We were very fortunate to have the Secretary of State for International Development Priti Patel speak at our Association dinner at Nizels.
A capacity audience enjoyed a two course meal followed by a wide-ranging speech by Priti covering the recent General Election, the current political situation, Brexit and her own department.
Priti said we are stronger when we are united party and we need to be confident in conservatism and fight for conservative values. On Brexit she said we should be confident in our country and what we can achieve unshackled from the EU. Concerning her own department she explained she was taking a tough approach into cracking down on waste and that £1.2b had already been saved to be spent in better ways. She was being tough in closing programmes that did not meet the standards we had set and expanding payments by results. She explained the best way to help developing nations was a handout not a handout - to help support local businesses and employment.
Priti spoke for a long time and then took questions from the floor until every question had been answered.
Despite the poor General Election result and the tough time the Government are having in Parliament, Priti really pepped up the whole audience with her positive approach and I think everyone who was there went away with a spring in their step and huge admiration for Priti. She certainly is one of the stars of the parliamentary party.
The night was rounded off with an auction and the obligatory raffle and we all then went home to reflect on a very successful evening.