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CONSERVATIVE CONFERENCE: LORD PARKINSON RALLIES TORIES WITH LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTORAL SUCCESS

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Extracts from a speech to the annual conference of the Conservative Party in Bournemouth today by outgoing party ch...
Extracts from a speech to the annual conference of the Conservative Party in Bournemouth today by outgoing party chairman Cecil Parkinson:

'The Conservative Party has begun to win again.

We have won two by-elections - our first for a decade.

There are nearly 350 more Conservative councillors than there were a year ago and we are picking up council seats week in week out right across the country.

So these reforms to the Party over the last year are not an end in themselves.

They are all part of the process of rebuilding and re-invigorating the Conservative Party; part of the task of re-establishing our roots in the mainstream of British public opinion.

This conference should be in no doubt that Britain needs a strong Conservative Party.

Just look at our achievements in government.

The Conservative Party is ready for the battle to save our electoral system.

We will oppose whatever system or cronies' compromise the Jenkins Commission suggests.

We will put our case with conviction and with clarity.

You know, when I first heard of Roy Jenkins' appointment to chair the commission into voting reform I thought that given his problems with pronunciation it was rather unfortunate to say the least to have put him in charge of words like proportional and representation.

But then come to think of it, there could be no more suitable subject for a man who doesn't know his Rs from his elbow.

The Conservative Party has a busy year ahead.

This is the year we can show that we have changed.

This is the year we face our most significant test - local elections, elections to the Scottish parliament and the Welsh assembly, and the European elections.

This is the year we have to prepare for a battle to save Britain's electoral system.

This is the year our recovery will begin.'

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