .  You disaggregate the elements of the otherwise defunct withdrawal agreement, you take the protections of the 3.2 million European Union nationals living in our country, you put them into law, you reserve the payment of the £39 billion, create ambiguity until there is a solution, and then you solve the problems of free movement of goods across the Irish and Northern Irish and other borders to were they logically belong and that is in the context of the free trade agreement we will negotiate in the implementation period after we have come out on October 31st, and of course there will be those who will say it will all be difficult, and Brussels will say no, and all I can say is that I’m utterly convinced, that with the right energy and the right commitment, common sense will prevail.  But just in case it does not, we must prepare to come out anyway and we must be able to come out on WTO terms, so that for the first time in these negotiations , we carry conviction , and precisely because we will be preparing between now and October 31st for a no deal Brexit, that we will get the deal we need, and if we can get this done and over the line, then we will pitchfork this incubus of our backs, we will end the sense of drift downed decision and we will be able to get on with a fantastic modern Conservative agenda and if I could sum up in one sentence my ambition for this country it is to unite our country and unite our society and to bring the whole of the UK together in the way we were able to do in London.  Because when I became elected 11 years ago, they talked of a tale of two cities in London, we had four of the six poorest boroughs in the whole of the UK, and I can tell you after two terms, eight years, at the end of my time as mayor, we had none of the poorest twenty boroughs anywhere in the UK in London, society came together, and how did we do it, we did it by fantastic investments in infrastructure to help people on modest incomes to get to their place of work, we got crime down to about 20%, we got the murder rate down by 50% and of course we championed the resurgence of education in London, and now is the time to apply that formula, education, investment in infrastructure, use of technology to bring our whole country together, because too many people, look at that Brexit vote, too many people feel left behind of the incredible success of this country and our ambition must be now to bring Britain, bring the whole of the UK together, uniting all four nations, the awesome foursome, and uniting society.  You do it first with increased education funding, I want to level up across the country, I want to see fantastic infrastructure and I would like to be the prime minister who helps Andy street to do here in the west Midlands with his fantastic plans for metro rail connectivity, what we were able to do with Crossrail and tube upgrades across London, we should be pushing forward broadband across the whole country and that is the way, far quicker than the current programme to create a platform for business to grow and invest  We know this incredible UK economy soars as it does like an eagle, because it has two wings , a dynamic free market enterprise culture and fantastic public services, each giant wing propelling the other, and Jeremy Corbyn simply doesn’t understand that, he’s a Hamas supporting anti-Semitism condoning apologist for Moscow, continue with all the compound adjectives that your familiar with, he would whack up taxes, corporation tax, financial transaction tax, inheritance tax, income tax, up to 50%, all to pay for his deranged £300bn programme of renationalisation, he and John Mcdonell would pluck from taxation, so many feathers from the wealth creating wing that the whole UK economy would go into a death spiral, so lets keep Corbyn out, lets keep McDonnell’s plucking fingers away from this country, and lets take Britain forward, lets take Britain forward and all the incredible range of businesses and industries in which we lead the world.  We’re here in the birth place, not just of the industrial revolution, the first industrial revolution, the incredible thing is that Birmingham and the West Midlands are today the home of revolutions in new technology that will cut Co2, but create tens of thousands of jobs here and in the future.  What we need to discover now my friends, is a new confidence in our country , we need to re revitalise our party, we need to unite and defeat Jeremy Corbyn and I believe we can do it, and in case I’ve failed to make this point earlier on in these remarks, and seeing as I have 32 seconds left , let me remind you that the last time I had to face an enemy of the London Labour left, considering more fertile and ingenious than Jeremy Corbyn , I was able to defeat him when we conservatives were 17 points behind Labour in London, we did it then, we can do it again, we can and we must , and I believe if I’m allowed to succeed in this contest with your help we will and I hope I can count on your support.”   Jeremy Hunt   “Colleagues, friends, we had an exciting start to this campaign, for me here in the west Midlands, I’ve been to a steel factory outside Kidderminster, a chocolate factory in Tenbury , I’ve had a free hair cut and made a Balti in Birmingham, and you know, the internet, because I’m the underdog , the internet has been kind to me for the first time in my life, and they’re actually, running a campaign to help find me a slogan I should be putting to the membership and the country and we’ve had hashtag take a punt on Hunt, hashtag Jezza’s the bezza and hashtag huntymchuntface, now be very careful how you say that as we are the party of family values.  