Mon, 15 July 2024

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Jeremy Hunt is the only candidate I would trust to lead us out of the EU and unite our party

4 min read

Jeremy Hunt is the only candidate who has the experience and ability to square this circle, unite the party, and take the fight to Jeremy Corbyn, says Robert Goodwill MP. 

There are two lessons to draw from this week’s disastrous European election results. Firstly, that the country remains as divided as it was when we held the EU Referendum. And secondly, unless we are happy to see Jeremy Corbyn in Number 10, we cannot go to the country until we have delivered on our promise to leave the European Union.

Most people agree with this analysis, but many then seem to disregard the Parliamentary realities when working out what to do next. Despite what many, myself included, believe, this Parliament will not allow us to leave the EU without a deal. Something the Speaker all but confirmed on Tuesday. Trying to force through such a plan inevitably leads us to the General Election that we are all agreed we should not have. 

So, what we need now is a Prime Minister who is a proven negotiator, tough enough to face up to those realities, that the EU will do business with, and who can actually deliver a deal that takes us out of the EU, that Parliament will agree to. 

That leader needs a dynamic, reforming, and entrepreneurial Conservative vision that will unite the party and the country behind them and stop the Marxists from ever taking power.

That is why I’m backing Jeremy Hunt to be our next Leader and Prime Minister.

He is the only candidate who has the experience and ability to square this circle, unite the party, and take the fight to Jeremy Corbyn.

Now is not the time to indulge in the fantasy that the lofty rhetoric of newspaper columns translates into serious deal making on the world stage. 

Nor should we entertain the idea that simply stamping our feet and annoying our European neighbours delivers anything more than a nice soundbite.

We need a PM who is respected by world leaders and who has a credible plan to resolve the paralysis we find ourselves in.

Jeremy’s plan for a new negotiating team that commands the support of Parliament and his credentials as a leader with a track record of delivering on tough negotiations means he’s the right person for the job.  

The junior doctors said they wouldn’t back down. And yet they did. The Treasury wasn’t interested in fulfilling the £350m a week NHS referendum pledge. And yet they did. The common factor? Jeremy Hunt. No other candidate has a delivery record like that. 

London 2012 for instance, was an incredible example of delivery, determination and eye for detail that brought the country together and projected a positive, open and upbeat vision of Britain abroad. As Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Jeremy was responsible for that and I believe he can do the same again in these challenging circumstances.

As a Whip, Immigration Minister, Minister in the Department for Transport, and now as the number two at DEFRA, I have worked closely with a number of the leadership candidates. And there is only one I would trust to lead us out of the EU and unite our party.

Other candidates might not like dealing in cold hard facts but do they really want to lead us into a general election on a platform of broken promises? If not, they need to be clear about what they would do differently beyond wishing for a deal. If they can’t do that, then they aren’t credible candidates for the role.

We have very little time to negotiate a deal that gets us out of the European Union and gets us back on the front foot.

When it comes down to it, I know who I want in that negotiating room fighting for our interests and that’s the current Foreign Secretary.


Robert Goodwill is Conservative MP for Scarborough and Whitby.

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