They say a week is a long time in politics, but the last five days has been remarkable. Last week, Liz Truss announced her resignation as Prime Minister as it became evident that she could no longer command the support of Conservative MPs following a volatile period since she became Prime Minister.
While her policy direction had broad appeal to Conservative Party members, the speed with which she wished to act led to adverse reactions in the financial markets, which with hindsight demonstrated that the mini-budget went too far, too fast.
The need to restore market confidence became a political necessity during such a challenging time for the country, which is why it was critical that the leadership contest was conducted as quickly as possible.
Having declared my support for Rishi Sunak both this summer and last Friday, I was pleased to see him elected swiftly yesterday as Leader of the Conservative Party and our next Prime Minister.
Rishi was the best candidate with the experience, skill and aptitude to lead the Country through the international crises, the cost-of-living crisis, restore market confidence and take the difficult decisions to meet these challenges decisively, while commanding support across the Conservative parliamentary party.
I am confident that Rishi will be backed by MPs to deliver his programme in Parliament and will swiftly now build a team of talented, experienced Ministers to serve in his government. He is best placed to rebuild trust in the Conservative Party and deliver our ambition to make our country a fairer and better place to live. I am pleased that so many of my Parliamentary colleagues publicly declared their support.
We have many challenges to face, both at home and abroad. We have over two years until the next General Election, which is due by January 2025. When I surveyed South Shropshire residents in the summer, it was clear that among swing voters who may not have supported the Conservatives in 2019, Rishi Sunak was a popular candidate. Recent by-elections in North Shropshire and local Shropshire Council wards are a stark reminder that we as a party must regain trust amongst the electorate, not just among core Conservative voters.
As a party and a country, we can’t go backwards, we have to move forward. With a clear majority in Parliament, there is a huge opportunity to deliver on the public’s priorities: from helping fund energy costs and tackling inflation, to making it easier for people to afford their own home and improving both our economic prospects and the environment in which we live.
With a responsible approach to balancing the public finances, a Rishi Sunak led Conservative Party will focus on delivering the 2019 manifesto, while recognising that the tumultuous events which have occurred since, notably the impact of the pandemic and now war in Europe, will impact on the pace of what can be delivered.
With strong leadership under Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, I am confident that we shall swiftly return to providing the country with the stability and decisive sound judgement the public deserve.