Julian Sturdy MP: Blue collar man Stephen Crabb should be our next PM

THE job of leading our country is an unenviable one. The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom must be incredibly bright, resourceful, thick-skinned, pragmatic, and able to sense subtle shifts in public opinion.

Work and Pensions Secretary is York MP Julian Sturdy's choice to be next Tory leader.

He or she must be determined, brimming with confidence, and capable of withstanding intense public scrutiny and pressure from the media on every issue which affects our country.

All of these qualities have been exemplified by David Cameron, who should now be considered as one of the finest statesmen that this country has ever seen.

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The position the country is now in, after only six years of David Cameron’s premiership, is far removed from the crisis-hit Britain, deep in recession, which he inherited from Labour in 2010.

Reform is never easy but we now have a strong economy, with our deficit running at only a third of its previous level, 1.4 million more students now in good and outstanding schools, and employment at record levels.

The effect of this dramatic rejuvenation has been felt right across the country; in my constituency of York Outer unemployment has fallen by 78 per cent, meaning it now has the fourth lowest level of unemployment across the entire United Kingdom.

It is always the case in Government that there is much more that needs to be done. After picking myself up from the disappointment of David Cameron’s decision to resign, my thoughts quickly turned to the future of our country.

Stephen Crabb might not be a household name yet, but he is a rising star in the Conservative Party from blue-collar roots and has the ability to be a fantastic Prime Minister and a real unifying voice.

From our Scottish cities and Northern towns right the way down to the South Coast, I believe that Stephen is the right person to speak to those who feel left behind by the leaps and bounds of globalisation that is dividing our nation.

He has always been a strong advocate of compassionate conservatism and is a true ‘One Nation Tory’.

His commitment and support for David Cameron’s ‘life chances’ agenda to increase social mobility, to give everyone equal opportunity and foster aspiration, is very welcome.

He is proud of his working-class Welsh background and I very much agree with his clear belief that work and education are the best route out of poverty.

Despite holding opposing views in the EU referendum – I was in favour of Brexit – I have been convinced by his long-term vision for the country in the wake of the close referendum result.

We must not forget that whilst Britain voted to Leave the European Union, 48 per cent of the country did not support this outcome.

The shock Leave vote was driven in part by the fact that large numbers of people feel we have an economy and society that does not work for them.

I feel Stephen Crabb fully grasps the epic scale of these challenges, and is best placed to reconnect with disillusioned communities and those people who have lost faith in politics.

And while the result of the referendum was close, the British people have decided that our future lies outside of the European Union in an historic democratic exercise.

Stephen has been clear that Brexit must ‘do what it says on the tin’, and that the will of the British people must be respected. This includes not compromising on gaining greater control over our borders in our exit negotiations with the EU.

We need an open and honest leadership election within the Conservative Party, and it is pleasing to see such a strong roster of candidates on the ballot paper.

As a party we are not afraid of debate and discussion, and I am confident that Stephen will outline a positive vision for the future of the United Kingdom.

Stephen is standing on a joint ticket with Sajid Javid, the Business Secretary, as prospective Chancellor. 
I have great respect for Sajid, 
who has one of the sharpest
minds in Westminster and 
great experience in business.

His strength of character
and expertise makes him an excellent candidate to be at
the helm of our country’s finances and together they can bring the Conservative Party back together.

As a team, I believe Stephen and Sajid would speak to the whole country and reconnect with the North whilst transforming Britain into the global, outward-looking nation that we now have the opportunity to become.

A tolerant Britain, a friendly and engaging partner to our European neighbours, and crucially one which will 
have regained control and reclaimed our independence from Brussels.

A Britain able to determine how many people come into our country, and free from imposition of European law – this is what the British people have decided, and it is a future which Stephen Crabb will be able to deliver as Prime Minister.

Julian Sturdy is the Conservative MP for York Outer.