The leadership context is now underway. I am incredibly proud that such a broad range of candidates – reflecting our diverse nation – put themselves forward. All of them have great strengths and would have brought their experience and qualities to Number 10. Both of the two remaining candidates would be good leaders for our country.
But in choosing who I supported, the question I asked myself is who is the best person to lead us through the challenging years ahead, with the once in a generation spike in inflation affecting many people – pushing up prices at the shops, in household bills and at the petrol pumps. Who has the experience, grit, judgment and skills to chart us through the next few years? Who is a serious politician for these serious times?
In considering the answer to these questions, I have chosen to support Rishi Sunak. know that the main concern for many people right now is the cost of living and this means that the next Prime Minister needs to be someone who knows how to run the economy and has a track record of delivery.
During the pandemic, Rishi showed that he was capable of delivering – setting up the furlough scheme in three weeks, saving over 11 million jobs. In fact, the International Monetary Fund described his pandemic response as “one of the best examples of co-ordinated action globally”. And over the last few months he has shown he is capable of delivering on the cost of living too – identifying policies which are targeted, clearly thought through, well evidenced and backed by analysis.
But importantly, I am supporting Rishi because I trust him to be honest with the public about the choices facing us. I trust him to take serious decisions based on serious evidence. I trust him to exercise fiscal responsibility and to act with integrity and decency, and I trust that in doing so he will deliver for our country.