Conservatives Abroad Conference - welcome from the PM

I am delighted to welcome you to the 2012 Conservatives Abroad Conference, being held in London for the second year running.

There can be no better time to visit the UK than now, following what has been a momentous summer for our country. I am sure that from every corner of the world, delegates took as much delight as we did in celebrating Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee; and were, more recently, also cheering on Team GB and Paralympics GB during the sensational London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

I am particularly pleased to be able to welcome Conservative delegates from so many different countries. I know that this year we have visiting representatives from Paris, Normandy, Brussels, Lu{xembourg, Mallorca, Madrid, Holland, and Costa del Sol. But also from much further afield: from Singapore, Beijing, Hong Kong, Poland, South Africa, Washington, New York, Sydney and Canberra. Welcome, to you all! This autumn marks the half-way point of this Parliament; so as you gather together for your Conference, I hope that you can take pride in all our own achievements in Government. Above all, we are ensuring that Conservative values are at the heart of our work, changing our country to make it much more on the side of people who work hard and want to get on in life; and making our country more pro-enterprise, more pro-work, more pro-effort. With more than 30 Bills passed, we are delivering that change.

Throughout it all, we are taking the tough but necessary decisions in the long-term interest of the country. We are on an economic rescue mission, stopping Labour’s dire deficit from crippling our economy. It is taking longer than anyone hoped to recover from the biggest debt crisis of our lifetime, but our plan is working. In the two and a half years since we came to office, we have cleared a quarter of the deficit left by Labour. Our credible fiscal plan has helped us maintain our top international credit rating and – in contrast to many other European countries – the UK has interest rates at near record lows.

But this government has always been about more than sound public finances and better spending – our values are also at work stopping Labour’s something-for-nothing culture. We are capping benefits; radically reforming welfare to make work pay; controlling immigration; boosting business; improving standards in education; and cutting taxes for millions of hard working families. That is a record every Conservative should be proud of.

Of course, being in coalition will present challenges, but we must not take our eye off the bigger picture. We must remain entirely focussed on the big, long-term issues confronting our country and, being just half way into a five-year Parliament, there is no room for complacency. We want to see Britain competing on the world stage as a hub of enterprise and innovation. We want to put teachers firmly in control in the classroom. We want to get our immigration numbers down further. And we want to end Labour’s something-for-nothing culture once and for all.

To do all these things, we will need your help. The part our supporters, activists and volunteers play is invaluable – and that is just as true of our supporters around the world, as it is of those at home. We could not have achieved all we have without you and your generosity, belief and support, and we will need that more than ever over the coming months as we work for an outright Conservative majority in 2015.

So a huge ‘thank you’ for all you continue to do for our Party. Let’s keep up the hard work, and I send you my very best wishes for an enjoyable and successful annual Conference.