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This was Rishi Sunak’s first conference speech as Prime Minister. And given Labour’s substantial lead in the polls, he must have been uncomfortably aware it could also be his last.

So yesterday was his chance to start shifting the dial; to articulate a positive vision for Britain before work starts on what will be a make-or-break Tory manifesto.

With a general election in the offing, the Conservative faithful were hoping to be inspired. They desperately wanted to witness a dynamic and assured performance signalling that Mr Sunak had the stomach for the forthcoming fight.

Did he deliver? The answer was an emphatic ‘yes’. No one expected Mr Sunak to scale Churchillian heights of oratory.

But he came across as energetic, inventive and likeable. Here was a man of prime ministerial substance.

DAILY MAIL COMMENT: Did he deliver? The answer was an emphatic ‘yes’. No one expected Mr Sunak to scale Churchillian heights of oratory

His speech bristled with traditional Tory values: Strong defence, sound money, the family, enterprise, hard work and the vital importance of a good education for all, to secure the equality of opportunity without which there can be no social justice.

In the most powerful passage, Mr Sunak spoke passionately about his own rise from being the grandson of Indian and East African immigrants ‘who arrived here with nothing’ to Downing Street.

Anyone prepared to work hard and show initiative could succeed in Britain, he said – irrespective of their skin colour.

‘Never let anyone tell you that this is a racist country,’ he said. ‘I am proud to be the first British Asian prime minister… but I’m even prouder it’s just not a big deal.’

How starkly this contrasts with the Left’s view of the UK as a swamp of bigotry, a depiction as inaccurate as it is insulting.

On wokery, Mr Sunak was equally sound. Wading into the culture war being waged by trans activists who try to bully others into believing people can change sex at will, he said: ‘They can’t. A man is a man and a woman is a woman. That’s just common sense.’ 

Now he must crack on with issuing guidance to schools and the NHS to halt the spread of this pernicious ideology.

The central purpose of the PM’s hour-long speech was to portray himself as someone who will take difficult decisions in the country’s long-term interests, not just for short-term opportunism.

He came across as energetic, inventive and likeable. Here was a man of prime ministerial substance

Many will say that as the leader of a party that has been in power for 13 years, persuading voters he represents change will be a difficult sell.

But the PM made a bold start. Axing the northern leg of HS2 provoked howls he was betraying the North. But the planned line had become a parable for monstrous public sector waste. Ploughing the £36billion saved into rail, road and bus projects in the regions may be better for levelling-up.

While the Mail is instinctively suspicious of the ‘nanny state’, many will like Mr Sunak’s pledge for a phased ban on smoking.

He also plans to scrap A-levels and give whole-life sentences for sadistic and sexual murders. Gripping the Channel migrant crisis and the cost of living is also vital.

One observation though: How significant was it that Mr Sunak omitted mass immigration? With net migration at a staggering 606,000, surely an issue of such public concern deserves attention?

Nor is it over-critical to point out that while promising tough decisions, he devoted none of his speech to housing, public sector cuts and energy security. All are vital to restoring the nation’s fortunes.

Still, Mr Sunak deserved his rapturous reception. He has shown he has some of the ideas needed to transform the country.

Now we will see what Sir Keir Starmer has in his locker at Labour’s annual shindig. So far, his constant U-turns make it impossible to know what he stands for.

When voters go to the polls, the winning party will be the one most trusted to carry the country forward. Mr Sunak has made a compelling case it should be the Tories.

Content source – www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com

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