Theresa May announces new cancer strategy, fuel duty freeze and calls for Tories to 'come together'

Theresa May announces new cancer strategy, fuel duty freeze and calls for Tories to 'come together'

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Prime Minister Theresa May used her keynote speech at Conservative Party Conference to announce an extra £394 million per week for a new cancer strategy, a freeze on fuel duty, and attacked Labour calling the antisemitism row that has smothered the party “a national tragedy”.

Addressing the delegates in Birmingham, Mrs May called on the conference hall to “come together” or risk no Brexit at all.

Here are the main announcements from the Prime Minister following her speech on Wednesday.


Political debate has become ‘a confrontation’

Theresa May condemned the actions of the activist who harassed Jacob Rees-Mogg and his children outside their home, and said that people must ‘work together’ despite different political views.

“Rigorous debate between political opponents is becoming more like a confrontation between enemies,” she said. 

“We all saw the sickening pictures of a far-left extremist shouting abuse at Jacob Rees-Mogg’s children. 

“And it’s not only Conservatives who are facing abuse. The first black woman ever to be elected to the House of Commons receives more racist and misogynist messages today than when she first stood over 30 years ago.

“You do not have to agree with a word Diane Abbott says to believe passionately in her right to say it, free from threats and abuse.

“Some people have lost sight of the fact that political differences are not everything… I know that no party has a monopoly on good ideas.

“That getting things done requires working together… when our politics becomes polarised, and compromise becomes a dirty word, that becomes harder.”



Mrs May suggested that the Labour Party had abandoned its original values under Jeremy Corbyn. 

“Compare Jeremy Corbyn’s behaviour to that of his predecessors,” she said. 

“Would Neil Kinnock, who stood-up to the hard-left, have stood by while his own MPs faced deselection, and needed police protection at their Party conference?

“Would Jim Callaghan, who served in the Royal Navy, have asked the Russian government to confirm the findings of our own intelligence agencies?

“Would Clement Attlee, Churchill’s trusted deputy during the Second World War, have told British Jews they didn’t know the meaning of antisemitism?”

She added: “What has befallen Labour is a national tragedy. It is our duty, in this Conservative Party, to make sure he [Mr Corbyn] can never do it to our country.”


New cancer strategy for the NHS

Mrs May praised the NHS for helping her manage her diabetes, and for treating housing secretary James Brokenshire for lung cancer. 

She revealed a new cancer strategy funded by the extra £394 million per week that was announced earlier this year as the NHS turned 70. 

“Next time you hear someone say that the Tories don’t care about the NHS, tell them about that extra funding,” she said. 

“Through our Cancer Strategy, we will increase the early detection rate from one-in-two today, to-three-in four by 2028.

“We will do it by lowering the age at which we screen for bowel cancer from 60 to 50, by investing in the very latest scanners, and by building more Rapid Diagnostic Centres – one stop-shops that help people get treatment quicker.

“It will mean that by 2028, 55,000 more people will be alive five years after their diagnosis compared to today.”



The Prime Minister did not “chuck Chequers” as former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson suggested, instead saying the party needed to “come together” behind her proposal.

She said: “Our proposal is for a free trade deal that provides for frictionless trade in goods. It would protect hundreds of thousands of jobs in the just-in-time supply chains our manufacturing firms rely on.

“Businesses wouldn’t face costly checks when they export to the EU, so they can invest with confidence.

“And it would protect our precious Union – the seamless border in Northern Ireland, a bedrock of peace and stability, would see no change whatsoever. Later: Even if we do not all agree on every part of this proposal, we need to come together."

She said: “We have had disagreements in this Party about Britain’s membership of the EU for a long time. 

So, it is no surprise that we have had a range of different views expressed this week.

But my job as Prime Minister is to do what I believe to be in the national interest.”

She added: “And that means two things. First, honouring the result of the referendum. MPs asked the British people to take this decision. We put our faith in their judgement. They have put their faith in us to deliver. I will not let them down.

“And secondly, to seek a good trading and security relationship with our neighbours after we have left. They are our close friends and allies, and we should ensure it stays that way.”


No People’s Vote

Mrs May dismissed the calls for a “People’s Vote” instead reiterating her demand for people to “come together” behind her Brexit, or risk “no Brexit at all”.

She said: “Their latest plan is to hold a second referendum. They call it a ‘People’s Vote’.

“But we had the people’s vote. The people voted to leave.

“A second referendum would be a “politicians’ vote”: politicians telling people they got it wrong the first time and should try again.

“Think for a moment what it would do to faith in our democracy if - having asked the people of this country to take this decision - politicians tried to overturn it.

“Those of us who do respect the result – whichever side of the question we stood on two years ago – need to come together now.

“If we don’t – if we all go off in different directions in pursuit of our own visions of the perfect Brexit - we risk ending up with no Brexit at all.”


Scrapping borrowing caps for councils to build new houses

The Prime Minister announced the scrapping of borrowing caps for councils in a bid to encourage building more housing.

Mrs May said: “There is a government cap on how much they can borrow against their Housing Revenue Account assets to fund new developments.

“Solving the housing crisis is the biggest domestic policy challenge of our generation.

“It doesn’t make sense to stop councils from playing their part in solving it.

“So today I can announce that we are scrapping that cap.

“We will help you get on the housing ladder.

“And we will build the homes this country needs.”


Cost of living

Mrs May also announced that fuel duty would be frozen ahead of the Chancellor’s budget later this month.

She said: “It’s for them that we cut income tax. Introduced a National Living Wage. Extended free childcare. And froze fuel duty every year.

“Because for millions of people, their car is not a luxury. It’s a necessity.

“Some have wondered if there would be a thaw in our policy this year.

“Today I can confirm, given the high oil price, the Chancellor will freeze fuel duty once again in his budget later this month.”


Reference to Boris's 'f*** business' comments

Mrs May even made a reference to comments made in June by the then Foreign Secretary, who was reported to have said “f*** business when discussing Brexit at a gathering of diplomats.

She said: “And to all businesses – large and small – you may have heard that there is a four-letter word to describe what we Conservatives want to do to you.

“It has a single syllable. It is of Anglo-Saxon derivation. It ends in the letter 'K'.

“Back business. Back them to create jobs and build prosperity.

“Back them to drive innovation and improve lives.

“Back them with the lowest Corporation Tax in the G20.

“Britain, under my Conservative Government, is open for business.”