Cabinet minister electrifies Tory conference with rendition of Milton speech

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Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab (left) and Attorney General Geoffrey Cox (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

A Cabinet minister electrified the Tory party conference with a booming rendition of a John Milton speech ahead of the Prime Minister’s address.

Attorney General Geoffrey Cox brought Tory activists to their feet in the main conference hall in Birmingham after quoting lines from Milton’s 17th century Areopagitica speech to Parliament.

Mr Cox was drowned in applause as he called on the party to unify behind Theresa May and allow her to deliver the “prize that millions voted for” in the referendum.

“The Prime Minister will not flinch from her duty,” he said.

Theresa May
Mr Cox was the ‘warm-up’ for Mrs May (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

He added: “As a lawyer I have negotiated many agreements over the years and as Dom (Raab) has said, I know that the nature of the negotiation is – with apologies to The Rolling Stones – that you can’t always get what you want.

“We have to be grown up about it and we have now reached a critical moment.

“I am convinced we must resolve to put aside our differences and unite behind the Prime Minister to ensure that the decision of June 23 2016 is not set at nought by those who would have us remain with the European Union.”

He added: “So let us say with Milton: Methinks I see in my mind a noble and puissant nation rousing herself like a strong man after sleep, and shaking her invincible locks.

“Methinks I see her as an eagle mewing her mighty youth, and kindling her undazzled eyes at the full midday beam.

“Ladies and gentleman, let us seize that prize.”