5 July 2016

From the campaign: in support of Theresa May

By Brandon Lewis

In a political world where uncertainty appears to be have been at the forefront of the last two weeks, Theresa May has set out a clear and stable vision of how she will lead the country going forwards. She has made it clear that she respects the democratic decision of the British people to leave the European Union, and has put in place a clear plan as to how this will be implemented, including setting up a new Government department to oversee Britain’s exit. She has rationally laid out the arguments against an immediate invoking of Article 50, stating that’s it’s important that we get the right deal for Britain before triggering the Article. In doing so has shown a clear leadership to calm the speculation and turbulence of the financial markets, whilst reassuring the public that “Brexit means Brexit.”

Her record as Home Secretary for the past six years confirms that she is a safe pair of hands. She took on the might of the Police Federation, including how they were dealing with sensitive issues, such as domestic violent, and excessive use of stop and search among the black community. She reminded the police force that the “poison of decades-old misdeeds seeps down through the years and is just as toxic today”, earning the respect of the families of the Hillsborough disaster and the parents of Stephen Lawrence. Where consecutive Labour Home Secretaries failed for years to deport the dangerous Abu Qatada, Theresa flew to Jordan and negotiated the treaty that got him out of Britain for good. She brought efficiency to the police force and crime under her leadership of the Home Office continues to fall. Year on year, she has worked tirelessly to keep this country safe.

She understands that immigration is a real issue for the country and is clear that net migration to Britain needs to be reduced. And she has stated that there is clearly no mandate for a deal that involves accepting the free movement of people as it has operated up to now. It must be a priority to allow British companies to trade with the single market in goods and services – but also to regain more control of the numbers of people who come here from Europe.

Theresa is a lifelong believer in social justice, understanding, that if you are from an ordinary working family, life can be tough. She wants everyone from all walks of life to succeed. She actively champions equality for all, and has played a huge part in the Conservative Party’s ‘Women to win’ programme, which encourages more women to play an active part in political life. Having also been the first female Party Chairman, she knows the importance of the grassroots associations across the country, and has spent a lot of time in constituencies, fundraising, supporting local MPs, and meeting the members on the ground that make up the Conservative Party nationally. In that role she was the first one to have the courage to stand up and make all of us in the Conservative party take a good look at how we were being perceived, she is not afraid to tackle the difficult issues. She will do what is right, not what is politically expedient.

I first met Theresa when she was  Shadow Education secretary and what I recall form my experience then and her reforming work in government is how she was keen to explore new ways of doing things better, of improving the chances for people to have opportunity & great services. As a minister in recent years I have seen how she has shown a zeal for reform with her introduction of directly elected and accountable Police & Crime Commissioners; and her support for working to see better integration across our emergency services, to ensure better safety as well as efficiency for all people. I also remember when I was a candidate for the 2010 General Election when she visited my constituency in Great Yarmouth. Theresa was focused on what help I needed as a candidate to win and was happy to come out and knock on doors and chat to my residents about the vision a Conservative government can offer: chances for all. Her ability to cut through to the key issues, to communicate clearly and positively with everyone is striking at a time where too many simply do not. People understand what she outlines and know that she means what she says, and that she will deliver.

She would be a unifying figure across the party, but more importantly, the country. Her supporters already evidence that from people like myself, Justine Greening and Amber Rudd, through to David Davis, Chris Grayling and Nadhim Zahawi. She has chosen a leading Brexiteer to run her campaign for leader, and understands the challenges the country faces. She is determined for Britain to stand tall in the world, to maintain its position as an international global player, to encourage and foster better cooperation with not just Europe, but the whole world, and to ensure that the legacy of David Cameron of more jobs, more growth and a thriving economy is maintained. We face some tough negotiations, complicated ones in the months ahead at a time when national security is equally challenging and important. Our economy needs stability to allow it to grow and for that we need a Prime Minister with the experience and determination to deliver. Theresa May is a smart and intelligent politician who has that experience to take on the tough job as Prime Minister from Day One.

Brandon Lewis is the Conservative MP for Great Yarmouth. He is currently Housing and Planning Minister of State and a leading supporter of Theresa May.