Chichester’s MP announces who she is backing for Tory leader

International Development Secretary Rory Stewart (DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
International Development Secretary Rory Stewart (DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)

Chichester’s MP has announced she is backing Rory Stewart to be the next leader of the Conservative Party.

Theresa May has resigned as her party’s leader but remains Prime Minister until her successor is chosen.

There are ten candidates currently in the leaderships race: Michael Gove, Matt Hancock, Mark Harper, Jeremy Hunt, Sajid Javid, Boris Johnson, Andrea Leadsom, Esther McVey, Dominic Raab and Mr Stewart.

Chichester MP Gillian Keegan, who was first elected in 2017, has backed Mr Stewart saying he has ‘true vision’, is a ‘brilliant communicator’ and a ‘real star quality which is hard to find’.

Speaking at a campaign event, she said: “Politicians often talk about a big tent. They say it’s a crowded field in the race to be our next Prime Minister.

“I beg to differ.

“Only one candidate stands out in this race for bravery and tells it straight. Only one candidate has the courage to put his case to the people every day, face to face.

“Only one candidate can appeal to younger voters, to women voters, all sections of society, north, south, east west, leave or remain, within our union and that is Rory Stewart.

“I’m a new MP but I’ve had a long life before politics and I was looking to back somebody who listens, who engages with people across the country, has a vision of where we are going, and most importantly who we can trust.

“And I found him. Our next Prime Minister needs to unite our country and not divide us into leave and remain camps.

“People are crying out for leadership and in Rory we found somebody who wants to listen, will tell us the truth and has the courage to lead us.”

Mr Stewart, MP for Penrith and The Border since 2010, is currently the Secretary of State for International Development.

Prior to his career in Parliament he served as an infantry officer before joining the UK diplomatic service, serving overseas in Jakarta, Montenegro and as the coalition deputy governor of two provinces in Southern Iraq.

While on leave he walked for nearly two years across Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Nepal.

Mr Stewart’s campaign website says: “Rory is the only candidate who can bring the country together and win back the voters who left the Conservatives at the last general election.

“His vision for Britain’s future provides a strong counter to Jeremy Corbyn, who presents a real danger to our economy, our values and our country.”

The leadership contest is split into two stages.

Conservative MPs decide the shortlist, then ordinary party members will be balloted on the final two candidates.