Swinburne: Only Conservatives will fix Britain - and Europe

27-Feb-2015 @ 15:30

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The UK under David Cameron is showing Europe the way when it comes to creating growth and jobs, Kay Swinburne MEP told the Welsh Conservative Party Conference today.

And at the same he and Britain's Conservative MEPs were driving forward the agenda for much-needed reform across the European Union, she said.

"He understands and shares people’s concerns about the EU," the MEP for Wales told the conference in Cardiff.

"It's why, as we go into the General Election campaign, he is the only leader with a clear commitment to trust people to have their say on our future in Europe.

"The biggest risk facing Europe doesn’t come from those who want reform and renegotiation. It comes from the failure to reform and renegotiate."


Dr Swinburne's speech in full:


Good afternoon conference.

A year ago I asked for your help to retain our strong Conservative voice in Europe.

Thanks to your efforts we did just that.

With more members from more countries, the European Conservative Reform group to which British Conservative MEPs belong is making a real difference.

The third largest in the European Parliament.

With more influence.

More credibility.

More opportunities to shape a Europe which meets the needs of the people of Europe.

And gets to grips with the challenges we share.

Today I'm asking for your help once more.

And the stakes are high.

They'll determine the direction of The UK, at home - and abroad - for years to come.

This year's General Election is the most important in a generation.

With The UK on the brink of locking in recovery;

With Growth;

More jobs;

And better wages;

Economic clouds are gathering elsewhere;

And violence and extremism on Europe's eastern and southern borders, is threatening our security at home.

If the experience of recent years has taught us anything it's that now, more than ever, we need a strong , competent, government to deal with domestic challenges.

And to work with our allies to tackle global problems together.

From the Eurozone to Ukraine.

From Syria to security on our streets.

World events teach us that the United Kingdom cannot exist in isolation.

Last month's Greek elections increased economic uncertainty across Europe.

From the jobs we create to the products we make.

The effects of Europe's flatlining economy are felt here too.

It's reinforced the importance here, in Britain, of sticking to the plan that is delivering economic security at home.

It shows you can only keep the public’s confidence if you have a long-term plan that works.

And it reminds us why it's right that Britain should never relinquish control of our currency and our economy to join the euro.


Unlike the eurozone, thanks to the tough decisions we've taken over the last five years we’ve got an economy that’s growing.

Creating jobs and opportunities.

Keeping record numbers of people in work.

And putting money in people's pockets.

All because we've pursued a clear long-term plan to confront the economic problems the last Labour government left behind.

The eurozone countries need the same plan.

One which combines effective monetary policy, national fiscal responsibility, and credible structural reform.

And one which gets to grips with the legacy of wasted opportunities and unfulfilled talent.

But economic reform is not just a concept.

It's about trade, and jobs, and economic benefit

Most importantly, it's about people.

The worker with the dignity of a regular job.

Earning a decent wage.

Putting food on the table for their family.

And setting aside savings for the future.

A strong European economy is good for the British economy.

At the time when our economy is growing, we need Europe's economy to grow too.

Because a weak economy touches people’s lives.

We know this here in Britain.

Just as Labour's Great Recession hit homes and families across the country;

Our long-term economic plan to create more jobs and cap benefits to reward work is taking effect.

But, conference, we know there is more to do.

With falling unemployment and more people in jobs, the hard work and sacrifice of the British people is paying off.

A Labour Government would put all this at risk.

Every day more business leaders - including Labour donors - add their voices to the chorus of criticism for Ed Miliband’s lack of a plan for Britain.

Labour’s only answer is more spending;

More debt;

And more taxes.

While the Conservatives have turned Britain into the jobs factory of Europe by backing small business and enterprise, Ed Miliband and Labour will threaten it all.

Thanks to the tough decisions we've taken to kickstart our economy, is it any surprise the unemployment rate here is less than six per cent?

But almost 10 per cent across Europe?

With half the young people of Spain and Greece looking for a job?

It's because of the tough decisions we've taken that we have record numbers in work in Britain.

While the failure to take those same decisions elsewhere means there are near record numbers out of work across Europe as a whole.

Whether it’s Labour's plan to raise corporation tax that could cost people their jobs;

A rise in National Insurance which some Labour MPs are calling for;

A new Labour tax on the family home which has been widely condemned;

Or the failure of our European partners to follow our economic plan.

The two greatest risks to Britain’s recovery are Ed Miliband in Downing Street.

And an unreformed Europe which limits growth and stifles jobs.

It's been five years since Labour was last in power.

And what did they leave us with?

Economic chaos.

Higher taxes.

More regulation.

More European legislation.

And of course, no money.

Now Ed Miliband wants us to trust Labour again.

Well, Ed, we do trust you.

We trust you to do exactly the same things which got us into the mess in the first place and which we've spent the last five years clearing up.


The truth is Labour has not changed.

They have no economic plan and would make exactly the same mistakes they've made before.

Ed Miliband as Prime Minister would simply result in chaos.

And if that’s not bad enough, he could be there because of a cobbled together deal with Plaid Cymru, the SNP, the Greens, UKIP or any other minor party.

Who knows the price they'd demand for propping up Ed Miliband in Downing Street.

But we all know what that would mean for Britain.



An anti-business, anti-competitive government.

Raised taxes.

And lower growth.

Higher unemployment.

More regulation.

Less influence in Europe and accross the world.

And fewer opportunities for men and women across Britain to work hard and get on in life.

That's the Labour future.

Mirroring the Labour past.

In 2010 Labour left Britain’s economy in a mess.

Since then Conservatives have been working to a long-term economic plan to turn Britain around.

