Howard's speech at a glance

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Indy Politics

In his speech to the Conservative conference in Bournemouth today, party leader Michael Howard gave an outline of the changes a Tory administration would introduce in its first weeks in office.

Among them were:

  • A "war on crime" based on the zero-tolerance tactics of former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani and Middlesbrough's "Robocop" Ray Mallon.
  • Immediate scrapping of forms police officers have to fill in each time they stop a suspect.
  • An end to the early release scheme for prisoners.
  • Recruitment of an extra 5,000 police a year.
  • Building more prisons.
  • Tenfold increase in drug rehabilitation places from 2,000 to 20,000.
  • Review of the Human Rights Act, which will be scrapped if it cannot be reformed.
  • Headteachers to be given control over classrooms and final say on expulsions.
  • Scrapping of Whitehall-imposed health and education targets.
  • Introduction of right to go to the hospital or school of your choice.
  • Immediate freeze on civil service recruitment.
  • Immediate closure of Downing Street Delivery Unit.
  • Restoration of link between basic state pension and earnings, worth £7 a week for single pensioners and £11 for couples.
  • The prospect of tax cuts "when I can" - but no promise to reduce any specific taxes.
  • Date for referendum on EU constitution to be set on first day in office, with poll held within months.
  • Renegotiation of European treaties, including withdrawal from Social Chapter and Common Fisheries Policy.
  • Announcement of Britain's intention to withdraw from the 1951 UN Refugee Convention.
  • Annual limit on number of immigrants.

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