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Cheryl Gillan: A new politics for Wales

Good morning conference. Bore da. I bring you greetings from Newport, capital of the golfing world!

Last weekend's Ryder Cup was a triumph for Europe. For Sir Terry Matthews, for Newport, and the Celtic Manor Resort. And for Wales.

It showed just what we can achieve if we have the ambition and the vision.

Now all we've got to do is sort out the weather!
 
Conference, it is an honour to stand here as Secretary of State for Wales.
 
And to follow in the footsteps of the last Conservative Welsh Secretary William Hague.
 
But it fills me with sadness that this is the first conference since the death of another great Secretary of State, Lord Peter Walker.
 
His son, Robin followed his father as MP for Worcester at the General Election.
 
Robin, your father was a man of principle, a dedicated public servant, and a true friend to Wales. 
 
We all miss him.
 
Today in Wales we are building on electoral success.
 
Last year at the European elections we beat Labour for the first time.
 
We were up for that fight again at the General Election.
 
Winning eight seats.
 
The most since 1992.
 
Our success was the result of hard graft, grit, determination and team work.
 
I pay tribute to all our candidates and the people who helped them.
 
And particularly to my minister David Jones as we stood side by side in the campaign.
 
Together with Nick Bourne and his team we have built on our success year-on-year.
 
Winning more seats in the Welsh Assembly.
 
Gaining control of more councils.
 
Topping the poll in Europe.
 
The Conservative Party really is winning in Wales.
 
But the hard work must not stop.
 
The General Election must not be our high water mark in Wales.
 
I want us to go further.
 
We got rid of Labour at Westminster.
 
Now let's redouble our efforts at May's Assembly elections and remove them in Cardiff too.
 
 
We simply cannot afford to let Wales continue as Labour's fiefdom.
 
They should not be given a chance to re-group and re-build using Wales as its playground.
 
Let's remind people what Labour really means for Wales.
 
After 13 years in power it's the poorest part of the UK.
 
Has lower average wages.
 
And high unemployment.
 
We will reverse these trends.
 
And quickly.
 
Labour will take every opportunity to blame us for the problems we now face.
 
We don't relish cuts.
 
The action we are now taking is a result of their legacy to Britain.
 
We are tackling the deficit and rebalancing the economy.
 
And reforming benefits so they help those most in need.
 
I want Wales to be leading the way.
 
Over the last five months we've been setting out how we will change the economic environment for business.
 
From reductions in corporation tax to easing National Insurance on new firms.
 
From active export promotion to reducing regulation we are creating the right conditions for businesses to flourish.
 
And telling the world that Wales is open for business.
 
 
But to restore our fortunes we need cooperation with the Assembly.
 
Just as we formed a coalition government so Cardiff and London must work together in the national interest.
 
Even when Labour was in power in both places there was a broken relationship.
 
I am determined to develop new ways of working together.
 
The relationship with the Assembly should be based on respect.
 
But that works both ways.
 
And as I take this very seriously I ask the Assembly Government to do the same.
 
There is regular liaison between the Assembly Government and Whitehall.
 
And we will keep promoting and enhancing that dialogue.
 
We're fulfilling our commitments on legislation.
 
And we are delivering the referendum asked for by the Assembly.
 
That lets the people of Wales decide - and all Conservatives will have a free vote.
 
 
This is the new politics.
 
It puts people first.
 
It doesn't mean putting aside political views.
 
But it means not allowing them to get in the way of doing the job.
 
So conference, Conservatives are making good progress in Wales.
 
We are a country with fantastic assets and talented people.
 
And under the Conservatives we are going to realise their potential.
 
And just as Europe won the Ryder Cup on Monday, at next year's elections let us win again in Wales.

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