17 June 2019 | OPINION
Our Party and our country stand on the edge of a precipice and whilst there are some within the ranks of our membership who believe our electoral fortunes can be solved with a quick shot of political Viagra, I believe we need to approach this leadership election seeking a candidate who has the ability to negotiate a Brexit deal and who also has a long-term vision to challenge the prevailing political ethos, which is why I am backing Jeremy Hunt.
Our starting point to be able to restore the Conservative Party’s reach with the wider electorate must be to deliver on Brexit. Whilst I applaud the spirited debate that has ensued so far throughout the contest, I despair at the prospect put forward by some that the only answer to the Brexit deadlock is either to walk away at one extreme or go back to the electorate via a citizens’ assembly at the other extreme. Both of these options are the wrong approach. Whilst Britain has spoken and, almost 3 years to the day, Britain is still waiting for Brexit to be delivered, we need our Government and our next Prime Minister to take a lead.
Only Jeremy Hunt has shown any form of credible plan to ensure that Brexit is delivered and he is the only credible candidate with the skill at negotiation to make other European leaders come back to the table and engage.
As a starting point, Jeremy will clear out the failed technocrats, take a European Union approach and send a fresh new team of politicians to the negotiating table to hammer out a solution to the Northern Irish backstop which has so harmfully divided our Party. Jeremy’s instinctive belief in democracy demonstrates his belief in Brexit, but more importantly his life’s work as a negotiator and an entrepreneur make him the right leader to be able to unite a divided Parliament, make the European Union negotiate and fully prepare our country for the opportunities which lie ahead as a more outward-looking and global nation.
Throughout this whole contest, one thing my fellow Conservative Party members should not lose sight of is that it is not all about Brexit. It is also about the Conservative Party redefining a narrative with the public to prevent a disastrous and ruinous Labour Party from wreaking havoc with our economy – Venezuelan style, and that is why Jeremy Hunt is more perfectly placed than other candidates in the field to meet this challenge and restore our political credentials with the public.
Jeremy is a man across all departments and – unlike the other candidates – has a fully costed coherent plan to grow the British economy and get public services moving again. His pledge to cut corporation tax to Irish levels will make Britain the most pro-business economy in Europe and will ensure Britain’s Foreign Direct Investment continues to grow, raising our stagnant GDP. This is the most holistic way we will find more money for our public services – such as the NHS – and still be able to cut taxes for ordinary hard-working people, all things that the Conservatives want to do.
The last thing we need as a Party at this juncture is a general election, but from this point onwards we need to be preparing for one with an eye on 2022. We need to start by overhauling our campaigning reach, and as the only candidate in this race to have turned a marginal seat into one that now has a 21,000 majority, this proves Jeremy Hunt knows how to win. He is the obvious unity candidate, not just for our Party, but for the entire Country, as shown by his eagerness to deliver a Brexit that works for everyone, including the 48% who voted to Remain.
Jeremy’s natural ability to bring people with him and take on board the views of others shows he will able speak to all parts of the United Kingdom. He will appeal to people from all backgrounds and age groups, widening the Party’s appeal, defeating Corbyn and ensuring the prosperity and security of this great Country.
For the first time in our history as a political party, we are being asked not just to pick a Party leader, but also the next Prime Minister of our country. This requires us as Conservative members to ask who the best person for the job is. To do this objectively, we have to look at the realities of the candidate’s records and not be blinded by empty rhetoric or façade. Over the last year, Jeremy has been a first-class Foreign Secretary campaigning hard for British interests, and has proven to be a true statesman and patriot; someone who believes in Britain and will deliver in the national interest.
With a background in business and nearly 15 years in politics, Jeremy has the experience of negotiation needed to make him the right person to fight our corner against the EU. Beyond Brexit, his economic vision is ambitious – encompassing all of the opportunities a global Britain can be. As a Young Conservative, I am inspired by Jeremy’s vision and I am confident he will restore the fortunes of our great Party, but more fundamentally I also believe he will lead our country out of the EU and towards a more prosperous future to reclaim our position on the global stage.