One of the curious issues I noticed from the Remain campaign during the EU referendum was that their message about Britain’s potential future in the EU was starkly different from the one coming from Brussels itself.
The Remain campaign vociferously attacked any suggestion that the EU wanted to expand into the Balkans, create an EU Army, shift yet more power away from national governments or threaten the removal of our opt-outs.
Yet this was precisely the content of Jean-Claude Juncker’s state of the union speech yesterday that was greeted to rapturous applause. His points included:
On Tuesday 12th September Adam asked the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Department for an update on the work being made to ensure the UK’s continued participation in EU space projects (11:48:34 to 11:49:20):
Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Questions, 12th September:
Adam Afriyie (Windsor, Conservative): The ingenuity, expertise and experience of our UK space sector enables us to punch well above our weight and to collaborate globally in bodies such as CERN, ESA and many others that predate the EU. Does the Minister agree that we should continue fully to support the role that British companies play in both other European space agencies and the EU space programme?
Jo Johnson (Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation): My hon. Friend has great expertise in this area, through his association with the Parliamentary Space Committee. I can reassure him, as I did a moment ago, that we are committed to continuing to collaborate closely with European countries to develop our space sector to the benefit of all those in employment in this sector in this country.
On Monday 11th September Adam asked the Department for Education for an update on their work to improve social mobility [14:56:00 to 14:57:48]:
Education Questions, 11th September:
Adam Afriyie (Windsor, Conservative): What steps the Government is taking to improve social mobility in disadvantaged areas.
Justine Greening (Secretary of State for Education): We are committed to supporting social mobility across the country, including in those areas that face the greatest challenges and have the fewest opportunities. At the vanguard of this approach, we are investing £72 million in 12 opportunity areas based in social mobility cold spots. We are working in these areas with local partners to improve educational attainment, to build opportunity and to broaden horizons for children and young people across early years, schools, and further and higher education.
There is no finer investment than the mental health of the nation
In austere times Governments have to be very careful before choosing where to spend scarce resources. Ministers will often have to choose between two very good causes and, though they would ideally like to spend money on both, choose whichever investment they think will have the greatest impact on the good of the nation.
So we Conservatives won the election, but without the margin that we were hoping for. While democracy may sometimes feel inconvenient for a political party or voter it is the best system we have and the results must be wholeheartedly embraced. Voters are in charge!
So a disappointing result for Conservatives especially given that our lead over Labour of almost a million votes was larger than Labour’s lead in 2005 that delivered them a 65 seat majority.
Nevertheless, as the only party capable of forming a Government it is right that we form the Government, build a legislative agenda for a stronger and fairer country and do our best to act in the national interest.