Theresa May's pitch to the country: it's not racist to worry about immigrants

The Prime Minister will seek to paint herself as a champion of the people, apart from the Westminster elite

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Theresa May will set out to make a clean break from her predecessor by declaring she will lead an interventionist Conservative government that will “act on behalf of the people”.

In her conference speech Ms May will make a major grab for the centre-ground of British politics, which she believes has been left vacant by Labour, by pledging to put “the power of government squarely at the service of ordinary working-class people.”

And she will bid to distance herself from the Westminster elite, saying: “Just listen to the way a lot of politicians and commentators talk about the public. They find their patriotism distasteful, their concerns about immigration parochial, their views about crime illiberal, their attachment to their job security inconvenient. They find the fact that more than seventeen million people voted to leave the European Union simply bewildering.”

But she will also snub right-wingers in her party with a pledge to eschew the “ideological templates” of both “the socialist left and the libertarian right”.

While the Prime Minister will pay tribute to the work and achievements of David Cameron, one insider explained Ms May was now keen to move on from the ex-leader’s tenure.  

Ms May will say: “That’s what government’s about - action. It’s about doing something, not being someone. About identifying injustices, finding solutions, driving change. Taking, not shirking, the big decisions. Having the courage to see things through.”

After a week in which the Tories set out a string of new policies, including a £5bn housing package, she was to claim that a “change had to come” in the way the country is governed. 

She is to say: “It’s time to remember the good that government can do. Time for a new approach that says while government does not have all the answers, government can and should be a force for good, that the state exists to provide what individual people, communities and markets cannot and that we should employ the power of government for the good of the people. Time to reject the ideological templates provided by the socialist left and the libertarian right and to embrace a new centre ground in which government steps up – and not back – to act on behalf of the people.” 

Theresa May on immigration in conference speech

The speech will seek to explain that her administration will provide security not just from crime, a staple of Tory policy, but also from ill health and unemployment too.

While she was to back “supporting free markets”, Ms May will also tell delegates that she would step in “to repair them when they aren’t working as they should”. 

Ms May will add: “I want to set our party and our country on the path towards the new centre ground of British politics - built on the values of fairness and opportunity - where everyone plays by the same rules and where every single person, regardless of their background or that of their parents, is given the chance to be all they want to be.”

 

Turning her guns on Labour she will to accuse the party of being “not just divided, but divisive. Determined to pit one against another. To pursue vendettas and settle scores”.

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