British politics moves at an unbelievable speed these days. As soon as last year’s general election was over, we were straight into the Labour leadership election. Then the ‘Battle for Britain’ in the EU referendum began, during which we saw the most unusual in-fighting and alliance building. Now that the public have voted to leave the European Union, the country faces two more big battles: the Conservative Party and Labour Party leadership elections.
I can barely keep up with the events of the Conservative leadership election. We have all known that Boris Johnson and Theresa May were going to stand for the top job for the last few years. They both command a lot of respect from within the party and have the relevant experience – as former London Mayor and Home Secretary – to be Prime Minister. This is also the case with Dr Liam Fox and Andrea Leadsom. Dr Fox is a former GP and Civilian Army Medical Officer and has the experience of previously being Defence Secretary for a few years. Leadsom has worked in the financial sector for a number of years and has been a minister in both the Treasury and the Energy Department.
Other candidates putting themselves forward include Michael Gove, Stephen Crabb, Jeremy Hunt and Nicky Morgan. Mr Gove is a man of true conviction and will always have my upmost respect for being a radical reformer and putting the country first before party politics or being popular. The other three candidates all have good backgrounds and experience for the top job, but would find it more difficult to command a wider public appeal outside the party, which is of course vital to winning future elections.
One potential candidate of whom I have been disappointed to see barely any mention is Priti Patel. She is on the right-wing of the party and was one of the main stars of the Vote Leave campaign. Mrs Patel was born in London to a Ugandan Indian migrant family and in her younger years helped them establish a chain of newsagents in South-East England. Priti was educated at Keele University and the University of Essex. She worked for Conservative Central Office for a while and was a public relations consultant and lobbyist for a number of years. In the past, she was involved with the Referendum Party before switching to the Conservatives. She has been the MP for Witham since 2010 and has since been a Treasury and then Employment Minister, serving in the Cabinet.
Whilst I may be biased towards Priti because she also studied at Keele University, she displays the kind of rare integrity and conviction that is hard to find in many of our national politicians. She has always put our country and the best interests of future generations before party politics or any personal career ambitions. As we saw during the referendum campaign, she is willing to publicly criticise people who are out of touch with the lives of ordinary people. She is a great example of how hard work and dedication can increase your life chances.
With under an hour left until nominations close, I would like to take this opportunity to encourage Priti to put her name forward for the leadership. This country needs a strong national leader who can unite the Party and the country and secure the best possible post-Brexit deal for working people. The British public are sick and tired of the same old elitist, Establishment lot running this country and are crying out for change. We need someone who has the courage of their convictions, is a true patriot, and will fight to build a better future for our young people.
This person also has to be a parliamentarian who was part of the Vote Leave campaign. Otherwise we risk undermining getting the best exit deal from Brussels and the British public not feeling as if their views are being represented. I believe that with her high level of experience a constituency MP and government minister, in the world of business, and as a mother, would make Priti well-placed to rise to the challenge of being our next Prime Minister during the exciting, but challenging times ahead.
If Priti does not stand, then I will be endorsing either Boris Johnson, Michael Gove or Andrea Leadsom for the leadership as they would all be able to appeal to the wider public. I would encourage whoever wins to give the talented Priti Patel one of the main offices of state in recognition of her abilities as a minister and campaigner.