Friends, we are in a very serious situation. Get things wrong and there will be no Conservative government, maybe even no conservative party. Get things right and we can deliver Brexit, unite the party and send Corbyn packing, that’s our choice, but in this Brexit debate we’ve had a lot of discussion of how we solve Brexit but not enough discussion of who, who is the prime minister we trust to send to Brussels to lead us out of this crisis and if we send the wrong person catastrophe awaits.  If you choose me, I will have been the first prime minister that’s been an entrepreneur by background, how many people here have set up their own businesses, put your hand up, that’s the Conservative family, lots and lots of hands going up. And what is it we entrepreneurs do, we negotiate.  If we send the wrong person there’s going to be no negotiation, no trust no deal, and if parliament stops that and maybe no Brexit. Send the right person and there’s a deal to be done. Send that right person and we can do what we all need which is to come back with something that’s positive for our country, that’s what I want to do, and when we do that what incredible opportunities await this fantastic country.  As someone who set up on their own, I am championing to turn our economy into the most pro-business, pro enterprise, fastest growing, most high tech, greenest economy in Europe. That’s what I did, and I want other young people to do exactly the same thing I did.  We have the best universities in Europe, we’ve got more tech entrepreneurs, we could be the worlds next silicon valley and that could happen right here in the West Midlands, because you’ve got the 5g pilot happening in Birmingham, you’ve got driverless cars happening at Warwick manufacturing group, you’ve got so many gaming companies in Lemington spa, it’s been re-christened silicon spa, not the kind of spa you take your wife to after you’ve got her nationality wrong, mind you, but there is this potential, incredible potential and I’m going to take a giant step to making that happen, by making a radical cut to corporation tax to 12.5% Irish levels to turbo charge the British economy, I want to land an economic jumbo jet on Europe’s door step, so that when it comes to those trade talks , they needs us every bit of much as we need them.  I’m also the foreign secretary who wants Britain to walk tall in the world. My dad was in the Navy, we followed him around from Portsmouth to Plymouth to Surrey and Scotland, which is why I’m passionate about our union, thanks to his generation we won the cold war, and the risks out there are increasing, and that’s why I’ve said I will increase defence spending to beyond 2% of GDP on top of the 0.7 % aid commitment, and I’ve said I’ll do that, not just because of increasing aggression from countries like Russia, but because the point of Brexit I want the world to know that Britain, the country, one of the very few countries that has championed democratic values and the security necessary to underpin it, I want the world to know that Britain is here, Britain is back, Britain’s voice is strong in the world and we will defend those values.  I’d also be the first prime minister that’s run our NHS and you have some fabulous hospitals here in Birmingham, UHB, Birmingham Women and Children’s , but you also have Midstaffs or had Midstaffs and I’ll never forget my first month as health secretary, the department of health advised me to not meet the families of Midstaffs, I rejected that advice and I met a lady called Julie Bailey, she lost her mum in a horrible, horrible death, she looked me in the eye and said Jeremy, you could change all this and I hope I did, because by the time I finished nearly 3 million people were using good or outstanding hospitals compared to the time I started.  We Conservatives, we can’t just have an economic mission, we must have a social mission and I want our next social mission to be the social care system for every single older person so they can live in dignity, and I want it be the education system, so that no one leaves education not being able to read or write and not with a rigorous qualification so that they can get a decently paid job. I want us to be the first government, the first conservative government that abolishes illiteracy in our society and shows the world our conservative values.  Finally, politics is about winning elections and I’ll be the first prime minister in half a century to win a marginal seat. I know what it’s like to knock on every door, need every single vote, I’m looking at every single vote right now, I love you all, and there are some very important marginal seats in the West Midlands; Stoke North, Halesowen, Stourbridge, Walsall North , brilliant MP’s and we’ve got to be there for them, and I promise you two things as a campaigner, firstly when we go back to the British people, we will get more younger people voting Conservative, because we can’t be the party of aspiration if the most aspirational people aren’t supporting us, and we’re going to get them back. And the second thing I will promise you is that I will never provoke a general election before we have left the European Union.  The lesson of Peterborough is that that would kill us. Ignore that and we ignore the crocodile lurking under the surface of British politics. A Labour Party led by the most ruthless, dangerous, anti-wester, anti-British, hard left cabal that’s ever been under Jeremy Corbyn. Now, faced with a hard-left populist we could choose our own populist, or we could do better, we could choose our own Jeremy.  A Jeremy who’s going to deliver Brexit, unleash the potential of our extraordinary country, deliver true social justice. Not so much for those of us in this hall, most of us have done ok, but for people watching at home, young people desperate to get a decent paid job, families struggling to afford a home, older people who just want to live out their day’s with dignity and respect . We have to be there for them, that is our Conservative Party, let me show you how.”

