The next Prime Minister must be right for our time – a Prime Minister who embodies the Telford Spirit.
Telford is a post war new town, built on the East Shropshire coalfield, with a proud tradition of finding solutions to challenges, overcoming obstacles, and struggling to achieve the best we can, whatever the odds. Telford has never had it easy. The solution has been to think big, work hard and keep going. It has adapted to change, identified opportunities, and achieved through grit and determination. Telford, a town of opportunity and aspiration, where people come to build a better life, makes a success of the cards it is dealt, come what may.
This is the Telford spirit - the spirit I want our next Prime Minister to embody.
Many of the leadership contenders have been good to me. Many have worked with me to help Telford. Many are impressive individuals. But that is not enough to secure my support.
There is only one contender who is right for our time and right for our Country: Sajid Javid.
He has a record of success across the highest offices of State: Financial Secretary to the Treasury; Culture Secretary; Business Secretary; Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary; and now Home Secretary. At this critical time in our history, our country needs this depth and breadth of experience.
He is a West Midlands MP, originally from Rochdale, the only contender who can comfortably and naturally relate to everyone, right across the country.
He has tackled the difficult challenges that other ministers seemingly could not or would not grasp, both at Communities and Local Government and most recently at the Home Office: Integrated Communities, Grenfell Tower, the Windrush Scandal, the Migrant Crisis, and particularly his work on CSE and his commitment to victims. CSE is a sensitive issue. He has taken time to understand CSE and is not afraid to champion the cause, working with MPs on all sides of the House.
He has a steely focus and determination, attention to detail, diligent preparation leading to complete mastery of his brief, leaving nothing to chance.
He has a genuine personal touch. By way of example, when I became a candidate in 2013, he wrote to wish me well and offer his help. This was no empty promise. He visited Telford many times, getting to know the issues that mattered to Telford and mattered to me. He treated a young lad from Wellington, on work experience with me, with the same courtesy and respect as the major employer we were meeting. He remembered the youngster’s name on his next visit to Telford.
As Sajid rose through the ranks, his supportive approach to Telford and Telford people continued.
For example, when as Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, he launched my cross party parliamentary group for New Towns, (a low key event, no press in attendance), he diligently researched the issues, the audience, the other speakers, the order of play, leaving nothing to chance.
Sajid gets Telford. He understands the people I represent. He understands why Telford voted Leave. In my view, Sajid has always believed in Brexit. In my view loyalty to his then boss, David Cameron, left him conflicted during the 2016 Referendum. Sajid understands that loyalty and Cabinet discipline are essential for good Government.
He has a genuine passion to do the best for our Country, a passion sometimes obscured by his professionalism and resolve – both much needed qualities in any leader.
Sajid embodies the Telford Spirit. He is right for our time and right for our Country. I am supporting Sajid.