Next week, the Conservative Party will be choosing a new leader. So what am I and my colleagues looking for when we decide who to back?
The first thing to recognise is that this contest will not be about choosing a leader for the next few months – it will be about choosing a leader who can take us forward as a party for the next decade. So we are looking for someone who can set out a positive and optimistic case for voting Conservative and revitalise the party by broadening our appeal and reaching out to new and younger voters.
We want someone who can take the fight to Corbyn on the economy and talk about why a Conservative government means more pounds in your pocket, a stronger economy and a brighter future for all.
Most of all we need someone who can demonstrate competence, drive and a track record of delivery. We are not choosing a campaigner to lead our party – we are electing a Prime Minister to govern our country.
It is for all these reasons that I am backing Matt Hancock to be our next Prime Minister. He has the energy, the drive and the determination to bring our party together and lead it forward into the future. Having worked with him in DCMS, I’ve seen first-hand his ability to grip a department and drive policy across government. And he understands the transformational impact technology is having on our society and has a clear vision for the kind of country Britain should be in the coming decades.
Most impressively, he isn’t just putting forward ideas to win a leadership election, he is putting forward the arguments that we will need to defeat Jeremy Corbyn at the next general election. He understands the urgent need for the Conservative party to remake the case for capitalism and free enterprise, and his message of “higher pay with the Conservatives not higher taxes with Jeremy Corbyn” will resonate with people across the country.
Of course, the most immediate issue facing Parliament and the Conservative party right now is the need to deliver the result of the 2016 referendum and leave the European Union.
Some have tried to reduce this leadership contest to a question of how people voted in that contest. But I think this is the wrong way to be approaching this because the most important thing is whether or not they will deliver Brexit.
Matt is the only candidate to have put forward a serious and credible plan to leave the EU by October 31. His plan restores our sovereignty, protects the economy and safeguards our Union – and most importantly, it doesn’t involve having an early general election that could risk putting Corbyn in No 10 by Christmas.
Matt has a plan for Brexit and he has a plan for Britain. He is the young and energetic candidate that our country and our party needs, and I back him to be our next Prime Minister.