Brexit and International development: Round up from day one of the Conservative Party conference


CommonSpace reporter David Thomson gives a round up of what happened on the first day of the Conservative Party conference

TODAY’S INSTALLMENT (02/10/16) rounds up from the opening day of the Conservative Party conference, including speeches from the UK prime minister, international development secretary and foreign secretary.

They discussed Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU) and reforms to international aid.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May

The UK prime minister announced on the eve of the party conference she will trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to exit the EU no later than the end of March 2017.

Theresa May told delegates that she would consult the devolved administrations as part of her the negotiations between the UK and the EU as part of Britain’s exit.

May said: “But the job of negotiating our new relationship is the job of the government. 

“Because we voted in the referendum as one United Kingdom, we will negotiate as one United Kingdom, and we will leave the European Union as one United Kingdom. 

“There is no opt-out from Brexit. 

“And I will never allow divisive nationalists to undermine the precious Union between the four nations of our United Kingdom.”

Part of the process for Britain’s withdrawal is to get rid of the European Communities Act and replace it with a Great Repeal Bill, which will be brought to parliament and included in the next Queen’s Speech.

International Development Secretary Priti Patel

The international development secretary told the conference that Britain is leading the way in building development for the 21st century.

Priti Patel told delegates that she would follow the money, people and outcomes to get the best results for how taxpayer’ money is spent on international aid.

Patel sent a clear message to the international community. She said: “If we can demand more from one of the best performing institutions, we are certainly going to demand much, much more from everyone else, too.

“And where programmes are not delivering the outcomes we expect, we will stop them and ensure that your money supports programmes that are working.

“Just as Conservatives are removing inefficiency from Whitehall and local government, we must do so for aid too.

“Every pound that does not end up where it should is a pound that cannot be spent on life-saving drugs, education for the world’s poorest, help for victims of violence, or funding for vital infrastructure.

“That is why reform, transparency, and accountability is at the top of my agenda.”

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson

The foreign secretary told delegates that British values have helped make the world a richer and safer place.

Boris Johnson told delegates that even though the Berlin wall came down in 1990, events over the last 10 years had dented the pursuit of western values.

Johnson said: “If I have one message for you this afternoon, my friends, it is that this illiberal analysis is deeply and dangerously wrong.”

“These freedoms are not inimical to prosperity – they are, in fact, essential to sustained growth.

“This is not the moment to cast aspersions on any other country where lack of freedom is hindering economic growth.”

Picture courtesy of David Thomson

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