North West Conservative MEP Sajjad Karim took time out of his busy schedule to give a talk to 75 party members at a cocktails and canapés fundraiser.
Held by the Clitheroe Branch of Ribble Valley Conservative Association at the home of Ribble Valley businessman Kevin Horkin, Mr Karim spoke about a range of issues including the recent military intervention on humanitarian grounds in Syria, Brexit and the threat posed by Labour under Jeremy Corbyn.
In a very forthright and honest talk to Conservative members from the Ribble Valley, South Ribble and the Hyndburn Conservative Association, he made clear his support for military action on humanitarian grounds and expressed his gratitude towards the Armed Forces pointing out the danger they faced.
He stated: “We have been facing a tremendous challenge and we ought to be extremely grateful to the men and women of our Armed Forces who stood up for humanity on behalf of the United Kingdom. They faced a real danger on our behalf and may have to so again. Our thoughts are with them and we hope and pray whenever they are called to do their duty on behalf of the United Kingdom they remain safe and that they know we remain completely behind them as they face this peril on our behalf.”
Mr Karim, who lives in Simonstone, then went on to talk about what he dubbed, “The B Word - Brexit!” He said: “We are currently negotiating and navigating a very complex minefield. It is a situation that requires a tremendous amount of attention to detail, but also patience.”
His support for the Prime Minister, Theresa May, was unequivocal. He stated: “I am giving my complete support to the Prime Minister as she negotiates this very difficult minefield ahead of her. Doing this we have to manage this process in a way to deliver the UK leaving the UK in a graduated fashion." He warned: “To think that we can just do this all in one go I am afraid is going to deliver consequences that are going to impact on our economy and elsewhere that are going to be incredibly difficult to face and manage.”
He further continued: “What I think the more sensible approach to this is what our Prime Minister is trying to do which is to make sure she does this in steps which means there needs to be patience and understanding from all those who voted for Brexit.”
He concluded his comments on Brexit by saying: “We are where we are and I say that in the frankest way possible. So, we are going to do this in a graduated fashion - that’s the bottom line.”
He left his comments regarding Jeremy Corbyn until the end stressing the need for party unity and loyalty. He robustly stated: “Jeremy Corbyn as PM and his lot with their hands on power - the way that will come about is if people like me do not show loyalty to our Prime Minister and if our political party is disunited. I could never forgive myself if those circumstances came about because I have not shown the loyalty that was required. The interests of the United Kingdom and the interests of the Conservative Party are completely aligned and it is only if we are completely united that we will not put this country at peril.”
Coun. Ged Mirfin, deputy chairman of the Ribble Valley Conservative Party, said: “This was an extremely powerful speech from Saj, which went down extremely well with Conservative party members who attended the fundraising event and his view was thoroughly endorsed by people in the room. We do not see enough of Saj because he is so busy, but I look forward to inviting him to more events like this in the future.”