Commonwealth Club, Northumberland Avenue. Joint dinner with Mark Fox, candidate for Great Yarmouth. William Hague was the guest speaker.


Ladies & gentlemen I would like to echo Mark’s welcome to you all tonight. I can’t tell you how honoured we are that so many of you have turned out to support our campaigns.


The support of friends and family is sometimes what keeps us going. We may not say it very often, and may not even show it very often, but the people but we are deeply grateful. Those who suffer most from us trying to fulfil a dream are our families. But I warn them now – when we’re elected it’ll be much worse!


And I also want to thank Mark. Those of you who know him will know what a one-off he is. I’m proud to have him as my friend and proud to have him in the neighbouring constituency. I think he will agree that we provide a mutual support system to each other – we probably speak on average twice a day – he’ll say –you’ll never guess what I’ve done, do you think I’ll get away with it, or I say “Oh God, I’ve really gone and done it now” and we spend half an hour convincing each other that it’s alright really. I’ve almost, almost forgiven him for describing me to someone he thought I didn’t know as “the Elton John of British Politics”.


When I was selected as candidate in North Norfolk 15 months ago I thought I knew what I was letting myself in for. But little did I realise I that being a candidate entailed compering a wrestling match in Holt, or being invited to go for a firewalk on hot coals, or go swimming in the North Sea on boxing day for charity, or go on a sponsored diet and lose 2 stone. You see, it’s heavy politics in North Norfolk.


But there are moments when you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Moments which make it all worthwhile.




Now, before the main event, a couple of Parish notices







I’d like to thank Harriett & Jim Baldwin also for organising a Champagne reception at their home in Westminster in aid of our campaign in Norfolk on March 7th. We hope to have a very special guest that night. Harriett, I’m sure she won’t mind me telling you, was in the final three with me at North Norfolk. TALBOT ANECDOTE. She’s become a good friend and I hope she will find a safe seat before very long. She deserves to. Can I also mention the other PPCs here tonight – Lionel Zetter in Enfield, Margot James in Holborn (Dobbo), Nick Hurd in Ruislip, and my good friend Ashley Crossley in Falmouth & Camborne. We all wish you luck.


At the beginning of my remarks I talked about the support of friends I want you to hear a couple of sentences from an email I had yesterday from an American friend of mine, Daniel Forrester.





And that email tells me why I must win – why WE must win – WEEEE must win to win back our country. Because, ladies & gentlemen

We live in a country where...
The trains run more slowly than they did 100 years ago...
Where the more taxpayers money is spent on the health service the longer waiting lists get - yet the Government won't reform it...
Where it's almost impossible to fail an exam, yet kids leave school without basic literacy skills...
We live in a city where transport planners think that you solve traffic congestion by making traffic lights stay on red for longer...

We live in a country where the state broadcaster believes it is Ok to blaspheme against Jesus Christ, yet would run a mile from insulting Islam

Where the press still gives Labour the benefit of the doubt even after Peter Mandelson (twice), Hindujah, Bernie Eccleston, Jo “a good day to bury bad news” Moore, Alastair Campbell, Keith Vaz, Derek Draper and ‘Lobbygate’, Cash for Honours, Geoffrey Robinson, Stephen Byers, Lord Irvine’s wallpaper, Lakshmi Mittal & ‘Garbagegate’, Blair’s ‘freebie’ holidays, Peter Foster & ‘Cheriegate’, David Blunkett. And David Kelly.

And we live in a country Where the Prime Minister is so weak that when his Chancellor calls him a liar to his face he daren’t sack him

What this country is crying out for is a new style of politics – a new style of politician – free of spin, full of candour, upfront, honest, transparent, believeable. A politician of conviction. All qualities displayed by our guest of honour.


Ladies & Gentlemen, with us tonight we have perhaps the greatest orator in the House of Commons today. He’s written one of the books of the year – which we have for sale afterwards and I’m sure he’ll sign them for you. He’s someone who many of us believe WILL be Prime Minister of this country one day – and if he is, I’d just like to tell him that Mark and I will happily serve in his administration – Mark as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Social Security and me as Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport. Ladies & Gentlemen, please welcome, the Right Honourable William Hague.


I pray for you (this may not mean much to you but I pray any way) and think of you often.  Thank you for having the guts to do what you have done--and I know that you are not done yet.


In the next few months you will have difficult moments and hours.  You will question yourself and why you ever did this.  You will also have moments where you will know why you did this beyond any doubt.  Rest assured that all of us who support you know that we are very proud of you. We have confidence in you more than you can believe.    


Every day and even when you wonder are we even paying attention--- be assured we are.  Win my friend ---win. There is no failure but in not having tried.  Well you are trying my friend and we are with you.