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  • in the spring.

  • So it was pretty precarious situation and, you know, to me and my colleagues, what Boris offered was this unique combination of qualities.

  • First of all, probably the most trusted senior politicians early in our party, on the issue of Brexit, which is the defining issue of the day.

  • And I think everything that we've seen from his election as prime minister has confirmed that that you know, in the way he's gone about it.

  • No one, I think, is in any doubt about his commitment to deliver Brexit by the end of October and to fight hard to get us a good deal and, if not to prepare us properly to leave without.

  • But beyond that, you know, what also attracted us is that you said that the newer generation focused on domestic issues.

  • It was his track record as a liberal conservative governing from the center with an inspiring platform of ideas around infrastructure around education, around spreading opportunity on that dynamic alignment between free enterprise, economy and funding.

  • Public service is that's what particularly excited me about him.

  • We saw that when he was mayor in London, and that's what we I think, have been doing at a pace since he was elected in the government came together at the end of July.

  • You've seen that relentless focus on people's priorities.

  • Public service is the economy, eso everything Thus far, I think, you know, has been as we expected.

  • The other thing we said in the article was, of course, you know he's a proven winner on Dhe.

  • Whether you judge that by two mayoral elections at a time when the observers were holding 17 points behind Labor in London at that time, Boris went on to win also the referendum that no one thought could be one he led and and one.

  • And, you know, we're expecting a general election this year.

  • It's certainly something that we welcome and are looking forward to.

  • And I have every confidence that Boris is brilliantly place to lead us to victory when that comes on.

  • Well, the election happened.

  • Do you think before, before Brexit after Brexit obviously adverts are telling us October 31st we are leaving.

  • Some people in Parliament seem less sure about.

  • Yeah, well, that Parliament is obviously, you know, is trying to do what it can to frustrate our us in our aim of delivering Brexit.

  • You know, those battles and tussles are going to keep happening over the coming weeks, and I think we'll just watch that.

  • You know what we do have this slightly bizarre situation of a leader of the opposition just unwilling to to do that page.

  • Georgia's a prime minister.

  • Come memorably put it the other day.

  • I mean, you know, they're single purpose, what they're paid to do by the taxpayers to oppose and try and replace the government.

  • And here we are.

  • We've got the leader of the opposition just unwilling to do that for all the reasons that we know.

  • So it doesn't seem that we're gonna have the election, you know, in the in the immediate future.

  • But I think when it does come where we're very well placed, I think people are responding very well.

  • I certainly am finding that when I'm out knocking doors, hopefully you are as well.

  • You know, people, whatever direction they've come from on the Brexit issue clearly are seeing a government that's got grip.

  • That's got determination that is, on one hand, focusing on Brexit, on the other hand, focusing on things that they care about like the n hs, keeping them safe, getting money into schools on day, See on the other side a leader of the opposition whose please just not fit to lead, not able to make decisions.

  • Maur delay.

  • They're not attracted to that.

  • The prime minister's way of communicating cuts through.

  • So I said, when the election comes, we should be in very good shape.

  • Now you're one of the reasons I wanted to talk to you on.

  • I'm sure we'll get back to Brexit fairly repeatedly.

  • Not least one of the questions start, but one of the three wasn't able to talk to you.

  • I mean, so you are not regional growth is now suitable Molar age.

  • Leveling up a Zagat calls.

  • And as as chief secretary Treasury, you are innocent of leading position Thio.

  • Act on that.

  • But also you know you're the MP for a seat up in up in Yorkshire.

  • More pertinently, you know, back in 2016 very shortly after the election, you wrote a very good report for the conservatives.

  • Fits sensible policy Studies called about Call the Freeport's opportunity, arguing that reports were a great way to help the left behind regions on Dhe.

  • Now, of course, you're in a position t help drive that through.

  • And any in the middle of that you'd have ended up as a local government minister again in the department deals without me.

  • Is it that is not accidental through line of your career?

  • Or is that actually something that you is that something that's gonna quit called toe?

