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The Questions Theresa May Failed To Answer

06/10/2016 09:31
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Theresa May opened her Tory conference speech today by saying that when her party came to Birmingham this week, "some big questions were hanging in the air". They still are. In fact, I have even more questions now than I did when she started. Here are ten:

1. She talked about her determination to build more grammar schools. But how many children will get in, and what will happen to those who don't?

2. She talked about a country where "we see division and unfairness all around. Between a more prosperous older generation and a struggling younger generation. Between the wealth of London and the rest of the country. But perhaps most of all, between the rich, the successful and the powerful -- and their fellow citizens". She has a point. But who has been in government for the last six years?

3. She rightly praised our great universities. But how are they going to thrive with far fewer foreign students, far less of the cash they generate, and far fewer world-class international researchers attracting funding and prestige?

4. She attacked "the way a lot of politicians and commentators talk about the public", saying that they find "your attachment to your job security inconvenient". How does she think the thousands of public servants who have lost their jobs since the Tories came to power - including a fall of over 19,000 police officers during Theresa May's time as Home Secretary - felt about their job security?

5. She said that she wants us to be "a country where it doesn't matter where you were born". Did she tell Amber Rudd, who wants firms to disclose how many of their workers are non-British, or Jeremy Hunt, who suggested that foreign doctors and nurses would not be welcome in the NHS after 2025?

6. She claimed the Conservative Party are "the party of public servants". So when is she going to end the public sector pay freeze?

7. She highlighted market abuses, but she did not set out one single idea for dealing with them. So when are we going to get some, and how are the Tories going to make sure that scandals like the ones we have seen at BHS and Sports Direct never happen again?

8. She complained that "advancement in today's Britain is still too often determined by wealth or circumstance. By an accident of birth rather than talent. By privilege not merit". So why won't she reverse the Tories' cuts to inheritance tax?

9. She claimed that the Tories are now the party of the NHS, and that they were giving it the money it needs - so why have NHS hospitals run up a record £2.5billion deficit, why are waiting lists rising not falling, and why did 1.8million people wait for more than four hours in A&E last year?

10. And Theresa May said - yet again - that "Brexit means Brexit". But we STILL don't know what Brexit means. Prime Minister, please. Enough with the vacuous soundbites. It's time you gave us a plan.

Tom Watson is the deputy leader of the Labour Party and MP for West Bromwich East

This blog first appeared on Tom's personal blog, and can be read here

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