I am, understandably, receiving many emails about the Conservative Party Leadership election.
Firstly, I appreciate the serious responsibility this gives to Conservative MPs, and to our membership. Changing the Prime Minister during a Parliament is far from unknown, and the usual constitutional rule applies - the Queen appoints whoever Parliament believes can carry the support of a majority of MPs. Our process to determine this is public, and has been known for some years.
I’m sure all who will vote will realise their duty is to choose the best person to be Prime Minister on behalf of all in the UK - a choice which must be confirmed or not in a General Election no later than 2022.
Secondly, my choice in the first round of voting this week will be for Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary. He has a strong background of experience to step up to the immense task of being Prime Minister, especially in the present circumstances. He started his own business and did well, he came into politics to serve in public life, and has held two of our most trusted positions - those at Health and in the Foreign Office. I have worked with him in both, and know him to be diligent, hardworking, upto speed with the facts, and capable of appreciating the pain and distress of the hardest of individual circumstances, from medical accident to hostage victims.
On Brexit I am supporting him because I believe him to be the Leader most likely to secure an agreement with the EU, to use his negotiating skills and experience to overcome the present impasse. He does not wish to see ‘no deal’ and believes it can be avoided, a position I wholeheartedly support, as my frequent public statements have made clear ever since 2016. Leaving with a deal is the best way forward, as I have regularly maintained.
We have many good candidates who have offered themselves for Leadership, and some excellent ideas put forward which I am sure will benefit the country as this Government moves forward.
I appreciate the views I have been offered. Only I have a vote at this stage. Conservative members will follow, and the nation as a whole will judge in time whether we have made the right choice.
If Mr Hunt is not one of the two candidates who go forward to the vote of members, I will be writing publicly on social media sites again.