TORY CONFERENCE SKETCH: Was Liz’s fruity speech one to remember?
- Credit: PA
Liz Truss was enveloped in Tory blue as she made her debut speech on the conference stage as a cabinet minister.
The soulless Birmingham venue is a difficult gig with carefully thought through sound bites easily disappearing into the ether – luckily it was an easy audience.
The Norfolk MP – who has been tipped for the top – looked to a Conservative idol for an easy cheer.
'It was a Conservative who pointed out that CFCs were damaging the ozone layer. It was a Conservative who championed international efforts to ban them.
'It was a Conservative who signed the Treaty phasing out their use. And the name of that Conservative was Margaret Thatcher,' she bellowed.
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And they obliged.
And with her Norfolk fan club in evidence she got a cheer for her love of the countryside and Norfolk.
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But in the history books the Liz Truss conference speech of 2014 will be remembered as the one with the British apple.
Tummies rumbled around the hall as she set out her vision of an Eden where we all gorge on British food.
British children should grow up knowing the taste of Melton Mowbray pork pies, Norfolk turkeys and black pudding, she said.
'As well as exporting our fantastic food abroad, I want to see us eating more British food here in Britain,' she demanded.
To applause, she told delegates: 'We are producing more varieties of cheese than the French. And we are selling tea to China – Yorkshire tea.
'When it comes to British food and drink, we have had never had it so good.'
A woman on a mission, a stateswoman in waiting, she told the Tory massive she would be off to Paris to 'big up' British produce.
With this patriotic message on the menu, there was little time for flood defences.
A cursory three line mention to assure delegates that they need not fear.
'Our defences against flooding are being upgraded to make them more robust. We are spending £3.2 billion – half a billion more than the last government – better protecting 165,000 houses and 580,000 acres of farmland. We are constantly vigilant,' she said
And in a warm up for the grand finale she returned to say: 'I am determined that our flood defences will be always be strong enough to protect us against the ravages of a changing climate.'
But it was the pay-off line which will stick in the memory.
'I will not rest until the British apple is at the very top of the tree,' she concluded.
The big question is, will the party faithful remember this fruity speech in years to come when they are looking for a leader?
The applause suggested she impressed.