I have just been to Buckingham Palace for an audience with Her Majesty The Queen to mark the dissolution of this Parliament. The 2015 Parliament is now at an end, and in 36 days the country will elect a new Government and choose the next Prime Minister. The choice you now face is all about the future. Whoever wins on 8 June will face one overriding task: to get the best possible deal for this United Kingdom from Brexit. And in the last few days, we have seen just how tough these talks are likely to be. Britain’s negotiating position in Europe has been misrepresented in the continental press. The European Commission’s negotiating stance has hardened. Threats against Britain have been issued by European politicians and officials. All of these acts have been deliberately timed to affect the result of the general election that will take place on 8 June.
By contrast, I made clear in my letter to the President of the European Council invoking Article 50 last month that, in leaving the European Union, Britain means no harm to our friends and allies on the continent. We continue to believe that no deal is better for Britain than a bad deal. But we want a deal. We want a deep and special partnership with the European Union. And we want the EU to succeed. But the events of the last few days have shown that - whatever our wishes, and however reasonable the positions of Europe’s other leaders - there are some in Brussels who do not want these talks to succeed. Who do not want Britain to prosper. So now more than ever we need to be led by a Prime Minister and a Government that is strong and stable. Because making Brexit a success is central to our national interest. And it is central to your own security and prosperity. Because while there is enormous opportunity for Britain as we leave the European Union, if we do not get this right, the consequences will be serious. And they will be felt by ordinary, working people across the country.
This Brexit negotiation is central to everything. If we don’t get the negotiation right, your economic security and prosperity will be put at risk and the opportunities you seek for your families will simply not happen. If we do not stand up and get this negotiation right we risk the secure and well-paid jobs we want for our children and our children’s children too. If we don’t get the negotiation right, if we let the bureaucrats of Brussels run over us, we will lose the chance to build a fairer society with real opportunity for all.
The choice the country faces now is very simple. Because there are only two people who can possibly be Prime Minister after the 8th of June to negotiate Brexit. It is a choice between me – and Jeremy Corbyn. With me you will get strong and stable leadership, and an approach to Brexit that locks in economic growth, jobs for our children and strong finances for the NHS and the country’s schools. Or you will get Jeremy Corbyn with a hung parliament and a coalition of chaos. Britain simply will not get the right Brexit deal if we have the drift and division of a hung parliament.
And so with Jeremy Corbyn negotiating Brexit we will all pay a high price. If instead you want the best negotiation for you and for Britain, then you must make your vote count. Every vote for me and my local candidates in this election will be a vote to demonstrate that unity of purpose. Every vote for me and my local team will strengthen my hand when I negotiate for Britain in Europe. Every vote for me will mean we can get on with delivering my plan for a stronger Britain. For while the opposition parties look to refight the battles of the past or to paint a vision of the future that is filled with despair, I am ambitious for Britain.
Because I believe our best days lie ahead. I believe that with dedication and hard work, we can make a success of Brexit, have confidence in our country and stand tall in the world once again. I believe that we can build a stronger Britain, where our economic progress is secured and prosperity and opportunity is shared around the country.
I believe we can build a stronger economy that rewards all those who work hard, and creates secure and well-paid jobs for our children and our children’s children too. I believe we can build a fairer society with real opportunity for all, where everyone has the chance to get on in life – where every child gets a good school place and working people can buy a home of their own.
I believe we can build a more secure and united nation by taking action against the extremists who seek to divide us, and standing up to the separatists who wish to tear our country apart. And I believe these simple values and aspirations are shared by ordinary working people everywhere – and that they can bring this nation together as a result.
For as we face this critical time for our country – five years that will determine the course of this United Kingdom for generations to come – we must do so together. With a unity of purpose to make a success of Brexit and to build a stronger, more secure country too. So in the weeks ahead, I will travel to all corners of this United Kingdom with a positive vision for Britain and a determination to earn your vote. And I will do so with a clear message: If, like me, you believe in Britain. If, like me, you want our country to succeed. If, like me, you believe in putting division behind us, in looking to the future and getting on with the job of building the stronger, more secure country that we need.
Then fix your sights on the future, and in this unique and crucial election for our country. Give me your backing to lead Britain. Give me your backing to speak for Britain. Give me your backing to fight for Britain. And give me your backing to deliver for Britain.
A stronger Britain, where our economic progress is secured and prosperity and opportunity is shared by all. A Britain that works, not just for the privileged few, but for every single one of us.