Conservative Party Leadership
Many of you have written to me with your views regarding the Conservative Party leadership.
Yesterday, I resigned my neutral role as a party vice-chair so that I could publicly support a specific candidate.
Today, The Sun newspaper has published an edited version of my comment piece (and inserted a deliberately provocative headline) explaining why I am backing Michael Gove.
The link to the article is https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/9239908/michael-gove-prime-minister-bid-backed-kemi-badenoch/ and you can find my unedited version at the bottom of this email.
READY TO DELIVER: WHY I AM BACKING MICHAEL GOVE
Michael Gove delivered one of the most profound and significant policy changes the country has seen in decades. I came to Britain aged 16 from Nigeria. As a young black immigrant at an inner-city school, I saw how poverty of ambition left many young people from disadvantaged backgrounds on the scrap-heap.
I was lucky. I got two university degrees and had a successful tech and finance career.
But many of my generation weren't. I wish someone like Michael had been in charge of education back then.
My experiences led me to join the Conservative Party which represented my belief in social mobility - helping everyone reach their potential regardless of their background.
All politicians promise social mobility but Michael actually delivered social mobility for an entire generation - 1.9 million more children in good and outstanding schools. And rather than adopting the left-wing approach of reducing choice and prizes for all, he drove change the right way, through competition and raising standards. And he achieved all that in the face of the strongest unions, an uncooperative bureaucracy, and a sceptical public.
That's the sort of action I want from Britain's next Prime Minister.
What does improving education have in common with Brexit?
Well, we have an establishment who have been doing just fine out of the status quo, we have a civil service who would rather keep things done just how they always were, and we have vested interests whose incentives are to oppose and obstruct Brexit.
Whoever is our next Prime MInister must be ready to lead, not just jockeying for a cabinet post. They must be ready to unite our country and our party, not just promoting one Conservative faction or a wing. But above all they must be ready to deliver Brexit and a broad programme of change.
I've spoken to the main leadership contenders and heard interesting ideas. But talk is cheap. Anyone can make promises, many do. It’s no good just believing in Brexit, if you can’t actually deliver it.
If the Conservatives don’t get Brexit done before the next General Election we face obliteration, we will lose votes to the Brexit Party and Lib Dems, putting Jeremy Corbyn and the SNP into Downing Street. That would not only destroy any chance of leaving the EU, but put a revolutionary Marxist in charge of our economy, and give Nicola Sturgeon another chance to break up our country.
The question to answer is not who could best win an election against Nigel Farage, it is who can best deliver Brexit so we don’t fall into an election before we are out the EU.
I have seen Michael Gove achieve against the odds. In the Brexit Referendum, I watched him lead the Vote Leave campaign to win, against the odds, the biggest democratic mandate this country has ever seen.
I voted Leave and understand why so many people backed Brexit. It was because they had lost faith in democracy. It was to take back control and re-establish sovereignty.
But like most Sun readers, I’m a realist. I knew that after four and a half decades in the EU, breaking free wouldn't be easy.
I’m suspicious of anyone proposing simple answers - a second referendum, shutting down parliament until No Deal, a snap General Election, or an immovable Brexit deadline. If there were simple solutions they would have been tried already.
Brexit is one of the most complex things any Government will ever try to do in peacetime.
But getting it done is not just a matter of trust in politics. It’s about unleashing the full potential of this great country and giving everyone, regardless of their background, the opportunity for a better future. We have seen before a former education secretary, take charge of this country and leading it to a brighter future. She won against the odds in 1979, 1983 and 1987.
Let’s deliver Brexit so we can move on to fighting for the changes we need to make Britain an even better place. For me, Brexit was about giving a voice to the forgotten and unheard. That is what Michael did with his education reforms.
I know Michael Gove is ready to deliver, not just for Leave voters like me, but for our entire country.
That's why I am putting my trust in him.