Howard sets out vision for government

Howard: paid tribute to the "real achievers"
Howard: paid tribute to the "real achievers"

Conservative leader Michael Howard today said it was time for a government that "believes in Britain".

During a speech to Conservative Party members and activists he sought to describe "the Britain I believe in, my hopes and aspirations for our country."

Mr Howard sought to pay tribute to "the real achievers" in society and thanked hard working families, those who worked in the public sector, and businesses for their contributions.

He said: "Britain's hard-working families, its dedicated public servants and its wealth-creating entrepreneurs need a government solidly on their side - a government that recognises and rewards their efforts.

"And that government can best help them by applying a simple philosophy: reward people who do the right thing."

He expressed support for controlled immigration, but argued that it was being undermined by abuses.

He also suggested that the balance of rights and responsibilities in Britain was out of kilter. "Too many people now believe that they are no longer wholly responsible for their actions. And the rights culture rewards those who don't play by the rules."

Arguing that efforts should be made to help the forgotten majority, Mr Howard said: "Just imagine for a moment what our country would be like if the values of the hard working forgotten majority prevailed. It would be a liberation."

He added: "It is time to liberate our nation. To unlock its hidden potential, to trust its deepest instincts, to be led by the values of the forgotten majority. It is time to reward those who do the right thing. It is time, at last, for a government that believes in Britain."