We can't afford to let Labour ruin things again.


As Prime Minister, David Cameron has been effective at home.

And respected abroad.

A credible leader, not afraid to take tough decisions in tough times.

Restoring Britain's confidence and credibility on the world stage.

Building Britain's prosperity at home through trade and investment abroad.

Safeguarding our national security by working with international partners to counter terrorism and reduce conflict.

From controlling immigration to cutting the EU's budget David Cameron has shown the strong leadership our country needs.

Vetoing an EU treaty.

Unafraid to tell European leaders the EU is not working and must change.

While Labour settles for the status quo.

Ensuring Britain is at the heart of decisions affecting the future of Europe;

By nominating Jonathan Hill as European Commissioner for financial services.

A key role which will reshape and reform the financial markets.

A sector of fundamental importance to our economy.

Influencing everything from the Pound in your pocket to the value of your pension.

Because nothing is more important in the years ahead than creating the right conditions for jobs and growth.

David Cameron is right to say the EU has been heading in a direction we never signed up to;

That we've been in danger of losing control of our own affairs.

He understands and shares people’s concerns about the European Union.

It's why, as we go into the General Election campaign, he is the only leader with a clear commitment to trust people to have their say on our future in Europe.



A year ago I campaigned ahead of the European elections for Reform, Renegotiation and a Referendum.

We are making progress with the reform agenda across the the European Union

But, the biggest risk facing Europe doesn’t come from those who want reform and renegotiation.

It comes from the failure to reform and renegotiate.

It's only with a long-term plan that we can fix our relationship with Europe.

Ensuring the EU reforms in a way which delivers growth, jobs and financial security.

Wanting to reform Europe doesn't mean retreating from Europe.

Or isolating ourselves from the rest of the world.

Britain needs to be centre stage.

Not in the wings.

We should not be afraid to have confidence in what we want.

Whilst the reform takes hold across many European nations, we now need to start seeing real results fulfilling the European Commission pledge to implement a reform agenda

To cut red tape

To do less better

And to be more accountable to Member State’s National Parliaments.

Here in Cardiff.

A city built on trade with the world.

A cosmopolitan mix of cultures and nationalities;

Enriching our nation.

We are proud to stand for democracy;

Freedom of speech;

And for tolerance.

These are not values that make us weak.

These are values that make our society, our economy and our country stronger.

The gruesome images from the Middle East;

The shooting down of an airliner over Ukraine;

And the horrific attacks on Europe's streets tell us we are wrong to think that here in Wales we can isolate ourselves from the troubles of the world.

They remind us that countries which stand for the values of democracy, freedom of expression and tolerance face a very real threat.

Just as those countries which want to grow their economies, to support business, and to create jobs face threats from the forces which won't.

As we face these economic threats head-on, we must also confront extremism in every way we can.

That means maintaining and investing in our security services;

Ensuring they have the powers they need to cooperate across borders

To all forms of extremism wherever we find it to stop people going on a path towards terrorism.

While at the same time protecting our freedoms, our rights, and our values.

And working with our international partners to protect our shared way of life for future generations.

We must stand up to those to threaten our economic futures too.

By working together in the interests of jobs and growth.

It's why as Conservatives we support TTIP - the trade deal currently being negotiated between the EU and the United States.

We reject the scaremongering of those who say TTIP will only benefit big corporations.

That it'll open the doors to privatisation of the NHS.

That our national sovereignty will be threatened.

TTIP is the deal we need to create the jobs and to speed up growth.

It'll mean £1.5 billion for the energy and advanced manufacturing sectors in Wales alone.

And around £400 in savings for every family in Wales every year.

It'll make it easier for Welsh companies large and small to export too, making a vital contribution to our efforts to lock in economic growth in all parts of the United Kingdom.

It's a once in a generation opportunity.

And we should seize it.



Dydych chi ddim yn delio â phroblemau gartref trwy ailwneud camgymeriadau'r gorffennol.

Dydych chi ddim yn gwaredu’ch problemau ag Ewrop trwy ynysu'ch hunan rhag Ewrop.

A dydych chi ddim yn mynd i'r afael ag eithafiaeth a thrais ar eich stepen drws trwy esgus eu bod yn broblemau i rywun arall.

Mae'n rhaid bod yn rhan o bethau er mwyn gweithredu er lles Prydain.

Ac i ymladd am yr hyn rydyn ni'n credu ynddo.

Trwsio ein heconomi gartref.

Gweithio'n adeiladol gyda'n partneriaid dramor.

Adfer ein llwyddiant economaidd.

A'n hygrededd ryngwladol.


You don't deal with problems at home by repeating the mistakes of the past.

You don't take out your frustrations with Europe by isolating yourself from Europe.

And you don't tackle extremism and violence on your doorstep by pretending they're somebody else's problems.

The way to get things done in Britain's interests is to get stuck in.

And to fight for what we believe in.

Fixing our economy at home.

Working constructively with our partners abroad.

Restoring our economic fortunes.

And our international credibility.

With just 68 days to go until the General Election, we face a choice.

The isolationism of UKIP.

The narrow nationalism of Plaid Cymru.

The chaos of Ed Miliband as Prime Minister.

Or David Cameron and a Conservative team;

In Government;

Sticking to our long term plan;

For five more years;

With strong, competent leadership.

Helping people at home.

Protecting our interests abroad.

And leading the reform agenda across Europe.

It's up to us all to keep making the case.

To persuade the people of Wales and the UK that only a Conservative vote on May 7 can keep our country on the right path;

And secure a better, brighter, future for us all.

Thank you / Diolch yn fawr.

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