By Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng.

It wasn’t long ago when Britain was trapped in a state of agonising Brexit-induced paralysis.

It was a period of great national shame, defined by bitter parliamentary trench warfare that left our country on a downward spiral with the very real threat of a second EU referendum looming over us all. In order to smash through the gridlock and restore people’s confidence in politics, we backed Boris to get Brexit done so we can focus on the people’s priorities. Even facing an unprecedented global pandemic, our Prime Minister has got the big calls right over the past two years.

We have had the fastest vaccine rollout in Europe thanks to the Prime Minister’s bold insistence that we walk away from the sluggish EU vaccine procurement scheme. Instead, the Prime Minister pushed ahead with our own Vaccine Taskforce which worked at incredible speeds to ensure the UK was the first country in the Western world to administer a safe and effective vaccine.

To this day, Captain Sir Keir Hindsight still cannot bring himself to admit this life-saving decision was the right one for the British people. And because the Prime Minister resisted kneejerk calls to impose restrictions over Christmas, we now have the most open society and economy in Europe.

Wages are up, unemployment down, redundancies at record lows and the UK is set to have the fastest growing economy in the G7 this year and next. But our economic success emerging from the pandemic has not happened by accident.

We are only in this position because the Prime Minister faced down critics and got the big decisions right. More employees are on the payroll today than before the pandemic because the Prime Minister and Chancellor made quick choices, and put in place a mammoth £400 billion economic support package.

Wages are up because the Prime Minister held firm on our commitment to build a high wage, high skill economy – rather than giving into Labour calls to reach for the lever of unskilled immigration from Europe.

GDP is back at pre-pandemic levels because the Prime Minister made the right call and re-opened England’s economy last July – which was opposed by Labour at the time. Now we are emerging ahead from the pandemic, the Prime Minister and the government he leads is getting on with delivering the manifesto which won the Conservative Party the biggest majority in a generation.

We got Brexit done, bringing in our points-based immigration system, opening Freeports, and striking free trade deals with old friends and new allies.

We are pushing ahead with new nuclear to ensure greater energy independence, while facing down Labour’s insane calls to shut off North Sea gas production which would leave Britain more dependent on imports.

We have delivered the biggest upgrade to Britain’s investment screening regime in two decades to crack down on hostile foreign takeovers. We have freed ourselves from bureaucratic EU state aid laws so we can back new British industries.

We are pushing ahead with the largest investment in our nation’s defence since the end of the Cold War. The Prime Minister has delivered a historic funding boost for the NHS – with record numbers of doctors and nurses, funding to bust the backlogs, and 40 new hospitals on the way.

We are ploughing £96 billion into our Victorian railway system to rapidly deliver punctual, reliable, and faster rail journey across the North and Midlands. We are also delivering on our solemn mission to level up opportunity across the country, targeting funding to areas that need investment the most.

All of this is underpinned by the Prime Minister’s pro-business instinct to back our innovators and wealth creators because it is their willingness to take risks that is crucial for our success. Unlike the Labour Party, we Conservatives understand the inalienable truth that a strong, competitive, free-market economy generates jobs, growth and revenue to fund fantastic public services.

The confidence, certainty and stability the Prime Minister is provided through our trade agreement he negotiated with the EU is delivering. Investors are now lining up to inject fresh capital into our economy to supercharge our recovery.

BritishVolt have just announced a £1.8 billion gigafactory in Blyth. Rolls Royce is developing mini nuclear power stations, designed and manufactured in the UK. Nissan is backing their Sunderland site with a new £1 billion gigafactory. Bentley has just unveiled a £2.5billion investment in Crewe to build electric cars.

Energy giant Royal Dutch Shell are moving their global headquarters to the UK. The Square Mile is outperforming other major financial hubs, including New York, Singapore and Paris, despite predictions banks would leave in droves after Brexit.

Critics said such business confidence and investment would not be possible after a vote to leave the EU. Scaremongers in the Labour Party cried wolf that companies would be forced to leave the UK. However none of that came to pass.

While Labour flirted with a second referendum, Boris put his faith in Britain and delivered what the people voted for. Now we need to get on with the job and continue to deliver for the whole United Kingdom.

First published in the Express on Sat, Jan 29, 2022.


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