Stephen Hammond: Why I am backing Tom Tugendhat
The public is exhausted by excuses and the defence of the indefensible. Tom Tugendhat will offer our party a clean start.
The Conservative Party is choosing a new Prime Minister at a difficult moment for our country. At home, inflation and falling real wages are undermining our prosperity. Overseas, the UK faces the most severe security threats for a generation including the largest state on state war in Europe since 1945. The public has trusted the Conservative Party to protect our country from these threats at home and abroad. We have a responsibility to form a serious government of integrity and character to fulfil that trust.
Politically, the party also faces a dangerous situation. Our party’s reputation hangs by a thread. The public is exhausted by excuses and the defence of the indefensible. We urgently need to regain public trust.
Only a clean start can restore integrity to our politics and trust in our party. Together with colleagues from across the party, I believe it's time to elect Tom Tugendhat to serve as leader of our party and Prime Minister of our country.
Leadership requires courage, conviction, and integrity. At every stage of his life, Tom has served his country and institutions that embody those values. As well as serving our country in uniform in Iraq and Afghanistan, Tom worked at the heart of Whitehall advising the Chief of Defence staff and protecting our security. In some of the toughest environments in the world, Tom consistently delivered for Britain by demonstrating vision and leadership. He is a person of the seriousness, integrity, and experience to lead an effective Conservative government in the national interest.
At home, Tom will restore our conservative ethos of public service, make government work for people again, address the cost of living crisis, and build a competitive, low-tax, high-growth economy. Tom will deliver a ten year economic plan, including reversing the National Insurance increase but driven by long-term economic growth. He has the grip and leadership to drive government delivery on challenging priorities, like reducing waiting lists in our NHS. Overseas, he is already respected by our allies as a statesman and would lead the West in standing with Ukraine against Russian barbarism.
Recent months have been a bruising and divisive period for the party. The risk is that continued Conservative infighting will lead to a Labour victory at the next election. If we are divided, we will fall. Tom represents a new generation, untainted by the political wars of the last decade. He is a unifier, shaped by the military where what matters is not where you came from, but your character and values. Tom will bring this attitude to Downing Street, reunite our party around common values, and build a united Conservative government that can win across the country. It is essential for rebuilding public trust that we choose a leader unsullied by the events of the past year.
On Brexit, Tom is committed to getting Brexit right for our country. He is crystal clear that there can be no backsliding on Brexit. A new Prime Minister brings an opportunity to reset, rebuild trust, and finish the job on Brexit. Tom is best placed to take this opportunity. He is untainted by the acrimony of previous negotiations. He has years of experience of difficult negotiations, such as establishing the Afghan National Security Council. He is a tried and tested diplomat who is viewed with seriousness and respect by our negotiating partners.
I respect many of the candidates running from across the party. However I strongly urge my colleagues to give their support to Tom Tugendhat, the proven leader our party and country deserve. We need a clean start.
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