The South West “can look forward to a brighter future” once the pandemic is over, Boris Johnson has said.


Speaking at the virtual South West Conservative Conference yesterday, the Prime Minister highlighted the government’s work to ramp up vaccinations and testing in the region while protecting jobs and supporting businesses through the pandemic.


More than 1.1 million people in the South West have now received a vaccine, protecting around one in five of the region’s population.


Mr Johnson said: “As our vaccine programme is rolled out across the country, and we see many thousands of people vaccinated each day, I am confident we can look forward to a brighter future.”


The PM said the Conservatives were pushing on with their headline manifesto commitments to boost the NHS, police and schools.


Eleven of the 40 new hospitals promised will be in the South West, while over 400 extra police officers have already been recruited in the region.


Mr Johnson also highlighted commitments to level up the country, create 250,000 green jobs and boost the defence budget, as well as the achievement of getting Brexit done with a new EU trade agreement worth £660billion.


There is more for the South West to look forward to, with the PM choosing Carbis Bay in Cornwall to host the G7 Summit in June.


“Cornwall is the perfect location for such a crucial summit,” said Mr Johnson, who was brought up on Exmoor. “I’m very much looking forward to welcoming world leaders to this great region and country.”


The South West Conservative Conference was attended by over 400 party representatives from across the region, including MPs, councillors, Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) and local election candidates, officers and members.


Cabinet members Dominic Raab (Foreign Secretary) and George Eustice (Environment Secretary and MP for Camborne and Redruth) were among the keynote speakers.


Other ministers to speak included Nadhim Zahawi (Minister for Vaccine Deployment and Minister for Business and Industry), Johnny Mercer (Minister for Defence People and Veterans and MP for Plymouth Moor View), Rebecca Pow (Environment Minister and MP for Taunton Deane) and Amanda Milling (co-chairman of the Conservative Party).


Several other South West MPs played leading roles, including Neil Parish (Tiverton and Honiton), Simon Jupp (East Devon) and John Penrose (Weston-super-Mare).


The five South West candidates for the PCC elections in May – Alison Hernandez (Devon and Cornwall), Mark Shelford (Avon and Somerset), Dave Sidwick (Dorset), Chris Nelson (Gloucestershire) and Jonathon Seed (Wiltshire and Swindon) – led sessions on local campaigning.

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