Local MPs explain who they are backing to be next Prime Minister
10th July 2019
More than 2,000 Conservative party members across Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge and the wider West Kent area will be voting over the next two weeks to choose a new party leader and British Prime Minister.
The leadership election has come down to two hopefuls to replace Theresa May: former London Mayor and Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, and current Foreign Secretary and former Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt.
The two men are competing in a series of hustings across the country to convince the nation’s 160,000 Conservative party members to choose one of them to be the next Leader of the Party.
Whoever wins will automatically become the next British Prime Minister.
Ballot papers went out last weekend to around 2,500 Members of the Conservative and Unionist Party in the West Kent region—the only members of the British electorate who have a say on who will be the next PM.
The candidate achieving more than 50 per cent of the national vote among party members will be declared leader and will be tasked with taking Britain out of the European Union with or without a deal.
Members have until July 22 to make their decision and choose a new leader.
Bookmakers have Boris Johnson as the clear favourite with members, offering odds of 1/9 on him succeeding Theresa May. Jeremy Hunt is 6/1.
Local MPs for the region have spoken to the Times to explain who they are backing for the job and the reasons why:
Greg Clark, Conservative MP for Tunbridge Wells and Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said that while Theresa May ‘tried her best and worked incredibly hard ‘to achieve a breakthrough’ a change of personnel was ‘the right thing to do.
He added he was supporting Jeremy Hunt for three of reasons:
He said: “First, I believe he has shown, as Foreign Secretary, the ability to build good relationships with other world leaders – skills which are vital to negotiate a good deal.
“Second, Jeremy as someone who has been an entrepreneur, recognises and respects the importance of business in providing the jobs and paying the taxes for the public services on which we rely.
“Third, having known Jeremy for nearly 15 years, I know for certain that he is a man of integrity and dedication who would be a Prime Minister we could trust.”
Nus Ghani, Conservative MP for Wealden has also come out in support of the current Foreign Secretary.
She said: “I’m backing Jeremy Hunt for the leadership.
“Brexit needs proven negotiating and ministerial experience on the world stage.
“Both the party and country need unifying, positive and bold plans to harness the opportunities of Brexit for all our communities.”
Tom Tugendhat, Conservative MP for Tonbridge & Malling remains cautious about backing either candidate at the moment.
He said: “I voted for Michael Gove in the parliamentary rounds of the contest, but unfortunately he didn’t make it to the final two candidates.
“Throughout this contest I’m listening to everything Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson have to say.
Of course, I have just the same vote as every other Conservative Party member and like many members I’ve spoken to, before casting my vote, I’m looking forward to hearing more about their vision for the country to address the issues we all face.”