This was always meant to be an election about Britain’s place in the world. It was meant to be one dominated by Brexit and about how a ‘newly independent Britain’ would find itself. Over the last few weeks it has become something else as Britain has found itself in the crosshairs of Islamist terrorism.
And that for me is a key reason why I simply cannot countenance Jeremy Corbyn becoming my Prime Minister on June the 8th. Mr Corbyn has spent more than 30 years in the House of Commons and during that time he has consistently voted against anti-terror legislation, consistently voted against giving our police the powers they need to keep us safe, and has on many occasions sided with those who would do us harm. It is worth remembering that when the people of Manchester, of Warrington, of Brighton were bombed during the Troubles Jeremy Corbyn was inviting the IRA to tea. To this day he cannot manage more than a mealy mouthed condemnation of all bombing; to this day he simply cannot abandon an organisation he has spent his whole career defending.
Jeremy Corbyn has spent more than 30 years in the House of Commons and in that time he has consistently voted against anti-terror legislation
This is more than just a politically-motivated ‘Tory smear’. It wasn’t the Telegraph or the Daily Mail who critiqued Corbyn in the 1980s on his links to the IRA; it was the Guardian. It wasn’t Margaret Thatcher who called it disgraceful when he invited the IRA to the Commons; it was then-Labour leader Neil Kinnock.
This is important. It demonstrates a clear lack of judgement, one which he has demonstrated since being Labour leader, and long before during his three decade-long career as an MP. It is the same lack of judgement which led him to call Hamas and Hezbollah, organisations proscribed by the UK Government and avowed anti-Semites, his friends. It’s the same lack of judgement which led him to deny the existence of ethnic cleansing in Kosovo.
But I won’t be voting Conservative on June the 8th simply because Jeremy Corbyn’s judgement is questionable, but because Theresa May is a politician who has demonstrated both good judgement and courage. She had the courage, in 2002, when she was party chairman, to hold a mirror up to the Conservative Party when she called it the nasty party. She had the judgement when she understood that backing gay marriage was a step in the right direction and into the future for our country and my party. And she had backbone when it came to fighting modern day slavery and in coordinating both a root and branch review in the light of police corruption and racism, putting her at odds with the police federation.
It is on standing up for Britain that I really trust Theresa May
Since becoming PM, Mrs May has demonstrated her judgement and courage – whether it has been in responding to Terror on our streets or in her response to what she sees as the burning injustices of our time. She has shown an ability to be firm and at times unpopular whilst proposing policies which will in the long term deliver results.
She has shown a boldness in tackling social care in a way which understands that whilst you have an ageing population whose wealth outstrips that of the young then a sustainable social care system which delivers intergenerational fairness must involve wealthy pensioners paying for their care. With the quadrupling of the amount that pensioners get to keep if they go into residential care from 23k to 100k this is a system that is both firm and fair.
But it is on standing up for Britain that I really trust Theresa May. I trust her ability to face down the greatest global challenge of our age: the combatting of Islamist terrorism. I trust her ability to tackle the greatest domestic challenge of our age: delivering Brexit. Since the referendum she has sought to figure out why the voters ignored politicians like her and backed Leave. She understood the concerns about immigration and she understood the calls for sovereignty. She knew that simply remaining in the single market and keeping EU law and freedom of movement wasn’t what the people voted for. But she also understands she has to make the deal of her life to try and secure the future health of the British economy and our place in the world. Theresa May understands that we are one of the worlds’ largest economic powerhouses, one of its great military powers blessed with some of the finest minds and armed forces the world has to offer, and she negotiates with that in mind.
She has the support of the entire Conservative Party… Jeremy Corbyn has the PLP tearing itself apart
Theresa May has shown her ability to negotiate and gain the approval of a rather rebellious Parliamentary Party. If she can succeed there where so many have faltered I wouldn’t bet against her on Brexit! And that is one of the starkest contrasts between her and her counterpart. She has the support of the entire Conservative Party and all of the 1922 committee pulling in the same direction; Jeremy Corbyn has the PLP tearing itself apart. If 172 of his own MPs haven’t got the confidence that he could lead this nation, then why on earth should you?
I’m not saying Theresa May is perfect and this campaign has certainly not shown her strengths but I wouldn’t want to wake up to anyone else as Prime Minister on June the 9th.