Opening Speech as President of the National Conservative Convention
The Conservative Party Conference, Manchester 2013

Ladies and Gentleman

This week at Manchester, we’ll be hearing how under a Conservative–led government we are changing Britain for the better.

Together we are building a country for hardworking people.

I joined this party in the late 70s because I was sick to death of seeing the country I loved run down by a Labour government.

And like many of you, I was enormously proud to be part of a Conservative Party that changed Britain for the better in the 1980s.

Led of course by Margaret Thatcher, our greatest peacetime Prime Minister.

We will begin our Party Conference later today by paying tribute to Lady Thatcher and to show just how grateful we are for everything she did.

Don’t forget to visit Maggie’s Shop in the exhibition area. This conference sees the exclusive launch of the Maggie collection. Tell your friends to visit www.maggieshop.co.uk

This year at Manchester there are more affiliated Conservative Groups exhibiting in the Party Zone than ever before;
Please lend a few minutes of your time to help in the Campaign Call Centre, calling voters in target seats and for the “Better Together” campaign;
Visit the social action zone,
The Start Up Hub,
The Innovation zone,
The Party Stand,
We have a great line up of retailers in the Market Place
There are hundreds of fringe meetings covering just about every policy area
And Member Only sessions in Exchange Auditorium

So let’s make this Party Conference the most dynamic, successful and forward looking ever!

Ladies and Gentleman, I referred a moment ago to Lady Thatcher.

She was always especially grateful to her staff, so let me pay tribute to the staff that have organised this conference.
Stephen Phillips & David Comerford in CCHQ
Tricky and the Ops Team
Tom, Sarah and Craig in our Digital Team
To everyone on the Conferences Committee – especially Lord Feldman
And of course all at Fingerprint Events and Blueway.

I know that you would all join with me in thanking the men and women of the Greater Manchester Police led by Superintendent Bryan Lawton, who has led the security operation at every Manchester political conference and who retires after our conference this year.

May I also thank everyone at Manchester Central and here at the Midland Hotel for all their months of planning.

And finally to you all for your support.

Have a great week!