On 5 September the Conservative Party will announce the result of the election for its new leader, the person who will then become our new Prime Minister. For me, that has to be our Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss.
I have known Liz since we were university undergraduates at Oxford, and we both entered the House of Commons at the same time, in 2010. Over the years I have seen Liz grow into the leader she has become today, and know that she is someone who works hard, stands by what they say they will do, and delivers it. These are the qualities we need in a Prime Minister.
The economic aftershock of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the impact of the war in Ukraine on worldwide fuel and food prices, are causing household bills to rise rapidly. We have to recognise that people need help now to make ends meet this winter and this is the first concern we have to address. UK tax policy will do little to influence world oil and gas prices, but letting people keep more of their hard-earned money will help them pay the bills they are facing now. That’s why Liz Truss was right to call for tax cuts at the outset of this leadership campaign. Liz has pledged to cut bills for families, with a pause on energy levies, scrapping the National Insurance tax rise, and cutting corporation tax back to 19 per cent, helping to grow our economy and provide a much-needed boost to businesses. Producing more clean energy at home is also a way to help reduce energy costs and meet our national carbon reduction targets. Liz Truss supports, as I do, the development by Rolls Royce of small modular nuclear reactors, and I will continue to make the case for Dungeness as an ideal site for these.
Liz knows that we can make more of Brexit. We believe in the UK’s ability to chart a course as a successful, dynamic, and independent nation. We no longer need to kowtow to the EU’s rules, and Liz’s plan to repeal the EU regulations that don’t work for us by 2023 will ensure that we don’t.
Like me, Liz is committed to promoting home ownership. To deliver this we need to build more homes, which is why I have always supported important local developments like the new Otterpool Park Garden town. However, we also need to do more to help first time buyers to enter the housing market. That’s why Liz is committed to reforming mortgage rules and red tape that is holding back housebuilding.
Liz Truss has also committed to increasing our efforts to address migrant crossings in the Channel. We all want to see these end, and to stop the people traffickers who are profiting by exploiting vulnerable people and putting lives at risk. If the French government would let us work with them to patrol their coast and waters, together we could stop these crossings. However, until that point we must do all we can to protect life, and detect vessels crossing the sea, so that they are detained by the authorities as soon as it is safe to do so. Liz Truss has announced that she plans to increase the frontline Border Force by 20 per cent to help achieve this.