Nadhim Zahawi is a member of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee and MP for Stratford On Avon.
Since I last wrote this column, the British people have been offered a choice by the Prime Minister. It’s a choice of which leader they believe will be best for our country. It’s a choice of who can provide the leadership we need. It’s a choice between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn.
I am glad that the voters have been given the chance to have their say in the coming election, and I hope that May will be returned with the strong backing of the British people that she deserves and requires. As we face the next five years, it’s clear that we require strong and stable leadership. That means a calm, competent and capable leader at the helm; and she fits that bill better than anyone else. Every extra vote, and every extra MP will count. The voters know that, and I suspect they will back our Prime Minister up.
But this election is more fundamentally important than just providing our Prime Minister with the solid base she needs. I believe that Labour have insulted the British people by asking for their votes to put Corbyn into power after June 8th, and they must be held to account for this.
Corbyn is singularly unfit to hold the office of Prime Minister. And yet Labour have ploughed ahead with offering him up to the country. Their representatives and their candidates will be campaigning for him in towns and cities across our land, and delivering his leaflets – even if they refuse to show his face on them. For offering this option to the country, and for looking people in the eye and telling them that Corbyn should be Prime Minister, Labour deserves to be punished.
We should always remember that the first and foremost duty of any Prime Minister is to keep our country safe. Corbyn has said he wants to “close down” NATO. He has said he is against the replacement of Trident. He has said he is “not happy” about the police’s shoot to kill policy when faced with terrorists. He has talked glowingly about countries that have abolished their army.
Even worse than Corbyn’s naivety is that John McDonnell has been placed in the second most important position in the Shadow Cabinet. A man who the British people are being asked to elect as their Chancellor of the Exchequer. A man who posed with a list of “socialist demands on a Labour government”, that included disbanding MI5 and banning armed police. A man who said that “it’s about time we started honouring those involved in armed struggle” in Northern Ireland for their “bombs, bullets and sacrifice”.
Corbyn and his cabal do not have “different” ideas about what to do about the defence of our realm. It appears they wish to stop defending it, and hope that all the nasty people go away. It does not matter what your views are about other issues – if you cannot be trusted with our nation’s security, in a dangerous world where we face real threats every day, then you cannot be our Prime Minister.
We have all seen repeated terror attacks in Europe and many attempts to repeat such horrors in Britain. It is a testament to the work of MI5 and our brave police services that the terrible events in Westminster just a few weeks ago have been so blessedly rare. We have all seen Iran and North Korea attempt to bolster their nuclear programs. We have all seen Russia’s aggression increase on the world stage. We have all seen Assad gas his own people.
This is not a world for Corbyn’s utopian fantasy. This is not a world in which politics is a game. This is not a world where it doesn’t matter who your leader is.
The irony of this election is that so many of Labour’s own MPs, who will put their names forward for election in support of Corbyn, have already accurately described why he is unfit for the job. Indeed, many have tried as hard as they can to remove him. Most of his shadow cabinet resigned in June last year, and many campaigned against him in favour of Owen Smith. But the Labour party as a whole overwhelmingly backed their man two years in a row, and any Labour MP or candidate in the general election is now fighting for him to be Prime Minister.
This is a man who wants to lead us in a dangerous and difficult world. And the Labour party are telling us this is the best person they’ve got, the best person to embody ‘Labour values’ and who personifies ‘principles’ in politics. What the voters already know, is that anyone who is asking them to vote for this man to be their leader, is treating them with utter disdain.
Labour candidates will be going around the country for the next month, telling voters that Corbyn is the best man to lead our nation through these next five years. That’s a joke. It’s an utter delusion, it’s a denial of reality. Most of the candidates know it themselves, but they’ll keep on asking for Labour votes. The British people will realise they’re being insulted, and I hope Labour get what they deserve for it.