Here we are at last in the home stretch of the general election campaign, an election none of us wanted but is I’m afraid absolutely necessary to break the deadlock of Parliament.
To all those of you who are thoroughly sick of the sound of politicians arguing, I can only sympathise and make this promise: If you vote for the Conservatives on Thursday and we get a Conservative majority government, we’ll move on from the dither and delay of the last three years and get our country moving again.
It has been so frustrating to see politicians endlessly shouting at one another and not seeing through the one thing you, the people, asked of them – taking the UK out of the European Union.
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It’s why we had to have this election, even though I would far rather parliament had simply got on with its job. Unfortunately, MPs kept kicking the can down the road so we had to have this election to move forward.
On Thursday, the country has the chance to end the delay, get Brexit done and move on to sorting out all the other things that matter to you.
That’s what I’ll do if I’m back as your Prime Minister. All 634 Conservative candidates at this election – including in Wolverhampton, Dudley and across the Black Country – have committed to voting for my Brexit deal. So if we win a majority, we’ll finally be able to get Brexit over the line. We only need nine more seats for that majority and the results in the Black Country will make all the difference.
Then we’ll get on with delivering all the other things you want from the Government. We’ll invest in the NHS, with a record £33.9 billion cash boost a year, plus 50 million more GP surgery appointments, 50,000 more nurses and 40 new hospitals across the country.
We’ll increase funding for schools by £150 million a week, giving every child the chance of a decent start in life. We’ll put 20,000 more police officers on the streets, starting with 366 extra officers here in the West Midlands next year, and lock up violent criminals for longer.
One of the reasons the Black Country voted to leave the EU was the strong feeling that this part of the world had been overlooked by all parties in Westminster for decades. We must change this.
Our Towns Fund will give a cash boost of up to £25m each for Wolverhampton, Bloxwich, Smethwick, and Walsall to improve their town centres. I’m going to put in place a Local Public Transport Fund worth £4.2bn so that, working with the Conservative Mayor Andy Street, we can improve transport links in the West Midlands. We’ll also help high streets, as well as local newspapers like the great Express and Star, by providing relief from business rates.
All these policies will help unleash the potential of the West Midlands and deliver the change people want to see.
But only if we get that Conservative majority government. The alternative is another hung parliament, which means more dither, more delay and more indecision. Jeremy Corbyn and Nicola Sturgeon would have to cobble together a deal meaning two more referendums – one on Brexit and one on Scotland – next year. Instead of moving on, we’d be going round in circles.
Many of you will have voted Labour in the past and it can be hard to break the habit of a lifetime. The Black Country has a proud history of MPs representing the finest Labour traditions – from the honourable Rob Marris to the magnificent Betty Boothroyd.
Perhaps most impressive of all is Ian Austin, the MP for Dudley North until parliament was dissolved. He has been Labour all his life, as a voter, activist, councillor and MP.
But today’s Labour Party bears little resemblance to the party of Attlee, Wilson or Blair. Under Jeremy Corbyn, Labour has increasingly represented a north London left-wing elite, totally cut off from the concerns of traditional Labour voters in the Midlands and the North of England.
Worst of all, Corbyn has tolerated appalling anti-Jewish racism in his party. Labour used to fight for equality and against racism in society, but now it can’t deal with prejudice within its own ranks. As Ian has bravely said, Jeremy Corbyn is totally unfit to be Prime Minister.
So even if you have previously voted for the Labour Party, I urge you to vote for the Conservatives on Thursday. It’s the only way to break the deadlock, get Brexit done and deliver for the Black Country.