Elena Bunbury is Director of Operations for 1828 and Vice Chair Communications for LGBT+ Conservatives. Ali Fazel is Secretary of University of Birmingham Conservatives and Chair of Birmingham Conservative Policy Forum (CPF).
Young people are becoming more and more liberal, whether it be the natural progression of young people being more socially accepting, or the desire held amongst most to keep hold of more of their first few pay cheques in the adult world.
Coming from the liberal background of Mayor of London, to fully submerging himself in the move away from paternalism, Boris Johnson seems like the clear choice for two young Tory liberals. However, there is a reason we have both made the #SwitchToHunt.
At a time when we face so much political uncertainty, attempting to enact the will of so many people in the turbulent time of Brexit, we need clear, strong political guidance. We need someone we can trust to carry out such a politically sensitive task. This person is Jeremy Hunt.
Coming from a background of entrepreneurship, Jeremy is just the candidate we need to get the deal done. He is no stranger to tough negotiations, but also possesses the diplomacy which has been so lacking throughout this process. Make no mistake, the new Prime Minister will be the one to enact Brexit, and that will be the legacy they are left with, but can Johnson really be trusted to do so?
Initially our views leaned towards him; he was the man of Brexit. It was all he had spoken about for over a year, and it led to his resignation. However, his inability to state his plan left us both with doubts. Time and time again Johnson has been asked about his plans for leaving the European Union, something which Theresa May has shown is incredibly difficult. However, the closest he has got to a clear outline is no more than cheap soundbites without actual substance.
The real turning point for us was Hunt’s well laid out ten-point plan, which stated not only his intentions to leave, but also crucially his plan on how to do so. He showed that although he may have been quieter on the subject, he was just as passionate, if not more prepared.
We are approaching a general election, and for the sake of our party, whose reputation is dwindling, we not only need to make sure Brexit is a success, but that it unites not only our party, but the entire Union.
Recent polls by YouGov have shown that amongst the public, Hunt is considerably more popular with 41 per cent declaring him their preferred successor, compared to a mere 29 per cent backing Johnson. It’s essential that party members vote with prudence. A general election is looming, and we need to ensure we put forward the candidate who is nationally respected.
Pushing entirely towards a No Deal Brexit, as Johnson proudly promotes, cannot be the only option. We not only have to think of the people who voted Leave, but also the people in our fantastic Union who will be impacted every day because of it. Hunt has spoken passionately about the need to reach a deal for the sake of the unity of the Union, but he has also made it clear he has not taken No Deal off the table. This is yet again another sign of his career in business, a smart negotiator knows you do not take cards off the table until forced to do so.
It is time to yet again inspire the nation to get behind a leader who they can trust in, a leader who they feel confident will change their lives for the better, and with Johnson’s continually politically insensitive language and offensive outdated comments, he is not the person to do so. He lacks the integrity to be open and honest about his controversial past and voting intentions. Instead we are met with a series of poor attempts to dodge questions, mixed with a pantomime bravado which could overshadow any journalists’ attempts to reach integrity from him. What Britain needs now is not a showman, it’s a statesman: that’s why we believe it #HasToBeHunt.
It may seem odd that we have switched to Hunt. As explained, our liberal policies do fall more in line with his opponent’s. However, that shows the crossroads we have reached. That we are so fearful of a Johnson leadership, and yet more divisiveness and underhand comments, that we have put policy aside for the sake of backing someone honest, experienced and – most importantly – trustworthy.
We want to fight an election on policy and trust. Trust in our leader, trust in our plan, and trust in our great nation that Hunt speaks so proudly about. Unlike his opponent, he is not just defined by Brexit. Bear in mind that, once we leave the EU, we need dynamic leadership, someone not afraid to have the robust debates to fit our generation’s policy agenda. Only Hunt seems to understand that.
Therefore inevitably, we are proud to have made the switch to Hunt, because we want a prime minister who isn’t afraid to debate, doesn’t have baggage and, most importantly, will get the job done.