Saj can reach fresh eyes and ears in a way that other candidates simply cannot

Saj can reach fresh eyes and ears in a way that other candidates simply cannot

Matthew Elliott (CEO Vote Leave) and Ruth Davidson (Leader Scottish Conservatives), write in the Sunday Telegraph about why they think Sajid Javid can reach fresh eyes and ears in a way that other candidates simply cannot:

Three years ago this month we were on opposite sides in the 2016 EU referendum. We fought our corner passionately throughout the long campaign, from the passage of the Referendum Bill until the fiercely contested Wembley Arena debate two days before polling day.

We had thrown this issue to the British people, and they gave us a clear outcome in a free and fair referendum – the largest popular vote in the most important democratic exercise in our history.

Despite our disagreements on this issue in 2016, we share three fundamental areas of common ground.

One, that is was right for the country to have its say on EU membership, 41 years after the initial referendum in 1975.

Secondly, that the result of the vote should be respected and implemented to keep our promise to the British people, and to maintain faith in our democratic system.

Lastly, we firmly agree that Sajid Javid is the only person to deliver a clean, orderly Brexit and unite the country through this challenging period to a brighter future.

We’ve both known Sajid for a long time and we know he has the negotiating experience and the best plan to get the changes needed with the EU for the Withdrawal Agreement to pass through Parliament.

Sajid has always been open about his scepticism of some of the excesses of the European project and its centralising instincts.  

He was an early advocate for a referendum vote and has consistently argued for wide-ranging and urgent reform of the EU. So much so that Sajid was even once thrown out of Tory party conference for campaigning against joining the ill-fated ERM!

Saj believes the resilience and underlying strength of the UK economy, built and grown by the talent, ingenuity and hard graft of the British people will ensure we can prosper outside of the European institutions. We must get on with it.

But at the same time, it’s true that businesses are withholding investment and postponing major decisions because of this ongoing uncertainty in Westminster.

They need clarity and an effective government with a credible plan to take the country forward. Let’s be clear: the public voted to leave, the Government promised to deliver it, and failing to do so risks destroying faith in Westminster and our elected representatives.

We must move on. There are important non-Brexit issues to be dealt with, and Sajid is talking about them. An additional £1bn to fund 20,000 more police officers and staff, to tackle the rise of serious violence. A long-term, £100bn Fund to improve our creaking infrastructure across the country. A multi-year, multi-billion funding settlement for schools and further education colleges.

But we must get Brexit done first. We know Sajid has what it takes.

As an experienced cross-border negotiator he will co-operate with our friends and partners on the continent and in Ireland to find a way forward. He will work directly with Ireland and make a big, bold offer to them to unpick our current deadlock.  

There is no doubt that this and the future relationship trade talks will be a difficult and challenging process. But we would not be supporting Sajid if we didn’t think that our country could meet that challenge and that he was the best person to do it.

Make no mistake, Sajid wants see Britain leave by 31st October this year.

But more importantly than that, Sajid wants to bring unity to our party, and to the four nations of this great Union. He is the right person, the only person, who can heal the deep divides in our country and take us forward together.

He has the ability and the talent to lead modern Britain. He can reach out to those who have switched off from the Tory Party and deliver them back to the fold – city-living graduates, ethnic minorities, and young women. The Party has won one majority in the last quarter century.

To win, it must secure its base – but go beyond that, too, with a new face that the public are excited to hear from.

He is the candidate that the Labour Party are most fearful of, because they can see how his background, experience and policies will defeat their empty rhetoric about supporting those most struggling in our society.

And perhaps most uniquely of all, he is not defined by the campaigns of 2016, but by his vision for the future. He can reach fresh eyes and ears in a way that other candidates simply cannot.   

In 2005 David Cameron told us that the party needed to fundamentally “change and modernise our culture and attitudes and identity” to have a message “relevant to people's lives today.”

In short, he said the Conservative Party needed to change to win.

In this leadership contest, the party needs to unite to win.  

Sajid can be that central point.

He has what it takes to deliver – on Brexit, and beyond.