Alok Sharma on why he is backing Theresa May for Prime Minsiter
THE RESULT of the Conservative Party leadership
election will affect everyone in Britain,
because party members are not only selecting
a leader, but a new prime minister for the UK.
This is a special trust we hold on behalf of everyone
in our country.
Following David Cameron’s dignified decision
to stand down, our country now needs strong,
proven leadership to steer us through. To negotiate
the best possible terms for our withdrawal
from the European Union (EU) will demand
leadership that unites every community. I am
convinced that Theresa May is the person to
provide that leadership – that is why I am giving
her my strong support in this election.
The new prime minister will face some daunting
challenges, but I know Theresa has the experience,
determination and ability to make a
success of what lies ahead. She has real experience
from the private sector and fantastic experience
at the very top of government and she will
command respect in capitals across the globe
from Delhi to Dublin, from Brussels to Beijing.
Maintaining a strong economy, which allows
businesses to start, grow and thrive, will be essential.
Small and medium-sized enterprises are
the lifeblood of our economy, providing livelihoods
and the security of a regular pay packet to
millions of people across Britain. To get the best
deal for them as we leave the EU, we need a
prime minister who is a tough negotiator. We also
need someone who understands the role government
can play in helping businesses to thrive.
May has made it clear that if there is a choice
between further spending cuts, more borrowing
and tax rises, the priority must be to avoid tax
increases. That way people will have more money
in their pockets to spend in our economy, allowing
businesses to grow and invest.
As well as economic security, our country’s
national security must be protected. The recent
spate of appalling terrorist attacks around the
world, which have cost so many innocent lives
and wrought misery for so many, show we need
strong leadership is to keep us safe.
No one is better qualified than May to provide
that leadership. For over six years she has been
our home secretary – the cabinet minister responsible
for leading the fight against terrorism
and protecting our national security. She is now
the longest-serving home secretary since Victorian
times. She has shown in this demanding
job, which has been the undoing of many politicians,
that she has the determination and grit
needed to stick at a task and deliver results.
As home secretary, May has also used her position
to help fight against exploitation and
abuse of power and stand up for the victims of
crime and oppression.
Conservatives will always be firm upholders
of the rule of law and strong supporters of our
police in the difficult job they do, but where
there is abuse or corruption, we must be equally
firm in rooting it out.
May has taken action to tackle the abuse of
police stop-and-search powers, which disproportionately
affect young members of BAME
communities. She has been the outstanding
home secretary of modern times in tackling police
corruption wherever she finds it. From the
Stephen Lawrence case to Hillsborough – she has
fought for justice and won the respect of victims.
She has shown her compassion for people in
difficulty by her work to tackle the scourge of
human trafficking – rightly known as modern
slavery. She passed a Modern Slavery Act to
tackle this abuse and exploitation. And she has
worked to make our immigration and asylum
system fairer, more efficient and more humane.
Theresa is motivated to work hard in the
country’s interests by a strong sense of public
service. Being brought up as the daughter of a
local Church of England vicar and remaining a
practicing Anglican, Theresa is rooted in Christian
values. She respects the good that is done by
faith groups of all denominations.
This is at the heart of her ‘One Nation’ politics
– her sincere belief that we need to build a country
that works for everyone, not just the wealthy
and privileged. Britain has to be a country where
everyone, of any background, can aspire to do
better than their parents’ generation and have a
happy and fulfilled life. May knows that government
isn’t a game, but a serious business that
has real consequences for people’s lives.
Over the past year, I have worked in the Cabinet
Office, I have seen how many complex issues
and detailed decisions any prime minister has to
deal with. It takes an individual with a rare set of
skills to be a successful prime minister.
Having known Theresa May for many years, I
believe she has not only the experience but the
character and temperament to lead our nation
and be a great prime minister. She would work
tirelessly for all of us and Britain would be safe
and prosper under her leadership.