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Leader's speech, 1949

Winston Churchill (Conservative)

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In this speech, Churchill condemned the Labour government for its indecision over the date of the next general election and called on it to at least name the month in which the election would take place. He then claimed the Conservatives were ready for a general election, and outlined their plans for the future. At the time of the Conference, Britain’s economy was in crisis, which Churchill pledged to overcome through cuts in state expenditure and lower taxes. He also promised to tackle unemployment by restoring enterprise and confidence, and to decentralise the state-run industries - road transport, coal, railways, gas and electricity, and air transport - which were losing money and placing a heavy burden on the taxpayer.

In his autobiography Edward Heath refers to this as ‘the ghastly party conference at Olympia in the autumn of 1949, known to be the last before the forthcoming general election and therefore held in London for publicity purposes, a miscalculation never since repeated’  (Edward Heath, The Course of My Life, Hodder and Stoughton, 1998, p.129-30). 

Owing to a copyright issue this speech has been removed. 

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