James Cleverly is Chairman of the Conservative Party, and is MP for Braintree
This is an election we didn’t want to fight.
Since becoming Prime Minister, Boris Johnson’s mission has been to get Brexit done. Testament to that, he successfully negotiated a new deal that secured the majority support of a parliament that has repeatedly shown itself to be stubbornly – almost irrevocably – divided. Happy to agree on what it dislikes; less inclined to agree on what it does.
Against the odds, Boris’s deal removes the undemocratic backstop, ends the supremacy of the European Court and ensures we can determine our own tax and trade policies – freeing us to do what’s best for the UK. It even commanded a majority in the House of Commons.
But it wasn’t to be. Whilst voting for the deal in one moment, MPs then had a golden opportunity to come together in the national interest and deliver on the referendum result. Instead, they voted for more delay.
So while this is an election we didn’t want, it is an election we need. And which we need to win.
With a stable, working majority we will be able to break the Brexit deadlock and refocus our attention on issues that make a material difference to voters’ everyday lives. Legislation requires a majority and as things stand, we just don’t have the numbers to do what we need to.
For the last three years, the horsepower of Government has been constrained by the indecision of a hung parliament. A stable, Conservative majority will allow us to put to it work on the issues that voters repeatedly tell us matter most – such as schools, the police and our NHS.
And as much as Jo Swinson will try and persuade you otherwise, there are only two leaders who could feasibly be handed the keys to Number 10 come 12 December.
It’s no secret that Corbyn’s route to power entails a dysfunctional alliance with the Lib Dems and the SNP, secured by selling out Labour’s Brexit voters and subjecting Scotland to a painful second referendum on the fate of the Union. Two referendums in two years. Two ‘once in a generation’ decisions re-taken because our political leaders didn’t like the first result.
More dither as Corbyn delays making the difficult decisions Government entails.
Boris, meanwhile, has a great deal ready to go. We could be out of the EU within a matter of weeks. And we only need to win nine more seats than last time to get there.
This election presents voters with a clear choice: vote Conservative or vote for further indecision, confusion and delay.
CCHQ is fighting fit and ready to take this message to the country. East to West, North to South and right across England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, we have professional campaign managers working hard to return Conservative candidates. But this will be a hard-fought election and the path to victory is narrow. Winning and holding seats in today’s political climate is no small feat and the role of our activists and supporters has never been more important.
Because for all the talk of an election fought online, there is no substitute for feet on the ground. Canvassing, leafleting, calling. It’s not new and it’s not particularly glamorous. But it is absolutely crucial.
As Party Chairman it has been a privilege to meet associations and supporters up and down the country. Men and women who give up their time to advance the values at the heart of our party. In the context of an increasingly hostile political environment we must not forget how much a healthy democracy relies on those prepared to put their head above the parapet and stand up for what they believe. This election will be no different. Please do what you can.
The past three years haven’t been easy but we have reason to be hopeful. We have a strong message, a clear, deliverable plan and an energetic, optimistic leader who instinctively understands what the country needs. We have an ambitious agenda for Government. This starts with delivering Brexit but it certainly doesn’t end there.
Now is the time to pull together and get things done, once and for all.