Why I'm backing David Davis

By Richard SpringMP for Suffolk WestFOR the first time since 1997, there is a realistic chance that the next Conservative leader will be Prime Minister after the next General Election.

By Richard Spring

MP for Suffolk West

FOR the first time since 1997, there is a realistic chance that the next Conservative leader will be Prime Minister after the next General Election. Invitations to my constituency have been extended to both leadership candidates, but today David Davis will be in Newmarket.

I am taking him to Newmarket Hospital, so that he can meet the wonderful staff there, who are under so much stress and anxiety, and be made aware of the terrible NHS crisis in Suffolk under Labour, which so fills my postbag.

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We have an admirable tradition in this country, whereby over a period of time in Parliament those who aspire to great public office are tested, gain experience and obtain mature judgement. David Davis has been Party Chairman, run the key Public Accounts Committee which monitors government expenditure, and has been an extremely successful Shadow Home Secretary.

The new leader's key role is to make our Party electable again. Regrettably we are now effectively a Party of the South-East. We need a leader who can talk and relate to the vast majority of our people, who live in our urban heartlands, in the Midlands, Scotland, Wales and the North, which are now essentially Tory free zones. That is his inescapable challenge and, if we fail, we shall remain mired forever in Opposition.

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David Davis has set out some absolutely clear policy directions, which we can develop fully in the next four years. As a nation, we are increasingly overtaxed and burdened with bureaucratic interference in our schools, hospitals, and police forces, and with an unsustainable welfare system. With clarity based on strong conviction, we need to show people that their hopes, their dreams, their security, demand that we tackle these issues.

David's passion for these objectives shone through in that extraordinarily insightful debate on BBC's Question Time last week. But all of this requires action not rhetoric. It demands a positive view of how the aspirations of the many can be realised.

David Davis' personal life story, about which he is so engagingly modest, and his tried and tested experience, enable him to reach out to the millions of people who have abandoned the Tories or indeed for whom political engagement is futile. He is, as I know from working with him, a natural born leader.

We are blessed with two outstanding candidates. Whoever wins will enjoy my wholehearted support, as we challenge a Government which has so palpably failed to deliver on its promises.

Richard Spring was MP for Bury St Edmunds from 1992 until 1997, since when he has been MP for Suffolk West.

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