Yesterday (Monday 6th August) I officially launched my campaign to be the next leader of the Welsh Conservatives.
A big thank you to everyone who came along to support me.
My whole speech (made in English) is below for you.
Ddoe (dydd Llun 6 Awst) lansiais fy ymgyrch yn swyddogol i fod yn arweinydd nesaf y Ceidwadwyr Cymreig.
Diolch yn fawr iawn i bawb a ddaeth i'm cefnogi.
Mae fy araith gyfan (yn Saesneg) isod i chi.
Bonheddigion a bonheddigesau, cyfeillion.
Ladies and gentlemen, friends.
Thank you for joining me today for the launch of my campaign to lead the Welsh Conservatives.
I’ve chosen this location, in the First Minister’s constituency, as it encapsulates so many of my values and my thoughts on how, together, we can drive Wales forward.
We are the party of enterprise. At a time when our Welsh private sector seems to be on the outside of decisions about the City and Growth Deals - it’s a little better in N Wales - here we have a perfect example of how that Welsh private sector, built on small and medium enterprises, can drive regeneration and bring prosperity and pride to a Welsh community.
Including local people in its success and giving something back to their home town, creating something where everyone has a stake.
Unlike the Labour Council here which has prevaricated over the depedestrianisation of part of this town despite the demands of traders for as long as I’ve been an AM. No wonder we took ten wards straight from Labour at the last election.
People ask me why I’m standing for the leadership.
Why does the girl who grew up in the Labour heartlands of the South Wales Valleys....
... the woman who found her way to the National Assembly via Cardiff and Brecon, the foothills of Snowdonia, and the market towns of Powys, aspire to one of the top jobs in Welsh politics?
What does my experience and my career say about my ability to run a party let alone a country?
These are questions I’ve asked myself too.
If I didn’t have answers I’d not be here today.
I know what it’s like.
I’ve done the hard yards as a candidate, and supported others standing for election, all around Wales
- from Alyn & Deeside, to Ynys Mon, Carmarthenshire and Newport, Powys, Wrexham, Blaenau Gwent- you name it: as well as here in my own region of South Wales West.
- It can be a character-building experience! - but we cannot take our activists in difficult seats for granted. Good businesses invest in their workforce and so do successful parties.
I’ve backed the projects and causes
- I’ve run job clubs and mentoring the over-50s set up their own businesses
- I’ve worked with others with others to save vital community resources : whether it’s saving my children’s local nursery from closure - one of the first things that got me involved with politics - or saving A&E at the hospital here just down the road.
- And if it feels like Opposition AMs are powerless, I’ve secured a change in the law so that all Wales’s children can walk safely to school - while a Labour Council, where it all started, was determined to do nothing
I know what it’s like to run a business, and the challenges others face to balance the books. And as a solicitor, I’ve worked with people from all backgrounds, all walks of life to help them overcome their own challenges
- the victims of domestic violence
- the farmers devastated by foot and mouth and late payments
- the little guys being rolled over by bullies or big government
So now I understand what people want from politicians:
Determination and clear direction - yes
Transparency - yes
Humility - yes
Someone like them - yes
Someone who listens to them - yes
In short, a two-way relationship which is inclusive and open, built on mutual trust.
Just as our members want with their leader.
And to help me deliver these relationships, our Welsh Party needs to rediscover its mojo.
New energy under a new leader who can reach out to new audiences.
A modern Welsh party which celebrates and fights for the union of the United Kingdom with every fibre ....
..... as well as celebrating and sharing our love of Wales and our commitment to free it from Labour control.
A democratic party which doesn’t just respect the Brexit vote ...
... but chooses a leader who really brings Wales to the UK table after we’ve left the EU...
and who works hand in hand with business to find new global markets as well as making the most of their long-held relationships within the EU.
And who can challenge Westminster colleagues when needed, as I did with Swansea lagoon.
Now it’s time to put practical experience into action where the decisions of the few make a real difference to the lives of the many.
I want to govern, not oppose.
Do even more things to make a difference.
I don’t want to simply manage: I want to lead.
In this centenary year of women’s suffrage - deeds, not words.
