My colleague MP Tobias Ellwood sparked quite a backlash with his suggestions about the UK re-joining the single market. Number 10 has immediately seized upon it, claiming the plot to oust Boris Johnson is “Remainer-inspired,” and only him continuing in office will safeguard Brexit.

Both statements are untrue. 

Those expressing deep concerns about the leadership of the Conservative Party and the direction we are taking, those who have publicly declared their criticism of Boris Johnson and many of those who haven’t, they come from all wings of the party. My colleagues, such as MP Steve Baker and MP David Davis, had campaigned for Brexit long before Boris declared which side he was joining.

I was there, I remember it well.

For us, the safeguarding of Brexit is one of the principal reasons for wanting a change in party leadership, as the anti-Conservative vote that Boris is generating represents the greatest threat to our continued independence from the EU.

Those who are still supporting Prime Minister Johnson are starting to sound like the hardcore Corbynites who, for all their love of their leader, could not see the negative feeling towards him outside their echo chambers.

MP Andrew Bridgen

To see how bleak the picture is, one does not have to dig very deep into the Prime Minister’s approval ratings.

Figures of around 60% voter disapproval and with 56% saying Prime Minister should resign, represents a real danger to many Conservative MPs facing anti-Conservative sentiment engulfing their constituencies. As I wrote in January, this is an existential threat to Conservative Party itself.

The disapproval ratings of Boris Johnson are on the trajectory of Jeremy Corbyn’s. Those who are still supporting Prime Minister Johnson are starting to sound like the hardcore Corbynites who, for all their love of their leader, could not see the negative feeling towards him outside their echo chambers. 

When I spoke to a member of Parliament recently raising this concern, I was told that “polls mean nothing, they are constantly hijacked by the left.”

Carry on, nothing to see here, an old adage goes. Except, it would be a huge mistake to ignore the mood of the nation, the people who elected us to serve and who we ultimately answer to. 

Even the most tone-deaf Johnson loyalist could not have missed the unprecedented booing of the crowd waiting outside St Paul’s Cathedral when our Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrived to honor Her Majesty’s 70 years of service during Platinum Jubilee weekend.

Let me be clear. If we get the opportunity to move on from the leadership of Boris Johnson, the next Prime Minister will have to be an active Brexiteer. We need someone who has been and is a political signpost for the nation, not just a weathervane.

One of the principal reasons behind the Conservative party’s resounding majority win in 2019 was the promise to get Brexit done. The vast majority of the party membership supported Brexit, and thanks to our new intake of MPs in 2019, so is the membership of the Parliamentary Conservative Party as well as our wider supporter base.

Carry on, nothing to see here, an old adage goes. Except, it would be a huge mistake to ignore the mood of the nation, the people elected us to serve and those who we ultimately answer to.

MP Andrew Bridgen

It’s quite telling that another one of my colleagues, MP Tom Tugendhat, a Remainer, who sees himself as a potential leadership candidate, came out strongly against Tobias Ellwood’s comments. Tugendhat stated the decision on Brexit has been made, and “we need a deal British people control, not foreign laws.”

Clearly, Tugendhat can read the Conservative party’s mood and configuration and understands that only someone firmly committed to our withdrawal from the EU can lead the party after Boris Johnson. 

Let me be clear. If we get the opportunity to move on from the leadership of Boris Johnson, the next Prime Minister will have to be an active Brexiteer. 

MP Andrew Bridgen

However, given the result of having a non-Brexiteer in charge of the Conservative Party —as was the case with Theresa May— while our post-Brexit future is still in its early stages, I do not believe our membership is ready for a previous Remain supporter to now take charge, however sincerely they profess their Damacene conversion.

There are plenty of contenders for the leadership who were active Brexit supporters and they are not necessarily members of the Cabinet. 

I see a strong possibility of Mr. Second Referendum Sir Kier Starmer, the current leader of the Labour Party who twice supported Jeremy Corbyn’s campaigns to be our Prime Minister, joining forces with the Liberal Democrats and/or the SNP, who are both committed rejoiners. 

I believe this political outcome represents the greatest threat to not only Brexit but our Country itself and will focus the electorate’s mind. 

Electing a fresh leader and political direction of the Conservative Party represent our best chance of safeguarding the legacy and future of Brexit and also securing a Conservative government after the next General Election.

This briefing was sent to me yesterday by a fellow Conservative and unfortunately it’s hard for me to disagree with any of its content.

Read it for yourself, and come to your own decision.

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Andrew Bridgen

Andrew Bridgen is a Conservative MP for North West Leicestershire.

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2 Comments

  1. It concerns me very much that Ellwood wants to take us into a single market right when we need Brexit to be completed.Its been a ploy right through with a Remainer at the helm.There has to be a Brexiteer in the lead to restore trust, democracy & integrity to the electorate & country.

    1. The referendum was to determine whether we wanted to leave the EU. We have left the EU and there is no real possibility of returning in the short to medium term. It is debatable whether most of the ‘benefits’ of membership are being, or will be, missed over time. One benefit that is being missed (badly) by businesses large and small, however, is direct access to frictionless trade with our biggest market, I.e. the countries of the EU. Rejoining the single market can be achieved without rejoining the EU, and that would alleviate many of the issues that are causing the most problems in this country. Whether you like to admit it or not, it is an economic fact that we would be better off with frictionless trade with the EU, no matter who is at the helm.

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