Until now I have remained undeclared concerning my backing for the new leader of the Conservative Party, however, I believe that Boris Johnson’s visit to talk to party members in Surrey today is a suitable occasion to make my assessment public.
Firstly, let me say how pleased I am that the Parliamentary party has presented the choice between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt to party members. The choice is between two leaders who have astonishingly different skill sets, but both are, by any normal standard, brilliant. Whoever wins, Boris or Jeremy, they will need our full support. And whoever wins, we will need both to work together to lead our country out of the current Brexit crisis and establish and present Britain’s global role in the future and the type of country we will be at home.
Boris and Jeremy are on board with the essentials of that agenda and I am very supportive of it. A socially liberal society, that takes up its responsibilities for the disadvantaged at home and works to enable all to enjoy the opportunities that Britain has to offer. Globally, we will be a nation that remains generous and responsible, upholding the international rule of law and human rights, working with all nations in our remarkable global network of relationships to sustain global security from threats from climate change to hostile ideologies and authoritarian rulers.
My choice is to endorse the convention-challenging mercurial brilliance of Boris Johnson. He has already demonstrated the gift to paint a vision with words to inspire people with an optimistic hopeful view of Britain’s future and the global opportunities available to our remarkable nation. His leadership of London, a great global city, presented a positivity about London and his London policy agenda made his administration effective and capable of re-election. Much of its effectiveness was about his enabling of his team of deputies to pursue the detail in their respective areas of responsibility. An ability to delegate and lead a team he has already shown. It is the depth of the crisis posed to the Conservative Party and to our national self-confidence if we can’t navigate our way out of the current Brexit trap that calls for creative thinking and a mastery of words and ideas to inspire. That’s why Boris is my choice to lead us.