The contest for the leadership of the Conservative party is nearing the end of its first stage. At its start, it appeared that almost every Conservative Member of Parliament had thrown his or her hat in the ring. Before the formal process began, however, a number of candidates, such as James Cleverly and Sam Gyimah, decided to withdraw for want of significant support. Nevertheless, no fewer than 10 MPs submitted their names for the judgment of their colleagues.
At the time of writing, the field has been whittled down to six. Boris Johnson easily won the first round, finishing 71 votes ahead of his nearest rival, Jeremy Hunt. By securing the votes of over one third of the Parliamentary party, Boris has made it likely that he will be one of the two finalists to be put to the national membership. That is, of course, unless a large number of MPs decided to switch their support.
I am personally strongly supportive of Boris’s candidacy for leadership of the party. He is without doubt the most recognised and recognisable politician in the country. Like many strong personalities, he has his critics as well as his supporters. Nevertheless, I feel strongly that at this moment in our national history, he is the right person to lead the party and the country.
We stand at a pivotal point. The country voted in 2016 to leave the European Union, yet many Members of Parliament, having passed the EU (Withdrawal) Act, have incoherently decided to do their utmost to try to frustrate our departure. The people, unsurprisingly, have been appalled by the indecision shown by their representatives. They consequently punished both major parties at the European Parliamentary elections by switching their votes to the newly-formed Brexit party.
Boris understands the critical danger facing both the Conservative party and trust in politics and politicians. He has made it very clear that, come what may, the UK will leave the European Union no later than 31 October. He has, I believe, the force of will to ensure that. And that is why I am backing him.