Cllr Jason Rust is the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Councillor for Colinton and Fairmilehead Ward on the City of Edinburgh Council and chairs the Edinburgh Conservative Council Group.
Serious times call for a serious leader. We are electing not only a Leader of the Conservative Party, but our next Prime Minister. Jeremy Hunt superbly fits the bill on both counts. A credible candidate with both business and high level political experience, who is respected not only on the international stage, but with a strong campaigning local track record. Thursday’s result in the MPs ballot shows that Jeremy is the key challenger for the post, and thoroughly deserves our wholehearted support.
There is much talk in politics about where candidates come from or where they are going towards. At a time of almost national paralysis, what actually really matters is what they are like now. With support from across the party and senior figures such as Penny Mordaunt and Amber Rudd, it is clear that Jeremy is seen by an increasing number of colleagues as the right figure to lead country and party.
Experience is of course vital. As Culture Secretary, he was responsible for the Olympics and Paralympics, considered a huge success internationally. Jeremy doesn’t duck or hide from view. As the longest serving Health Secretary in the UK, he faced many challenges, but he championed patient safety and pushed for technological change as the custodian of our NHS. He understands the need for investment in our public services, and that this needs to be tied to improvements for individual citizens.
On the European front, Jeremy will robustly defend the UK’s interest, not with bluster or buffoonery, but with diplomacy and tact. For more than a year, Jeremy has been our chief diplomat. As has been said before, making deals is in his DNA, and he will seek a deal which will unite the country. He is a proven negotiator, and will lead from the front. As Foreign Secretary, he has been talking to the leaders who matter, and he is in a strong position to leverage the relationships he has with European leaders in his current role. He is the best candidate to deliver Brexit with a deal and to unite the party.
He understands the loud and clear message that Scots do not want another divisive independence referendum foisted on us by a minority SNP Government at Holyrood, and was the first member of the Cabinet to rule that out back in March. Be in no doubt, Jeremy will fight not only to maintain our historic and precious union, but to strengthen the relationship between the four nations. He will also include colleagues from Scotland and Wales on his world-class negotiating team to agree a deal with the EU.
Representing a council ward with an army barracks, I am delighted with Jeremy’s support for properly funded armed forces and a decisive increase in defence spending. Jeremy is an internationalist who believes in a global Britain. That augurs well for our future trade policy.
Jeremy will broaden the appeal of the party and defeat the other Jeremy at the ballot box. He has serious plans for young people, and will demonstrate that when it comes to housing, climate change, mental health, and education that the Party is on young people’s side. Jeremy will reach far beyond our traditional base.
The pledge he is promoting for young entrepreneurs is particularity significant, given his own background as a successful entrepreneur and negotiator. Jeremy has a vision to fire up our economy post-Brexit, and would make the UK a most competitive place to do business with his pledge on Corporation Tax. He would focus on growth boosting policies and measures.
Jeremy would be the first Prime Minister in living memory to have fought and won a marginal seat. He knows what it is like for MPs, MSPs, AMs, councillors, and members to fight for every vote. He knows victory results from courage, professionalism, and hard graft, not shirking away from scrutiny.
Our country needs to move on, and with Jeremy’s leadership, we undoubtedly shall.