We’ve been let down by two Remainer leaders – we can’t risk a third
Publication: The Times
By: Priti Patel
Date: 9th July 2019
This week Conservative Party members face the same choice as they did in 2016: Leave or Remain. Leaving the EU is the defining issue of our time and there must be no more disrespect for the 17.4 million people who voted for Brexit on June 23, 2016. We must now do the right thing for our country and for our party.
Boris Johnson has repeatedly committed himself to Brexit by October 31, with or without a deal. He believes in Brexit, led the campaign for it, voted for it, has heroically campaigned for the Brexit decision to be implemented and even had the courage to resign as foreign secretary rather than see Brexit emasculated by the Chequers “deal”.
He has promised to ditch the government’s dreadful withdrawal agreement, accelerate preparations for our departure at the end of October and to offer the EU a comprehensive free trade deal, something it offered us in March 2018 and which the government unwisely turned down. The EU wants a deal as much as we do and while the terms are being negotiated we can agree with them to have zero tariffs and a temporary moratorium on regulation.
Jeremy Hunt, on the other hand, voted Remain in 2016, supported a second referendum, said that a no-deal Brexit would be “political suicide” and that October 31 was “a fake deadline”. He was part of the cabinet that supported Theresa May’s discredited withdrawal agreement at every stage and that made the appalling decision to invite Jeremy Corbyn into No 10 to discuss Brexit, needlessly giving the Labour leader a platform which he exploited to the full without ever having the slightest intention of helping to resuscitate the lame-duck agreement.
The nation is looking for an inspirational new leader who will have the courage and determination to see Brexit through and who can get the country back on course. And that person is Boris. Only he will have the fortitude to prevent Brexit being derailed by the anti-democratic MPs who openly seek to obstruct and overturn the referendum result despite, in many cases, having stood for office on a manifesto that pledged to deliver Brexit.
And let us not forget that 80 per cent of these MPs voted for Article 50 back in 2017, starting the process of us leaving the EU and making no deal the fallback position if the EU were to give us a shoddy deal. The only thing that has allowed them to hold sway for so long is weak leadership in No 10 — something Boris will change.
Our political class lacks confidence in our country and has consistently and blindly opposed this unprecedented opportunity for parliament to take back the power to properly govern our country, preferring to have our laws made and our destiny decided by the EU.
With an optimistic leader in No 10 who believes in Brexit and who understands that it was hope, not fear, that fuelled that historic vote in 2016, these unreconciled Remainer MPs will rapidly realise that they only have one way of stopping Brexit: revoking Article 50. They can dominate the airwaves, play their parliamentary games and take control of the House of Commons timetable all they like. But ultimately, unless they’ve got the courage and the votes in parliament to revoke Article 50 and unless they start being honest about the fact that they want to reverse Brexit, everything they do is pointless.
The sooner we smoke out this minority of game-players who don’t have the spine to tell voters what they really think of them, the sooner we can get on with leaving the EU and uniting to govern the country. But this simply won’t happen if the Conservative Party chooses another Remain-supporting prime minister.
Jeremy Hunt claims he is a born-again Leaver but he has insulted Leave voters by calling them Little Englanders. Be in no doubt, when he says he wants to “deliver a Brexit that works for the 48 per cent not just the 52 per cent”, he means he will resort to his established predilection for can-kicking.
He will waste more time fiddling with Theresa May’s botched deal, which has been rejected by parliament three times, locking us into another uncertain period of “groundhog May”, destroying our party in the process. We have been down this road before and it is time for decisive change.
Our last two Remainer prime ministers were brought down by Brexit and, for the sake of the country and the party, there must not be a third. It is time we were led by a Brexiteer — the alternative is unthinkable.
The choice is clear for members. Who offers the genuine commitment and belief to deliver Brexit by October 31: Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt? When the Conservative Party governs the country through clear conservative principles and is in tune with the hopes and aspirations of the law-abiding, hard-working majority, it is at its strongest.
Boris Johnson is the only candidate who can get us out of the EU and face down Corbyn’s divided shambles of an opposition and lift our standing in the world as the forward-thinking, self-governing, global-trading nation we all know we can be.