Speech to the Conservative Policy Forum in Llandudno
"Ladies and Gentlemen
What a pleasure to be back in Llandudno at a time where we are working towards real success in Wales at the next General election.
One reason we are doing better is that we have been seen as united and determined. This is partly due to the excellent leadership of Michael Howard but also to all of you in the way you conduct yourselves and your political business.
There have been changes too since we last met. We say goodbye and thank you to Leigh Jeffes; and Hello and Welcome to Matthew Lane who is our new director and ACD in South Wales.
We shall also see Roger Williams heading towards home, taking up new responsibilities in Somerset where his experience will make a real impact on the Lib Dem target seats we have there. I know you will join me in wishing him well and give your support to the two new ACDs we are due to appoint.
Our magnificent team in the Assembly continues to harry the Labour party through intelligent and diligent opposition, offering a very real view of the future for Wales, one in which the socialist dogma is dead and buried and people can look forward to enjoying their lives in the way that they choose, safely and in good health.
We are nearing the end of our consultation discussions on policy such as the Richard Report recommendations. This report was conceived by the Lib Lab pact and has caused tremendous splits within the Labour party.
We have maintained a dignified and united message. No changes to powers without a referendum.
We managed to allow the Labour party to bicker and argue amongst themselves and at no stage were they offered the opportunity to say anything about us.
It was a plan and discipline that was hardest on those who might have differing views, and I am most grateful to all of you for sticking to the line without cracking.
We have not simply sat silently, we have offered positive suggestions, such as separating the executive from the rest of the assembly, but we have always maintained that the contract that the Welsh electors voted for, albeit narrowly, should not be altered without their approval in a referendum.
This is because we trust the people, we have confidence in their decisions and we are not afraid to abide by their will.
We are against the nanny state, the idea that Labour know better than the people, and we understand that people can and should be able to take responsibility for their decisions and the future of their country.
I do not know what suggestions and ideas will come out of our consultation, but I am sure we are thinking beyond devolution, right or wrong?
We can offer broader and more exciting choices, and in this day and age, where people are dealing with volumes of information delivered through the internet and television.
I think we could have greater choices for the electorate than a simple referendum. Perhaps it should be a plebiscite so we can not only ask more than one question but prove what people feel about devolution.
There are now a great many difficulties facing Wales. The mismanagement of the health service and the huge increase in waiting lists and times has probably done more than anything to undermine the credibility of Labour in the Assembly.
There are other threats to Wales from this Government. Defence is a particular worry, with the Government proposing to axe four regiments of infantry.
In Wales the Royal Welch Fusiliers and the Royal Regiment of Wales, could be amalgamated. This would consign to history over three centuries of valiant bravery. As an old Royal Welch Fusilier this causes me great sadness and further demonstrates the lack of understanding in the Ministry of Defence.
Another disaster has been Labours handing of immigration. Our policy would end the current chaos and give us back control of our borders, it would enable the true refugee to find safety and end economic migration through the back door.
This would end the subsequent exploitation of illegal immigrants such as those who died at Morecambe Bay.
When it comes to taxation we all have the highest aspirations for the lowest taxes. Nowhere is this more needed than for our pensioners who have been taxed and taxed, while seeing their pensions and savings raided by the Chancellor.
The council tax has been horrendously exploited by Gordon Brown to raise money without taking responsibility and this must be our prime target for cutting; however this must go hand in hand with undoing the damage done to savings and pensions.
The Lib Dems offer siren policies like local income tax, but when you examine the fine print, they want to hike taxation as much or more than Labour and their local income tax would cost a typical working family in Wales, an extra £541 a year in tax.
There is plenty to fight against and there is plenty to fight for and never a better moment to do it than now, in the run up to the General election.
I do not believe we have ever had such a superb team of candidates, many are well known to you, all of them are working hard; all of them are willing to do even more. Yes they are!
They are needed in Westminster, and they are truly worthy of every ounce, or gram of support that you can give.
We are soon going to be in Bournemouth for the party conference. I am excited and looking forward to it, because Labour has let everyone down, they have failed.
The people are not going to vote for them, they are waiting for us to show them that we are ready for Government. So let's show them."