With the 2017 Parliamentarian of the Year winner Ruth Davidson on maternity leave, Liz Truss stepped in to present this year’s awards – taking the opportunity to send up her cabinet colleagues, fellow MPs and the US president. Below is her speech in full:
It’s fantastic to be here this evening. I have to admit it was quite late when I got booked in as your guest of honour. And I did wonder whether or not I was first choice, or if Fraser had had to ring as many people as the Prime Minister did to recruit the new Brexit Secretary.
I hear that Ruth Davidson was unavailable. As you pointed out she’s got a lovely new baby son and I do hope that he will grow up to see the day when we’re out of the backstop.
But I really am pleased to be hosting tonight because we’ve got a room stuffed full of journalists and that’s going to mean that I’m going to save on my phone bills for the rest of the week. I’m very pleased in particular to see James Forsyth has made it out of his priest hole in the cabinet room to be here with us.
And as we know the Tory party is just one big happy family and it is fantastic to see so many of my wonderful parliamentary colleagues. Dame Nadine Dorris, Sir Steve Baker and Lord Bone. But I am glad that the Home Secretary and his sharp buttocks haven’t turned up tonight and at least I can have a seat at the table.
Now I know that my jokes haven’t always gone down well with some of my colleagues and friends. So I decided that I was going to do it right this time and I was going to consult them. I asked Michael Gove to send me a joke but he’s still not taking my calls. The DUP sent me a joke but unfortunately they charged me one billion pounds for it. Jacob Rees-Mogg promised me five jokes but he only sent three through. And finally I asked the Chancellor for a joke. Just kidding I didn’t actually ask him for a joke.
Now speaking of Michael Gove one of my proudest achievements in Government was working with him on our new knowledge based curriculum and what that means is that new generations are not going to have to face the kind of ignorance that those of us born in the 60s and 70s faced. There are some unfortunate students who don’t even know the difference between Japan and China, there are others that don’t know the unionists and nationalists in Northern Ireland vote for different parties and there are some people who don’t know that Britain is an island. I have to admit that I only recently learnt that any deal is better than a bad deal because all of this time I’ve been thinking it was the other way round.
But as the Brexit debate rages we shouldn’t lose focus on our ground breaking domestic reforms and I am working on getting the government to be an Instagraming, Deliveroo-eating, Uber-riding exciting government. And I’ve reformed the government car service and I’ve replaced it with fully autonomous vehicles.
I have to say it’s not quite going according to plan, Matt Hancock’s car keeps pitching up outside Number Eleven Downing Street. The Speaker’s car just keeps refusing to leave. And Chris Grayling’s car is stuck somewhere near Crewe.
But I’m very glad that we’re fiercely resisting calls to tax bacon or restrict the size of pizza. I have to admit I don’t like pizza. I love it. And I am prepared to do literally anything to get my hands on a slice. We can’t seem to move for bans these days. Labour want to ban Christmas Sadiq Khan wants to ban Uber. Nicola Sturgeon has banned cheap booze. But instead of banning all that good stuff let’s ban the banes of our lives. So let’s ban snap elections. Let’s ban Treasury forecasts. And let’s ban Andrew Bridgen from speaking to any journalists.
I’m proud to say like many of my colleagues in the Conservative Party I am fully behind Theresa May’s Brexit plans. We’re all busy promoting it, visiting European capitals Rome, Paris, Vienna, Prague. But enough about Amber Rudd’s gap year.
I see that President Trump has sounded off about the deal that wasn’t part of Number 10’s grid. In fact tonight I can exclusively reveal extracts of the proposed Trump endorsement script: “People of Britain,with this deal we’re gonna start winning again. We’re going to win at every level we’re going to win on the economy and we’re going to win economically we’re going to win so much that you’re going to get tired of winning. Don’t listen to those total losers Corbyn and McDonnell. This is a huge beautiful flawless Brexit deal. It contains the best words and if it weren’t a piece of paper, I’d date it.”
Lots of people bemoan the state of British politics. But I think it’s in rude health and The Spectator exemplifies this. Of all of the political publications it’s the only one with Balls. Brexit has energised millions of people, young and old, to take part in our democracy and that’s a great thing. Now we need to get on and do it and look forward to our future as a proud sovereign nation. Taking control of our laws border and money, run not by a bunch of overpaid bureaucrats in Brussels but by a bunch of overpaid bureaucrats in Britain. That ladies and gentlemen is a dream worth fighting for. Thank you.