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Coffee House

John Major’s speech to CCHQ – transcript

25 February 2014

5:18 PM

25 February 2014

5:18 PM

Speaking at Conservative Campaign Headquarters today, having been invited by Chairman Grant Shapps to launch a new apprenticeship scheme, Sir John Major:

– Set out the moral mission of the Conservative Party, saying:

‘We exist as a political party to help people reach their ambitions and to make sure our country is safe and secure militarily and economically.’

‘Look at our policies: Education reform to make sure that people are being better educated in order to maximise their abilities, Opportunity, by creating jobs. And we should bear in mind that – when we are creating jobs and wish people to move around the country and take those jobs – they need houses to move to as well.’

‘The world has changed, it’s moving faster and in a more bewildering fashion than it has ever done before. That isn’t going to change. Science and technology isn’t going to stop so we can catch up and become familiar with it.

‘We need to understand that, use technology in the many ways we already are, but also reassure people that behind today’s often bewildering and frightening changes there lies a political party which understands the modern world, and whose primary purpose is the wellbeing of the individual.

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‘That is what the Conservative Party is here for. We’re not just here to sit in parliament and become ministers. We are here to improve the lives of those who put us in parliament – as well as those who voted against us.

‘That is our job. That is our mission.’

– Criticised the Labour Party’s record in Government, saying:

‘I was brought up in Lambeth, where the Labour Party had kind hearts but empty heads.

‘They were perfectly prepared to come round and say, we will help you eventually when you get to the front of the queue, but don’t you dare try to step out of that line to help yourself.

‘We Conservatives want people to help themselves. To make their own opportunities. To create something better for themselves, for their families, for their community and for their country.

‘I don’t believe that the Labour Party can do that.

‘The Labour Party is the party of class warfare and class division. They set people against people, rich against poor, north against south, haves against have nots. If it’s for their political convenience they will sow division not unity.

‘That is the way they have operated since their foundation. And we have all seen what their record in Government is.

‘It is an astonishing truth – but a truth nonetheless – that every single Labour government we have ever been cursed with has left the country bankrupt or near bankrupt, with incoming Conservative governments having to clear up the mess they left behind.’

‘There are people in this country who will be paying the debts of the last Labour government for a generation or more.

‘There are young people who were at school, and are now in work, whose taxes are higher, and who will have fewer opportunities because of what that last Labour government did.’

– Welcomed the new Sir John Major Apprenticeship Scheme, saying:

‘I was delighted to hear about these apprenticeships and I only wish I’d had one fifty years ago, who knows what I might have ended up doing?’

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