THE BLOG

Tory Conference Diary, Day 3: Do They Have Even A Semblance Of A Plan For Britain?

05/10/2017 15:39 BST | Updated 05/10/2017 15:39 BST
PA Wire/PA Images

Tuesday should have been an important day at Tory conference. Ten speakers took to the conference hall stage and spoke about some of the greatest challenges facing our country: funding our NHS, tackling rising crime, and most of all delivering a Brexit for working people. Once again all we received was more evidence that the Tories have no plan.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt continued Philip Hammond's theme from yesterday by turning back time, but going one better by taking us all the way back to 1944 to make the ludicrous claim that the Tories invented the NHS. Total rubbish. Luckily Labour's Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth was on hand to set him straight: it was invented four years later than that by Labour's Nye Bevan. The Tories of the time voted against the NHS on 22 occasions if you were wondering.

For the rest of the time Jeremy presented a slideshow presentation that left no time at the end for questions. What about the funding crisis facing our hospitals? Or the fact that the A&E waiting time target has not been met since July 2015? Or that the waiting list in England has hit 4 million? Jeremy Hunt didn't have time to provide answers for any of these, and, unlike Labour, provided no plan to deal will upcoming NHS winter crisis.

Justice Secretary David Lidington talked about the importance of rehabilitation in a year when violence, self harm and suicide levels in prisons have risen dramatically. Remarkably his speech merely rehashed previously announced policies which are clearly failing to make an impact. There are not enough prison officers to keep order, let alone rehabilitate, with a third of prisons down on staff. And he didn't even mention legal aid cuts that have priced hundreds of thousands out of the justice system.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd then took to the stage and talked about a number of areas, but remarkably failed to address the issue of policing. Having lost 20,000 police officers since 2010 and with some of the most serious types of crimes on the up, it's no use inventing new laws if towns and cities across the country don't have the police to enforce them.

Later in the day we heard from the three Brexit stooges - Trade Secretary Liam Fox, Brexit Secretary David Davis and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson - who took it in turns to throw verbal fodder to die-hard Tory members. But for all the empty rhetoric, not one had a plan to drag the government's EU negotiations out of the ditch it's in.

These three have spent years plotting for a referendum on leaving the EU but obviously spent no time planning for the eventuality. Now more than a year since the referendum result they are continuing to play politics, putting forward conflicting and contradictory opinions on the country's approach to Brexit, putting us in danger of falling off a cliff edge when we leave.

And if you were waiting with bated breath for Theresa May to comment on 'that Boris article', we finally got out answer. 'It doesn't undermine what I'm doing at all' she said. Hardly the most convincing of statements, and hardly the position the Prime Minister wants to be in on the eve of her speech.

Rounding the day off Boris Johnson decided once again to show his true colours, by making a distasteful and crass comment on the very serious issue of Libya. As the UK's Foreign Secretary, his behaviour is simply unacceptable and calls to question Theresa May's judgement in putting him there in the first place.

With one day left, it's down to Theresa May to put forward her vision for the future and prove she has a semblance of a plan. If the last three days are anything to go by, I think the Tory faithful are going to be leaving Manchester very disappointed.