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Timothy Kirkhope: European Election Campaign Launch

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Rawstenstall, Rossendale and Darwin.
 
Its great to be here in the North West for the launch our European election campaign with our Party leader and our European spokesman in the Shadow Cabinet, Mark Francois.
 
I would like to introduce our excellent team of MEPs and candidates here in the North West, headed by Sir Robert Atkins, with Saj Karim, Jacqui Foster Alex Williams, Greg Morgan and Peter Wilding.

I am also particularly delighted to welcome to our launch my good friend from Northern Ireland Jim Nicholson MEP together with David Campbell, the Chairman of the Ulster Unionist Party.  Jim is standing as the joint UUP/Conservative Party candidate in Northern Ireland. 

One of our ambitions in these elections is to be the only Party in the European Parliament representing every part of the United Kingdom.

In Belfast last week it was great to see for myself the really positive response our campaign is getting there.

Today we are here to launch today a comprehensive Manifesto for Change in Europe.

Europe must change if it is to be able to address the tasks that we and our partners will demand of it now and in the future.

To confront the great global challenges we face: climate change; global poverty; globalisation.  More than ever, in the current economic climate, Europe must become more competitive and a place where businesses can be started, grow and create jobs.

To do this, we want to bring Europe closer to its people.  That is why we are campaigning in this election for a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty - the referendum Labour promised but has never delivered. 

We are campaigning for the retention of our opt-out from the Working Time Directive, which Labour MEPs oppose, but which affects three million workers in this country and many thousands of businesses, large and small.

Our record shows that only Conservative MEPs can be trusted to deliver on our pledges; to deliver for Britain.  Be in no doubt, only Conservative MEPs have consistently advanced this country's interests in the European Parliament. And only the Conservatives have consistently stood up for change in Europe. 

We should be under no illusion all politicans have been under the spotlight in the last week or so.  We know that trust in politics has been damaged.  That is why David Cameron and I have agreed to set out today, in pledge form, our commitment to the British people - in terms of ethics and transparency, as well as our policy. 

The pledges summarise our main manifesto commitments in this election.  They also include the key elements of the Conservative MEPs' Right to Know expenses regime which has been enforced and is available to the public for the last six months.  David and I agreed that Conservative MEPs would lead change in the European Parliament over the way in which expenses issues were dealt with.

We are setting the standards for other parties to follow. As Leader of the Conservative MEPs, I will now sign our pledge: our commitment to the British people.
 
May I now invite our candidates representing all; parts of the UK to sign on behalf of their teams.

Ladies and Gentlemen, in everything that has happened in the political arena recently, only David Cameron has shown true leadership- the leadership the country demands. He has shown a clear understanding of what needs to change - and of how to make that change happen.

While Gordon Brown has dithered and prevaricated, our Party leader has been decisive and resolute.

It gives me great pleasure to introduce the man who embodies the change our politics needs - David Cameron.

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