Over the last few weeks it has been a great privilege to promote my vision for the country, through Brexit and beyond. I have been truly humbled by the support I have received from colleagues and Conservatives around the country.
I’m proud to have made the case for being a party that heals divisions, protects our precious Union, embraces modern Britain, and brings Conservative values to new audiences. And that my team have navigated this contest in an honest, decent and straightforward way.
I want Britain to seize the opportunities ahead, but also to level the playing field so that everyone can have the opportunities to get ahead in life that they deserve. We can do that with a bold policy agenda – one that rebalances our economy, unleashes investment in our infrastructure, prioritises education and skills, and maintains law and order through a major boost in police numbers.
I will continue to focus on my responsibilities in the Home Office, and reflect on whether to offer my support to another candidate. There are very challenging times ahead for our party, our government, and our country. The Conservatives must continue to be a broad church if we are to deliver Brexit, bring change while in government, and beat Corbyn at the next election.
The two remaining candidates have earned their places in the membership ballot. I wish them well in the weeks ahead and - whoever becomes Prime Minister - I urge my colleagues to get behind them as a team. If I can contribute to these efforts and serve my country in any way I will certainly do so.
If my ambition and conduct in this contest has set an example for anyone, then it has been more than worth it. This is my message to those children growing up as I did. To kids who look and feel a bit different to their classmates. Those who don’t have many toys or private tutors. Those who feel like outsiders and wonder whether “opportunity” is just for other people…
Work hard, have faith in your abilities, and don’t let anyone try and cut you down to size or say you aren’t a big enough figure to aim high. You have as much right as anyone to a seat at the top table, to be ambitious for yourself, and to make your voice heard. So seize every opportunity that this wonderful country presents to you with both hands. Your – and our – best days lie ahead.