I’m absolutely delighted, as the father of 2 daughters, that the next Prime Minister will be a woman, and a Conservative woman as well. It’s all very well teaching your daughters that there are no barriers and that they can achieve whatever they want with hard work and talent, but throughout their short lives they have only ever seen a man in 10 Downing Street. Obviously they have heard their Dad telling them how great Margaret Thatcher was – but to them she is as remote a historical figure as Clement Attlee is to me.
My choice for leader is easy. Whilst I supported Brexit I do not think it is necessary for the new PM to have been on the side of Vote Leave. It is far more important that she is experienced, tough and capable of forming a Government and getting on with the job as soon as David Cameron steps down.
Theresa May has held one of the 3 great offices of State for 6 years. She has accepted the result of the referendum and has promised to deliver Brexit. She is ready for the top job and she will have my vote. She will be a fantastic role model for my two girls as they grow up.
I have been elected as the Deputy Leader of the Conservative Group at Elmbridge by my fellow councillors. It’s a great honour and I am delighted.
We are the largest group on the Council with 22 members but we do not have a majority. The combined Residents’ Associations’ councillors and the Liberal Democrats have formed a coalition and have taken control of the Council. The Conservatives now form the opposition after 10 years in office.
Most people assume that Elmbridge is safely Conservative. It is not, and that is a good thing for local democracy as people have a genuine choice and their votes can make a difference. We must now provide a constructive and focussed opposition to the new administration. We will not oppose for opposition’s sake but we will robustly hold them to account if they are not acting in the best interests of our local residents.
The next elections to Elmbridge will be in May 2018 (when my own term will come to an end). Between now and then we will be recruiting a team of hardworking local people to be our candidates in our target seats. For far too long we have allowed our opponents to claim that we are “not local” and “beholden to the national party”. We are in fact all local residents who want the best for our community and band together under the Conservative flag to deliver that service. We have 2 years to get that message across and the work starts now.