  • I think I think that I mean, that's something I've come to through my experiences, especially more experiences in politics.

  • As you said, the privilege of representing a northern seat and ultimately around the Cabinet table, there's generally a A small number of people who represent northern seats also represent a rural seat as well, which gives me a slightly different slant on on how things are happening down in Whitehall.

  • On also have a brilliant conservative mayor up near me and T side Ben How Chin and we have a string of marginal seats that I campaign in Darling turn, Bishop, Auckland, Stockton, South medals for South.

  • So, like my politics has got informed by that experience, and it was it's very clear, you know, partly because of the Brexit referendum, but just more generally, when you look at the data that the growth that the country has enjoyed over a period of time has not been evenly shared.

  • I think it was just a report out today or yesterday which again could prove the point that you're in London and the Southeast.

  • We have one of the most prosperous and economically dynamic part of of all of Europe.

  • But we also have several of the most unequal parts in Europe, and the gap between London on our other regions is wider than the gap between capital cities and regions in almost any other large developed economy.

  • And so that that's not great.

  • I mean, that's not just great, because everyone deserves a chance, a TTE that at that same prosperity, it's also just not great for us politically.

  • If you believe as I think everyone in this room would believe in, CPS and Catholics believe, you know, we believe in a free enterprise economy, right?

  • We think that is the best way to raise people's living standards to pay for the things we care about.

  • If people start to feel that that system isn't working for them, that they're sitting up in Teesside or wherever looking down at London and the Southeast.

  • All that sitting in a rural area, looking down at cities and they say, Well, hang on.

  • This system isn't quite working.

  • There will be much more open to experimenting in quite radical way with changing the system.

  • So I think you know, both just because it's economically wrong but also politically wrong.

  • We need to find a wayto get grow to every part of the country and, you know, way talk about free ports, and we can talk about that again.

  • That's one idea that we can use after way get Brexit done to drive growth in places like South Hampton where I'm from, which is a port city.

  • Teesside being another obvious one opportunity zones is another idea that we've discussed, Rob but also infrastructure.

  • And I've just got you have come here from North Allerton in North Yorkshire.

  • It took me just over two hours in the train, trundling along the trans panel and express That journey is about 60 odd miles.

  • It takes about the same time to get here from London, and that journey is 200 something miles right, like you know, that is simply not sustainable.

  • way to think I'm hearing here is that you're gonna cancel it.

  • Just thio.

  • Why?

  • What you're hearing is someone who is very, very committed to northern powerhouse rail and that whole agenda and there's different arguments of different parts of infrastructure.

  • But I find a very compelling one, actually.

  • You know the thesis in George Osborne's first speech about the northern powerhouse, you know, he talked about the kind of unique collection of big cities we have in the North Manchester being at the heart of that, but yet they are very poorly connected.

  • And if you take the central line, those of those of you that have come up from London or familiar with it, it's about 40 41 miles from end to end.

  • But all this is completely communicable within that.

  • If you if you did the same thing and created that same commuting, 40 mile central line type transport system around Manchester, you'd pick up several 1,000,000 people.

  • Now, if that was one economic functional area, it would it would look like Tokyo essentially was the point that he'd made.

  • And that's what you will get to drive up productivity.

  • Andan sure that economic growth is more evenly shared.

  • So you know that that's the solution that we must do.

  • And Prime Ministers said that that will be a priority for him.

  • The leads to Manchester Train Line is something that we've already essentially green lighted and flesh out.

  • How exactly that's gonna work.

  • But also broadband.

  • You know, does that represent a rural area and brought brand is equally as important as road and rail infrastructure, and we're gonna be doing that as well.

  • You mentioned earlier that you come from Southampton, but you also come from a HS family.

  • I think both of your parents were just workers.

  • They started working a pharmacy with a sort of pleased or puzzled or incredibly depressed when they said, You know what, Mom?

  • Dad, I really want to do is become a conservative MP.

  • No, what?

  • They're not remotely political.

  • So that was I didn't grow up in a political household.

