Alun Cairns: Speech to Conservative Party Conference 2019


Alun Cairns, Secretary of State for Wales, speaking
today at Conservative Party Conference at The Manchester
Convention Centre
, said:

(Check against delivery)


“Thank you for that kind introduction.

It is a privilege to share a platform with my good
friends and cabinet colleagues, Julian Smith and Alister Jack.  

Although we work closely together and agree on
almost everything, don’t accept a word they say about rugby or football.  They know nothing.  Take my word for it, it is definitely Alun
Wyn Jones that will be lifting the rugby world cup in just a few weeks time!  

And as we leave the EU, our Union, the Union of the
United Kingdom will become more important and relevant than ever before.  

Our Union is the most successful Union of nations in human history.
It’s not forced.  It’s practical
and pragmatic.  It comes together through
natural bonds. A family of nations with a common culture and a shared

The way we
identify ourselves, how we feel as a people and how we express our loyalties
can be complex but nationality doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive – I am
proudly British and I’m proud to be Welsh.

It’s a Union where each nation and region
contributes to the success of the other.
Where each community can excel in manufacturing, technology, services,
tourism or agriculture.  All contributing
to the greatness of our nation.  

Wales has great strengths –

In aerospace, half the world’s passenger aircraft
have Wings that were built in Broughton

The F35 Global Repair Hub is in Flintshire

The world’s largest compound semiconductor cluster
is in South wales, where your smartphone technology was developed

We’re part of the Cyber Security golden triangle
and have the best new Nuclear Offer anywhere in Europe

Cardiff University is the world’s leading centre in
Precision Medicine

And I could highlight so many more areas – Fintech,
tourism, food production….

And of course, rural Wales rears the best lamb in
the world too.  

And it is the strength of our Union that allows us
to invest and to support these sectors.  

A new, fair funding settlement for Wales with
additional investment in –

Growth Deals across every part – the UK’s largest
City Deal is in Cardiff

The Semiconductor sector and Active Homes and
Precision Medicine projects are supported by UKRI

The MoD playing a pivotal role in attracting the US
Airforce to Sealand

And the National Cyber Security centre facilitating
investment by recognising our great strengths.

Tomorrow’s industries built on the strength of our
Union today.  

From initiatives like these –

Wales has seen record levels of employment, the
highest growth in the UK and the brightest future.

These are the outcomes of Conservative Government’s
investment and confidence in Wales.  

I’m prepared to accept that Scotland may have some of the best whiskys, Northern
Ireland does have Titanic Studios
producing film and TV hit after hit, England could be considered to have some of the best universities in the
world – but Wales, well, where do I begin, the best sportsmen and women, the
best rugby and football teams, the best entrepreneurs, the best musicians and I
could go on and on.  

This friendly rivalry is what makes our
relationship so special.  


There is no doubt that we are living in the most
dynamic political times.  

This is a time
when we can re-shape our Union ambitions because in 29 days’ time, we will
leave the EU and a new dawn will break across our Union.  

I don’t say this just because Wales voted to leave
– something that Labour and Plaid choose to forget.  -the so-called parties of Wales ignoring the
people of Wales is nothing but shameful.

I say this because Brexit enables us to respond to
the growing opportunities right across the globe so that our areas of expertise
can compete in new markets, win new business and attract global investment.  

Looking outward is part of our being.  There is an old Welsh proverb, Eang
yw’r byd i bawb” which means ‘The world is wide to everyone’ – this is
exactly the attitude we take as Conservatives – outward looking and

With 90% of Global Growth will come from outside of
the EU over the next 20 years.   The United Kingdom will not only be ready to
respond, we will be central to that opportunity.

will give us the prospect to strengthen our Union – where a Global Britain serves all parts of our
country and where nations and regions serve a Global Britain.

The Welsh Labour First Minister, Mark Drakeford
said that his support for the Union is conditional.  He wants further constitutional change and
greater separation, when businesses are longing for certainty.  

Labour’s flirting with the Nationalists is driving
a wedge between our nations.  

There are traditional proud Labour supporters,
passionate about our Union who feel let down and rejected by the state of their

Well, I want to say something directly to Welsh

Ignoring the will of the people and attempting to
undermine our Unity as a nation won’t distract the public from your failings on
the Welsh NHS and education system.

After 20 years of Welsh Labour– we’ve seen money
wasted and squandered and an obsession with restructuring and centralising
powers away from doctors, nurses and teachers.

Now is not the time to be looking inward. We need
to think big, act decisively and grasp the many opportunities before us.

This is my fourth Conference speech as Secretary of
State for Wales, a job which, as a son of a Welder at the Port Talbot steel
works, growing up in the Swansea Valley, I could never have dreamed I would be

I have the privilege of travelling the length and
breadth of my home nation, of talking to some truly inspiring people and
visiting some of the most innovative, ambitious and exciting businesses.  

I also have the opportunity to talk to
International investors and global traders who are looking at the UK in a new
and exciting way.  

It is this knowledge of the country I love and an
appreciation of the opportunities before us that gives me great hope and
confidence for our next chapter.

Conference, we come together as people of different
backgrounds, different communities and different nations but as Conservatives
we all want the same thing.

Get Brexit done and move
on to deliver the people’s priorities.

A United

A fairer

And a Global

Thank you.”