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Leader/Times Column 7th October 2016

This week I was at Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham. On Sunday, Prime Minister Theresa May gave a powerful speech outlining her vision for a global Britain, following Brexit. She outlined what a fantastic position we are in as we step away from the EU as a world power in our own right. 

She announced that Article 50, the process for leaving the EU, will be invoked no later than March. David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, said that Brexit must be a mutually beneficial deal between us and the EU. 

The Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, gave a typically entertaining speech on how proud we should all be of Britain’s success in the world, whilst also combining his famous humour with some very serious criticism of Russia’s involvement in war crimes in Syria and a defence of our democracy. 

The Environment Secretary, Andrea Leadsom revealed plans to improve mobile phone coverage, roll out superfast broadband and support the rural economy. She pledged £2.5 billion for schemes to protect homes from flooding, a topic I’ve been in touch with her about following the recent repeated flooding in Earby.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Phillip Hammond spoke about how our economy has grown since 2010. Employment is up, wages are rising, the deficit is falling and income tax has been cut for tens of millions of people. It’s not a bad record but I was pleased that there was no sense of complacency especially as the Brexit process may pose some challenges to the economy in the short term.

What was most encouraging was meeting people from around the country within my own party. There is a strong feeling that we are responsible for making the most of the opportunities leaving the EU opens up for the country as a whole, and that we are united and ready to meet that challenge.

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