Our next leader will have to help Ukraine defeat Vladimir Putin, achieve the delicate balance of spurring sustainable economic growth whilst tackling rampant inflation, and deliver on the people’s priorities: investing in public services, cutting taxes, and unleashing the UK’s potential.
If the Conservative Party is to succeed and beat Labour at the next election, we will need a leader with an optimistic vision for the future and a laser focus on delivering to win the trust of the British public.
Like many party members, this was not a contest that I wanted. Although, by the end, I sadly concluded Boris Johnson’s premiership had become untenable, he remains an extraordinary politician with a proud record of delivery that cannot be easily replaced.
I supported Kemi Badenoch’s leadership bid in the early rounds of voting in Westminster. She was brave and refreshing and promised to govern as a true Conservative.
When she was eliminated, I voted for Liz Truss in the final round of voting to determine which two candidates would go through to the party membership. I have since stood back and listened to both candidates.
Both love their country and would make a capable Prime Minister. But only one has a clear plan to help lower bills for families and businesses, cut taxes and grow our economy. And unless we achieve this and tackle the cost-of-living crisis, we cannot win the next election.
I therefore firmly believe that Liz Truss is the best person to lead our party and country.
Throughout her time in Government, Liz has proven that she is tough and can deliver.
As Foreign Secretary, she stood up against Vladimir Putin and took on the European Union to change the Northern Ireland Protocol.
As Trade Secretary, she grasped the opportunities of Brexit to sign new trade deals. And as Chief Secretary at the Treasury, she demonstrated commitment to low tax and sound public finances.
Liz Truss has repeatedly proven that she can get the job done and can be trusted to deliver on the Conservative Party’s winning manifesto.
She has been clear throughout her campaign that her Government will emphasise Conservative values by lowering taxes and spending taxpayers’ money wisely: scrapping the National Insurance Tax rise will help restore voters’ trust; cutting corporation tax and removing EU red tape will encourage companies to invest and grow our economy; imposing a moratorium on green levies will lower household energy bills; and increasing our defence spending to three per cent of GDP will show Vladimir Putin that Britain will not back down.
It’s a bold and optimistic agenda that I believe will unite our party and deliver for our country.
It’s also a break from the Treasury orthodoxy and business-as-usual approach, which I fear will see the Conservative Party lose the next election.
Because make no mistake, while Keir Starmer may be less radical than Jeremy Corbyn – the man he tried to make Prime Minister – his administration will undo Brexit, break up the United Kingdom, and put taxes up permanently.
Starmer cannot form a government without the support of either the Liberal Democrats or the SNP. Indeed, he will probably need both if he hopes to take the keys to Number 10 at the next election.
The price of their cooperation will almost certainly be a change in the electoral system and a second independence referendum.
Proportional representation of the type favoured by the Liberal Democrats would usher in a permanent era of out-of-touch progressive coalitions and break the local link between MPs and their constituents. Under PR politicians would be answerable to their party first and not their constituents.
Allowing the SNP to dictate a second independence referendum would reopen old wounds and risk the end of the United Kingdom.
It would break Sturgeon’s once-in-a-generation promise and waste months, if not years, on constitutional debates instead of politicians focusing on the problems facing families and businesses.
When I cast my vote in the leadership election, I will be voting for the one candidate who can beat Starmer, Sturgeon, and Davey in the next election.
Liz Truss is relatable, optimistic and determined to deliver – it’s why I’m backing her and I firmly believe the country will too in 2024.