Nicholas Soames MP: Only Rory Stewart can sort Brexit, unite our Party and restore Britain to a position of respect in the world
Our country needs to solve Brexit and move on, and under Rory Stewart’s leadership, we shall, says Sir Nicholas Soames MP.
At this time of exceptional difficulty Britain needs an extraordinary leader. The challenges facing the next occupant of Number 10 will be immense: they must be able to deliver Brexit, unite the country and win the next election.
I have been a Member of Parliament for 35 years, a Privy Counsellor, a former officer in the British Army - and I am, above all, a loyal subject of the Queen. My grandfather, Winston Churchill, led the Government through Britain’s darkest hours: and he helped us to emerge victorious because he saw that in a time of crisis the only route to success is for the nation to be told the truth and to unite to meet a great challenge together.
As we commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day, we should look back from what we did then to help us solve the problems we face now. We need leadership.
I know that inside the Conservative Party, there are some who are making a different case. They have seen us crash to one of the worst defeats in the Party’s history, beaten even by the Greens into fifth place in the European elections. They have seen voters turn away from established Parties, understandably furious that promises on Brexit have been broken - and they think that the only thing that can be done is to respond to the rage by promising an ever-more extreme and irrational response. It must be stopped at all costs.
To leave without a deal would be madness. I believe passionately in Britain and I believe in the Conservative Party’s long-established duty to Britain. I believe that every country in the world must deal with every other and that there is no future in simply storming from the room and slamming the door and hoping that everything will be alright.
This approach offers nothing. We need to beat Farage, and we need to beat the Liberal Democrats and Corbyn’s Marxist wreck of a Labour Party by being better than them. Not by being afraid or by deluding and fooling people into thinking that we can do the impossible.
In my long years in public life, I hope I have genuinely acquired a sense of the real tests of leadership. It’s not often in our history they have mattered more. The choices we make now will define our country for a generation. We absolutely must stay united: as a Union of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and as a Union of patriotic people who are deeply proud of our country, of its freedoms, of its traditions, and the opportunities that it must offer to all. Our country and its people are too good to be wrecked by the shallow rage of Brexit.
Many of my colleagues are putting their names forward for leadership. They do so for the very best of reasons. They want to serve Britain. But of those who have come forward I can see only one person who stands well above the rest; someone who can sort Brexit, unite our Party and restore Britain to a position of respect in the world. That person is Rory Stewart.
Rory is the candidate who has the potential to win big majorities by broadening the reach of the Conservatives - appealing to young people, disillusioned ex-Labour voters and those crying out for decency and dependability – a man the voters can trust. Again and again, I hear the message – on social media, by email and in person – that Rory is the only Conservative that those disillusioned with politics and desirous of change will vote for. He is a man, as he has said, in the business of building bridges, not burning them; making friends, not enemies and telling it straight to the voters. Our country needs to solve Brexit and move on, and under Rory's leadership, we shall.
Sir Nicholas Soames is Conservative MP for Mid Sussex.