Rishi CAN put the country back on track: Home Secretary GRANT SHAPPS on why the future could be rosy for a Sunak government
You may have noticed something strange of late. The Conservative Party, bastion of common sense for a century, decided it was time for a mid-life crisis.
Like an ageing company executive who suddenly develops a taste for a Maserati, it started casting around for a new, jazzier look.
Hey, why not be a populist, nationalist party, promising all things to all men; or an ideological party, wedded to some off-the-shelf, ultra-free-market creed?
The symptoms are indeed strange. Take fiscal responsibility, the unglamorous idea that the nation should pay its way, balance its books and protect its international economic reputation.
This, during the last leadership contest in the summer, was branded ‘Left-wing’ orthodoxy. Cut taxes and everything else would simply fall into place, it was claimed.
The Conservative Party, bastion of common sense for a century, decided it was time for a mid-life crisis
Of course, cutting taxes is a thoroughly good thing, written into the DNA of the Tory Party – but you don’t do it by borrowing like a teenager let loose with their parents’ credit card.
And yet, the man who warned against this, Rishi Sunak, found himself being pilloried for sounding the alarm.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
The markets’ response to the mini-budget, and its disastrous effect on mortgages and pensions, should serve as a lesson to all Tories about what happens when you ‘do a Labour’ and start thinking there are easy fixes to complicated problems, like fostering long-term growth while lowering the national debt.
Sunak did an audacious thing during that leadership campaign: he told people what they needed to hear, not what they wanted to hear, even when he knew it might cost him the premiership. And this is why I am backing Rishi Sunak in this week’s contest.
You get the straight facts from Rishi; you get thinking based on cool analysis; you get the sometimes harsh truth.
But with all this you also get the solution. We get to calm down, put the leather driving gloves back in the sock drawer, and return to grown-up politics and economics. Growth grounded on a bedrock of sound finances. The mistakes of the mini-budget would never have happened under a Rishi administration.
But I’ll tell you straight, I am a fan of Boris Johnson. I helped him win the leadership back in 2019. And in office he proceeded to cut the Gordian Knot of Brexit, pioneered our speedy vaccine rollout and acted quickly to support Ukraine.
Grant Shapps: But I’ll tell you straight, I am a fan of Boris Johnson. I helped him win the leadership back in 2019
Boris, however, was not the man for this moment. After the tumult of the last year, we – and far more importantly the country – desperately require stability.
Much as I like Boris, we could not reasonably have had a prime minister who faces possible suspension from the Commons over Partygate.
We need to calm the situation, settle the markets and provide stable leadership. We have two years to regain the faith of the British people and put the country back on track.
We are drinking in the last-chance saloon. But in my view we can do this – and win the next general election. All we need is a straight shooter by the name of Rishi Sunak.
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