As June 23rd approached with the polls showing the EU referendum in the balance I was struck by the realisation that we could be witnessing the final chapter of David Cameron’s time as Conservative Leader and Prime Minister. Having led us to our first parliamentary majority since 1992 just last May, David Cameron has ultimately served less time as Prime Minister than John Major, the man who delivered that last outright victory twenty four years ago. Given the contrasting fortunes of Cameron and Major during their time as PM this is quite remarkable.
For me the prospect of an Osborne v Johnson leadership run-off following the referendum was wholly unappealing. While both are undoubtedly talented politicians I didn’t believe that either would have had the broad national appeal required to deliver a satisfactory result at the next General Election. As a Scottish Conservative I feared that the party risked appearing as a public school old boys network, and once again alienating the voters that Ruth Davidson and The Scottish Conservatives had worked so hard to return to the fold for the first time in a generation at May’s Holyrood election.
In this uncertain post Brexit Britain one of the positive outcomes of the referendum and its aftermath was that it has extinguished the leadership ambitions of both Osborne and Johnson. The less positive outcome was that the Leaver/Remainer tribalism carried over to the leadership race. I voted remain but firmly believe that the result must be respected and the will of the British people must be carried through. What the UK needs now is a strong, experienced leader, capable of achieving the best possible deal in the EU exit negotiations while at the same time uniting our divided country and steering us through the economic and constitutional uncertainty which is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.
Step forward Theresa May, having spent 19 years as an MP and the past 6 years as the longest serving Home Secretary in over 60 years she was a formidable candidate and one that will be ready to serve from day one. The assertion that the next PM had to be someone who supported Brexit was wide of the mark. The people have spoken on the question of the EU and the notion that only a Brexiteer could negotiate our exit from the EU was preposterous.
David Cameron’s brand of one nation Conservatism has produced 6 years of successful government amongst the most challenging economic circumstances in the lifetime of all but our oldest citizens. Theresa May will protect that legacy and provide much needed stability. This was not the time for our party to veer to the extremes as Labour has done: this would almost certainly have cost us the 2020 election.
Unflappable and steadfast as Home Secretary, Theresa May will make an excellent Prime Minister and with the backing of 198 of her colleagues in the parliamentary party she was the only candidate who could unite the party and lead the United Kingdom as the country takes its first bold steps outside of the European Union.
Graham Hutchison was the Scottish Conservative and Unionist party candidate for Glasgow Southside at the 2016 Scottish Parliament election. A lifelong Conservative and Edinburgh resident, Graham is currently employed as an Accounting and Valuations Manager with one of the UK's largest financial institutions.