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banner Thursday, 5 October, 2000, 14:46 GMT 15:46 UK
Hague in his own words
Selected quotes from William Hague's speech to the Conservative party conference in Bournemouth:

On the Conservatives

"This has been the best, the most upbeat, and the most successful Conservative conference in years."

"Our conference has looked like a conference for the future. Labour's looked like a conference from the past."

"Just because [Tony Blair's] stopped talking about the forces of Conservatism, it hasn't made us go away. Just because he's paranoid about the forces of Conservatism doesn't mean we're not out to get him."

On Labour

"After years of trying to control the unions, it was back to beer and sandwiches in Brighton last week. Tony Blair likes beer and sandwiches without the beer. I like it without the sandwiches. Come to think of it, I like it without the unions."

"New Labour was not a philosophy it was a fashion."

"No ministers in recent times have lost touch so rapidly with the people who elected them."

With the Dome it's taken nine months to see that these interfering busy bodies didn't know what they were doing. Don't give them five more years to prove that they don't know what they're doing with our schools and our hospitals and our police."

On himself

"The people I grew up with, and millions like them, are the mainstream of our country. They are the people who motivate me."

What the Tories would do in government...

"We will govern for hard working families. We will govern for people of every community and background. We will govern for the mainstream that New Labour has ignored. We will govern for all the people."

"The Conservative Party in government will direct its energies to improving the schools that are the most hopeless, to bringing life to inner city areas that are the most bleak, to helping pensioners that are the least well off, to tackling drug problems that scar the least fortunate, to addressing family breakdown in the most dislocated communities, and to improving health care for those most dependent on the NHS."

"We're going to govern for the hard working, hard pressed, decent law abiding people of this country."

On tax

"We're going to cut fuel tax... We're going to restore a married couples' allowance... We're going to bring an end to the era of stealth taxes and start cutting taxes paid by hard pressed families."

"We're going to reduce the number of ministers, cut the size of the House of Commons, halve the number of political advisers and cut the whole size of Whitehall so there aren't so many politicians going round dreaming up expensive meddling schemes to interfere in everybody else's lives."

On schools

"We're going to take the money that's spent by politicians and bureaucrats and let the schools spend it instead - 540 for every pupil."

"We're going to endow our universities and set them free to be the best in the world."

On pensioners

"We're going to take Gordon Brown's gimmicks and the administrative costs wasted on them and put that money back into the state pension - 5.50 more a week for every pensioner, 10 for an older pensioner couple."

On health

"We're going to match Labour penny for penny on the NHS and sweep away Labour's dogmatic opposition to private provision."

"We're going to make sure every penny is spent on clinical priorities rather than the political priorities of Labour politicians."

On crime

"We're going to restore Labour's cuts in our police force... We're going to have no more of Labour's early release schemes for rapists and burglars and muggers."

"We're going to step up the war against drugs, not surrender to the drug dealers."

On inner cities

"We're going to reclaim the streets from the drug dealers and car thieves. We are going to bulldoze the worst of the concrete tower blocks and ensure that there are new low rise homes where the criminals won't be welcome."

On Europe

"We will be the champions of a flexible Europe. And we will be the champions of Britain's right to govern itself. For we believe in being in Europe not run by Europe.

"So we will write into the law of our land the powers and rights that we hold today and which we will pass to the next generation, so that no stroke of a pen from Brussels, or retrospective court judgement, can take those rights away."

"If other countries give up their currencies and take on the job of applying one set of rules to every economy in Europe, we should say: good luck, we wish them well, but we will keep the pound."

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