For our members, that means a whole range of ideas about how we talk to each other so that we can act together.
It starts with a Scotland-style review of Welsh Party structure so that our constitution catches up with devolution and gives transparency and more power to members - on candidate selection, on engagement within and - critically - outside the party.
A distinct Welsh look and feel is not turning our back on the positive and productive relationship with the rest of the UK. It’s about personal freedom, confidence to use all those new powers given to Wales by WC Secretaries of State.
And we cannot be all about the First Past the Post. UKIP cost us new seats as well as taking regional seats off us temporarily - because we campaigners were “told” to forget about the regional seats, and, indeed, UKIP.
No. We fight for all seats at all levels. We have an increasingly diverse and local pool of candidates who want this fight.
Just ask those councillors who took ten seats directly from Labour here in the FM’s own council, his own heartland.
Just ask our councillors who are now the second biggest party in Red Rob’s Swansea Council.
Just ask our activists who’ve just won their first by-election in Pontypridd.
Just ask our councillors in Powys who’ve grown year on year, share power and are now ideally placed to pick off the remaining Lib Dem in the Assembly, personally responsible for keeping Labour in power.
But this not just for the party. It’s for Wales. What’s next for Wales is the defining question of our age
We’re leaving the EU.
Globally we’re facing threats to our security and our way of life.
To the air we breathe;
And the oceans we swim in;
At home we battle with each other over who has the best ideas to run our schools and our hospitals;
As those who use them grow impatient for improvements in both.
How we’re governed matters. And we must govern or sacrifice Wales more years of Labour rule.
That prospect is as bad for our Conservative spirit as it is for our democracy.
So the decision we’re about to take will define where our party and where our country goes in the years to come.
It’s why I believe we must focus on the challenges of today and tomorrow;
Not waste our time on fighting the battles of the past,
But embrace a new culture of cooperation ...
Which isn’t afraid to make full use of the levers by which we are governed;
But which doesn’t see more legislation as the answer to all our problems.
In the 18th and the 19th centuries the makers, the doers, and the thinkers, came together to turn Wales into the engine room of the Industrial Revolution.
In the first half of the last they fuelled the world’s economies and defended our freedoms.
While in the post-war years we re-invented and regenerated;
Seeking new outlets for our talents and ideas.
Yet today, we know there’s more to do to build an ambitious, tolerant, prosperous nation.
I want Wales to look beyond its borders;
Not limit its ambitions to them.
I want Wales to be a land of opportunity;
Where people don’t have to fight to send their kids to the best school;
Travel miles to get the best healthcare;
Or hold down the best job.
I want Wales to be a land where communities flourish;
Where people care for each other and where they live;
Support the needs of families, individuals, and the vulnerable;
And reaches out to the rest of the world, while being connected to it too.
I want Wales to be a land of equality;
So that everyone has the right to a good life;
A safe home;
And can fulfil their potential.
No matter where they’re from;
How they look;
What they think;
Or who they love.
This is my vision for our country as well as our party.
Changing the way we work;
And who we work with.
Recognising that no matter which side of the political divide we’re on, we all want the best for the communities we serve.
Accepting that no one person has a monopoly on good ideas;
And that everyone deserves the basic respect of a right to be heard.
I want to lead so that today;
As a party and as a country;
With new-found confidence and energy;
We’ll create and seize new opportunities;
Embrace fresh ideas;
Nurture new talent;
And support existing ones;
While looking after those who can’t look after themselves.
This is why I’m running.
I want to lead the modern Welsh Conservatives by working with members to develop the policies which address people’s priorities.
I want to show that today’s Welsh Conservatives have a vision for Wales which celebrates diversity, which tackles inequality, and which extends our global reach.
I want to build on our party’s achievements of the past by ensuring we look like, sound like, and are like the people and communities of 21st century Wales we seek to represent.
So, let’s be proud of our union, but focus on freeing Wales from the shackles of Labour
Let’s rise to be the party that smashes all the inherited prejudices, shows our modern face, captures Wales’s attention
Let’s win more seats by bringing Wales with us
Let’s win Wales. With Suzy. For Wales