Boris Johnson

“The hour is darkest before dawn and I’m here to tell you in all confidence that we can turn this thing around and that we can go on to defeat Jeremy Corbyn and the first thing we need to do is get Brexit done, and as someone who campaigned for Brexit , who believes in Brexit, someone who has meditated deeply on the opportunities that Brexit could bring our country, I am the right man to unleash now on that project, and in fact there is a pretty broad consensus as you saw in the recent BBC debate about how to do it .

You disaggregate the elements of the otherwise defunct withdrawal agreement, you take the protections of the 3.2 million European Union nationals living in our country, you put them into law, you reserve the payment of the £39 billion, create ambiguity until there is a solution, and then you solve the problems of free movement of goods across the Irish and Northern Irish and other borders to were they logically belong and that is in the context of the free trade agreement we will negotiate in the implementation period after we have come out on October 31st, and of course there will be those who will say it will all be difficult, and Brussels will say no, and all I can say is that I’m utterly convinced, that with the right energy and the right commitment, common sense will prevail.

But just in case it does not, we must prepare to come out anyway and we must be able to come out on WTO terms, so that for the first time in these negotiations , we carry conviction , and precisely because we will be preparing between now and October 31st for a no deal Brexit, that we will get the deal we need, and if we can get this done and over the line, then we will pitchfork this incubus of our backs, we will end the sense of drift downed decision and we will be able to get on with a fantastic modern Conservative agenda and if I could sum up in one sentence my ambition for this country it is to unite our country and unite our society and to bring the whole of the UK together in the way we were able to do in London.

Because when I became elected 11 years ago, they talked of a tale of two cities in London, we had four of the six poorest boroughs in the whole of the UK, and I can tell you after two terms, eight years, at the end of my time as mayor, we had none of the poorest twenty boroughs anywhere in the UK in London, society came together, and how did we do it, we did it by fantastic investments in infrastructure to help people on modest incomes to get to their place of work, we got crime down to about 20%, we got the murder rate down by 50% and of course we championed the resurgence of education in London, and now is the time to apply that formula, education, investment in infrastructure, use of technology to bring our whole country together, because too many people, look at that Brexit vote, too many people feel left behind of the incredible success of this country and our ambition must be now to bring Britain, bring the whole of the UK together, uniting all four nations, the awesome foursome, and uniting society.

You do it first with increased education funding, I want to level up across the country, I want to see fantastic infrastructure and I would like to be the prime minister who helps Andy street to do here in the west Midlands with his fantastic plans for metro rail connectivity, what we were able to do with Crossrail and tube upgrades across London, we should be pushing forward broadband across the whole country and that is the way, far quicker than the current programme to create a platform for business to grow and invest

We know this incredible UK economy soars as it does like an eagle, because it has two wings , a dynamic free market enterprise culture and fantastic public services, each giant wing propelling the other, and Jeremy Corbyn simply doesn’t understand that, he’s a Hamas supporting anti-Semitism condoning apologist for Moscow, continue with all the compound adjectives that your familiar with, he would whack up taxes, corporation tax, financial transaction tax, inheritance tax, income tax, up to 50%, all to pay for his deranged £300bn programme of renationalisation, he and John Mcdonell would pluck from taxation, so many feathers from the wealth creating wing that the whole UK economy would go into a death spiral, so lets keep Corbyn out, lets keep McDonnell’s plucking fingers away from this country, and lets take Britain forward, lets take Britain forward and all the incredible range of businesses and industries in which we lead the world.

We’re here in the birth place, not just of the industrial revolution, the first industrial revolution, the incredible thing is that Birmingham and the West Midlands are today the home of revolutions in new technology that will cut Co2, but create tens of thousands of jobs here and in the future.

What we need to discover now my friends, is a new confidence in our country , we need to re revitalise our party, we need to unite and defeat Jeremy Corbyn and I believe we can do it, and in case I’ve failed to make this point earlier on in these remarks, and seeing as I have 32 seconds left , let me remind you that the last time I had to face an enemy of the London Labour left, considering more fertile and ingenious than Jeremy Corbyn , I was able to defeat him when we conservatives were 17 points behind Labour in London, we did it then, we can do it again, we can and we must , and I believe if I’m allowed to succeed in this contest with your help we will and I hope I can count on your support.”

Jeremy Hunt

“Colleagues, friends, we had an exciting start to this campaign, for me here in the west Midlands, I’ve been to a steel factory outside Kidderminster, a chocolate factory in Tenbury , I’ve had a free hair cut and made a Balti in Birmingham, and you know, the internet, because I’m the underdog , the internet has been kind to me for the first time in my life, and they’re actually, running a campaign to help find me a slogan I should be putting to the membership and the country and we’ve had hashtag take a punt on Hunt, hashtag Jezza’s the bezza and hashtag huntymchuntface, now be very careful how you say that as we are the party of family values.