  • But, you know, I've had a career in business before that, but even that they didn't fully understand.

  • I mean, you know, they're classic Indian immigrant parents, you know, They go do you go to a degree that leads to a very specific job on then you have security of income.

  • So that was their kind of driving mindset.

  • So when I first like I said, I'm gonna study economics for a level.

  • That was something that my mom was very worried about in the first instance, because it was obvious what job that would lead to in her mind.

  • Then I went to university and there was philosophy in the title of my degree that worried her even more.

  • You're one of these peopie students are there in the country?

  • Yes, exactly when it snows the lawyers that now is more lawyers in Parliament than PPS, I keep being told.

  • Not that it seems to have done us much good recently, but no.

  • So, you know, I end up having a career in business, which again they struggle toe get at first.

  • But then we're happy because it seemed secure.

  • So, politics for me, with you, it was surprising for them it was something like came to slightly just sideways, and but they've been incredibly supportive about it.

  • But, I mean, you know as well as with your boss of the treasury, both of you had extremely successful careers, you know, earning quite a lot of money I seem with without People call you an absolute asshole on social media, you know, like, oh, you know.

  • Oh, you know, every every social media channel they could find, like, you know, 24 hours a day.

  • I mean, why what?

  • Why, What is identity?

  • What?

  • You know what I really want to do is is from around the streets knocking on doors, trying to get myself selected from NPR.

  • What you say about the getting abuse and you didn't get it before, I usually just after I got elected, there was something on what basis?

  • There was one of these big protests in Parliament in Parliament Square.

  • Now there all the time.

  • But it was I forget what it was about a brand new MP, and I was walking across Parliament square with a colleague who is also a new MP at the time.

  • And you were strolling along, and as you said it, it was new, and people are hurling abuse at us and saying bloody politicians, you don't rule useless, useless politicians, useless MPs did it out of there.

  • And I said, You're a few weeks in.

  • It was you know, you're kind of like, Wow, that's quite you know, it's quite hard to take on Dhe, but I glanced at him and he was actually he was grinning and like he was really happy.

  • I was very surprised like that.

  • So I said to him like that, Jerry What?

  • Why?

  • What?

  • Did you hear what they're saying about us?

  • Politicians were not particularly flattering that What are you so happy?

  • And he said, reaching my dear boy, you have to understand I used to be an investment banker on DDE.

  • It was It's not clearly Noel, great, coming from finance.

  • But no, you you said, Well, why don't actually was my parents that motivated me to do it or not a political way.

  • I think you said my dad was a GP.

  • My mom was a pharmacist, and I grew up working in their surgery in the pharmacy, delivering medicines, toe people who couldn't get in to pick them up.

  • And people would always stop and talk to me about my mom and dad, right?

  • So they would also your Mrs Stewart, Exxon, your doctor Jackson.

  • And then they'd have some story about how my parents had help.

  • They're more their parent's or grandparent's or Children, and I thought that was amazing.

  • I mean, they have done the same job in the same place kind of a mile from each other for 30 years, and it was pretty clear that they as individuals, were able to have a pretty amazing impact on this community around us.

  • And you saw that whenever when someone came to say something and that I found very inspiring.

  • And that was really my motivation for becoming an MP was to be able to make that same difference in a community as well.

  • I hope I am able to do that in North Yorkshire.

  • And becoming a Tory MP was presumed because you'd studied economics.

  • Yes, the medicine route was unavailable to me.

  • Yeah, exactly.

  • But I said, it does give you.

  • I mean, you know, we we take it for granted.

  • But, you know, my dad was a doctor.

  • He had surgeries, MPs, we have surgeries.

  • I mean that that's what we do on that connection that you have with your constituents is often lost in all the debate in Westminster.

  • I mean, finding my predecessor is William Hague, and William would always it's a thing unique connection we have in this country that he be, It's, um, summit.

  • As foreign secretary, it's sitting there trying to resolve Afghanistan on Iraq or whatever crisis was going on at the time.