This referendum campaign has been a particularly divisive and exhausting one. Its binary nature pitted families and friends against each other on the question of membership of the European Union. We have all shared platforms with people we normally fundamentally disagree with.
It is precisely for this reason that we need – perhaps more than ever – a Prime Minister who can unite our country, strengthen the United Kingdom and lead our journey to create a more liberal, more global and even more prosperous future.
In my mind, it would be foolish for our next Prime Minister not to have supported a Leave vote in last Thursday’s referendum. But I want to make it very clear. This should not translate into the creation of a ‘Brexit’ government. In my mind, this would be the wrong thing to do.
Our next government must be one that unites the country. It is absolutely imperative that we have a unifying voice in the negotiations once Article 50 has been triggered. This necessarily means compromise. We must carry the 48% of people who voted to Remain with us and ensure strong workers’ rights and social protections.
Just as important the UK government must listen and take into consideration the views of Scotland and Northern Ireland. Whilst the United Kingdom voted as a whole to leave the European Union, each of the four component and very distinct parts of the UK makes us the vibrant family of nations we are. In my mind, joining the Single Market would not be in the UK’s long term interests. But that does not mean that Scotland and Northern Ireland’s voices cannot be heard loudly in the representations of the UK delegation. They absolutely must.
Up until this point in the article, I have rightly spoken of the huge challenges and opportunities facing our country. But the outcome of the leadership contest of the Conservative Party will have huge ramifications on our ability to rise to these challenges. Whilst it is always right that country comes first before party, in this specific situation, the two are partly connected.
In leadership contests, politicians are often hesitant to nail their colours to any one mast to ensure their candidate isn’t a sinking ship. Thankfully, I’m neither a politician nor have these reservations.
I strongly believe that Andrea Leadsom is the right candidate to be leader of our party but more importantly the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Throughout the referendum campaign, Andrea provided the positive, forward-thinking and liberal voice that many Leave supporters called for. Moreover, it was a message that reassured the fears of many Remain supporters. Her performances were powerful and her tone has been positive.
Leadsom’s career in finance before entering politics will give our negotiations a genuine sense of experience at the top. Her liberal, global and open vision for Britain will reassure our allies and friends around the world that they haven’t lost a powerful advocate for free-trade and international cooperation. Her moderate and respectful tone during the referendum campaign will make her the unifier that our country desperately needs.
I’m not yet certain that Andrea will even run. But I hope that she does. Our country needs a new direction. Our post-referendum politics needs someone who can unify us around one clear vision: a bright, safe and prosperous future for the United Kingdom.
*These are the views of Connor Donnithorne and do not represent the corporate view of CWF.
Connor Donnithorne is studying Politics and International Relations at Bristol University, and was born and still lives in Cornwall. His politics centres around one important ideal: that the individual should be given the freedom and the opportunity to make the decisions that shape their lives. Follow him on Twitter