Tory big guns take political aim at Brussels and global web giants

Leadership credentials: Philip Hammond speech showed that he sees himself as a future Tory leader

Domnic Raab, the man with the responsibility for leading Britain out of the European Union, made the speech of the day at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham when he took the fight to the Labour Party and attacked them for their alleged anti-semitism.

Mr Raab said that he would not stop fighting anti-semitism after telling the story of his father who immigrated to the UK after the holocaust.

Raab’s speech would have been impressive without the emotive story given his assertive tone towards the EU and their current Brexit negotiating style.

 

Raab says that EU needs to get serious on Brexit

 

Most notable was the statement “if the EU want a deal they need to get serious and they need to do it now”.

This was a clear and resounding support for the Prime Minister’s post-Salzburg speech at Number Ten.

 

Train delays

Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling MP, used his speech to remind the conference that he was the first cabinet minister to come out in favour of Brexit during the referendum.

However, he said very little of substance around Brexit itself except to state that it was nonsense that planes would not take off in the case of a no deal Brexit deal.

Ironically Mr Grayling was six minutes late for his speech whilst also apologising for inconveniences caused by train delays and the crisis in the industry at the moment. Coincidence?

 

Corbyn attack

Chancellor Philip Hammond’s speech was out of his normal repertoire. “Spreadsheet Phil”, who normally sticks to policy today turned to the political, attacking Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and his economics.

He defended his party’s commitment to business after Brexit by announcing a series of supportive measures.

 

Conference sweetheart

There were long queues for events hosted by chief secretary to the Treasury, Liz Truss. Her quiet campaign for leader is moving along with some supporters call her her the “sweetheart of conference”.

She received the nod from Gavin Williamson MP, Secretary of State for Defence, who posted a photo of himself with Ms Truss with the caption “ the Insta Queen”.

It is clear that her reinvention to try and get back into Cabinet is on track and her leadership aspirations are obvious.

 

Business engagement

The Conservative Party has, however, come under attack for their not so pro-business stance. Criticism has come from both the British Chamber of Commerce and former party treasurer Michael Spencer.

Adam Marsh, Director General of the BCC said: “what concerns many businesses more than the shock and awe plans from Labour is the less than full throated response from the Tories”.

Michael Spencer, Chief Executive of MEX Group, who spent four years as party treasurer under David Cameron said the Conservative Party have “lost their way”.

He claimed that they have adopted the language of socialists to buy votes. This is a heavy blow from a large party donor.

Philip Hammond has reiterated the Conservatives are the voice of business. In his speech today he called business “the corner stone of our economy delivering growth and prosperity for working people across the country”.

 

Hammond calls for digital services tax and slams Boris

 

This was part of Hammond’s speech focusing on “regenerating capitalism”.

The Chancellor proved that he is listening to business and has heard the concerns on the apprenticeship levy. The Conservatives are going to give a 25per cent leeway on the levy allowing business to spend the funding in other areas including R&D.

Hammond also announced that he would be working hand-in-hand with employers to ensure that every young person can fulfil their potential and achieve their dreams.

This includes a £30m of support to “Be the business” which is a business-led initiative to get big-companies to mentor small companies, helping to develop management and leadership.


On Brexit

Philip Hammond MP said today that Boris Johnson is a big character but negotiating Brexit doesn’t need big sweeping statements.

This is part of the wider commentary on Boris Johnson and his transparent campaign to be Prime Minister.

Jacob Rees-Mog said on BBC politics live that “at some point they need to realise that nobody wants Chequers”.

This is another clear sign that Rees-Mog is determined to undermine the Prime Minister and her stance on Brexit.


Coming up on Day Three

Boris Johnson is holding his off-site fringe rally. He will coming up on the train leaving his fields of wheat for a few hours.

Day Three will also see a morning of Unionism with the secretaries of state for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales taking stage in the main hall. Sajid Javid MP will also take a break from his leadership bid to go back to the day job of Home Secretary to make a speech in the main hall, focusing on making immigrants welcome post-Brexit. promoting the universal immigration system and treating all immigrants equally .