Theresa May: Good Brexit deal means end to austerity

Austerity will end if the UK secures a good Brexit deal, Theresa May has pledged in her speech to close the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham.
Theresa May at conference. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA WireTheresa May at conference. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA Wire
Theresa May at conference. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

The Prime Minister said the spending review next year would set out more investment for public services if MPs back the agreement she secures from Brussels.

Mrs May appealed for unity amid growing pressure from Brexiteers led by Boris Johnson, warning that “if we all go off in different directions in pursuit of our own vision of the perfect Brexit, we risk ending up with no Brexit at all.”

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Her speech also saw her claim that Labour are unfit for office, calling the party’s response to antisemitism allegations a “national tragedy”, and repeatedly condemning Jeremy Corbyn for questioning the UK intelligence services over the Salisbury poising attack.

“We cannot outsource our conscience to the Kremlin,” she said.

Mrs May claimed the Tories were “the party of opportunity”, citing Ruth Davidson as an example of how they represented the whole country, no matter what their background.

“If you are pregnant with your first child and engaged to your girlfriend, you could be the next First Minister of Scotland,” the Prime Minister said.

In the key, closing message of her address, Mrs May said the government recognised the economic pain ordinary people had been through since the financial crash of a decade ago.

“After a decade of austerity, people need to know that their hard work has paid off,” she said.

“Our national debt is starting to fall for the first time in a generation. That is a historic achievement.

But getting to that turning point wasn’t easy.”

Mrs May said that while public sector wages were frozen and local services were cut, “fixing our finances was necessary”.

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She said there could be “no return to the uncontrolled borrowing of the past”, but added: “The British people need to know that the end is in sight.

“And our message to them must be this: we get it.”

Mrs May went on: “When we’ve secured a good Brexit deal for Britain, at the Spending Review next year we will set out our approach for the future.

“Debt as a share of the economy will continue to go down, support for public services will go up.

“Because, a decade after the financial crash, people need to know that the austerity it led to is over and that their hard work has paid off.”