Victoria Prentis is MP for Banbury.
When I announced my support for Rory a week ago, he seemed a real out-rider. But there is energy and enthusiasm building behind his campaign.
Over the weekend, the great and good have been coming out in his support. I’m pleased that Ken Clarke, one of our best post-war Chancellors of the Exchequer, is impressed by Rory’s fiscal conservatism. David Gauke, in whose Department he served, supports him because of the way he handled the difficult prisons’ brief. Nick Soames admires Rory’s record in national security that stretches from his public service in the Balkans and Iraq to his chairmanship of the Defence Select Committee.
But what has impressed me has been the reaction of those outside Westminster. So many of my constituents have got in touch to say I have chosen the right candidate. Rory has demonstrated an ability to connect with a broader electorate and the younger generation in a way that it seems others can’t.
The home-made nature of his campaign doesn’t seem to put people off; his video on Brexit has been watched by 1.7 million people over the last two days, and his ideas for adult social care are trending on Twitter. The public senses that his style of listening and getting things done is completely different to that of anybody else in the race. And as the contest goes on, it’s increasingly clear that he is the candidate who can win back the voters we need to win the next general election.
The main reason to support Rory is that he stands for everything that I believe in. His values are my values. He believes in the Union, and rightly puts the environment at the top of the agenda. He does not support HS2. He knows we must deliver Brexit, and quickly. He will be strong in negotiation and, importantly, able to communicate the results and the plan to the wider public. And at a time when we all understandably feel anxious about the future, it’s critical we choose a leader who we can trust to be honest with us.
But this isn’t just about principles; it’s also about winning. His message and his approach will go down well in Banbury and Bicester. He appears to appeal to both urban and rural voters. I do not want a Corbyn government, and I believe that Rory is the best person to get Brexit done and win the 2022 election.