Friends, we are in a very serious situation. Get things wrong and there will be no Conservative government, maybe even no conservative party. Get things right and we can deliver Brexit, unite the party and send Corbyn packing, that’s our choice, but in this Brexit debate we’ve had a lot of discussion of how we solve Brexit but not enough discussion of who, who is the prime minister we trust to send to Brussels to lead us out of this crisis and if we send the wrong person catastrophe awaits.

If you choose me, I will have been the first prime minister that’s been an entrepreneur by background, how many people here have set up their own businesses, put your hand up, that’s the Conservative family, lots and lots of hands going up. And what is it we entrepreneurs do, we negotiate.

If we send the wrong person there’s going to be no negotiation, no trust no deal, and if parliament stops that and maybe no Brexit. Send the right person and there’s a deal to be done. Send that right person and we can do what we all need which is to come back with something that’s positive for our country, that’s what I want to do, and when we do that what incredible opportunities await this fantastic country.

As someone who set up on their own, I am championing to turn our economy into the most pro-business, pro enterprise, fastest growing, most high tech, greenest economy in Europe. That’s what I did, and I want other young people to do exactly the same thing I did.

We have the best universities in Europe, we’ve got more tech entrepreneurs, we could be the worlds next silicon valley and that could happen right here in the West Midlands, because you’ve got the 5g pilot happening in Birmingham, you’ve got driverless cars happening at Warwick manufacturing group, you’ve got so many gaming companies in Lemington spa, it’s been re-christened silicon spa, not the kind of spa you take your wife to after you’ve got her nationality wrong, mind you, but there is this potential, incredible potential and I’m going to take a giant step to making that happen, by making a radical cut to corporation tax to 12.5% Irish levels to turbo charge the British economy, I want to land an economic jumbo jet on Europe’s door step, so that when it comes to those trade talks , they needs us every bit of much as we need them.

I’m also the foreign secretary who wants Britain to walk tall in the world. My dad was in the Navy, we followed him around from Portsmouth to Plymouth to Surrey and Scotland, which is why I’m passionate about our union, thanks to his generation we won the cold war, and the risks out there are increasing, and that’s why I’ve said I will increase defence spending to beyond 2% of GDP on top of the 0.7 % aid commitment, and I’ve said I’ll do that, not just because of increasing aggression from countries like Russia, but because the point of Brexit I want the world to know that Britain, the country, one of the very few countries that has championed democratic values and the security necessary to underpin it, I want the world to know that Britain is here, Britain is back, Britain’s voice is strong in the world and we will defend those values.

I’d also be the first prime minister that’s run our NHS and you have some fabulous hospitals here in Birmingham, UHB, Birmingham Women and Children’s , but you also have Midstaffs or had Midstaffs and I’ll never forget my first month as health secretary, the department of health advised me to not meet the families of Midstaffs, I rejected that advice and I met a lady called Julie Bailey, she lost her mum in a horrible, horrible death, she looked me in the eye and said Jeremy, you could change all this and I hope I did, because by the time I finished nearly 3 million people were using good or outstanding hospitals compared to the time I started.

We Conservatives, we can’t just have an economic mission, we must have a social mission and I want our next social mission to be the social care system for every single older person so they can live in dignity, and I want it be the education system, so that no one leaves education not being able to read or write and not with a rigorous qualification so that they can get a decently paid job. I want us to be the first government, the first conservative government that abolishes illiteracy in our society and shows the world our conservative values.

Finally, politics is about winning elections and I’ll be the first prime minister in half a century to win a marginal seat. I know what it’s like to knock on every door, need every single vote, I’m looking at every single vote right now, I love you all, and there are some very important marginal seats in the West Midlands; Stoke North, Halesowen, Stourbridge, Walsall North , brilliant MP’s and we’ve got to be there for them, and I promise you two things as a campaigner, firstly when we go back to the British people, we will get more younger people voting Conservative, because we can’t be the party of aspiration if the most aspirational people aren’t supporting us, and we’re going to get them back. And the second thing I will promise you is that I will never provoke a general election before we have left the European Union.

The lesson of Peterborough is that that would kill us. Ignore that and we ignore the crocodile lurking under the surface of British politics. A Labour Party led by the most ruthless, dangerous, anti-wester, anti-British, hard left cabal that’s ever been under Jeremy Corbyn. Now, faced with a hard-left populist we could choose our own populist, or we could do better, we could choose our own Jeremy.

A Jeremy who’s going to deliver Brexit, unleash the potential of our extraordinary country, deliver true social justice. Not so much for those of us in this hall, most of us have done ok, but for people watching at home, young people desperate to get a decent paid job, families struggling to afford a home, older people who just want to live out their day’s with dignity and respect . We have to be there for them, that is our Conservative Party, let me show you how.”