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Conservative leadership hopefuls coming to Shropshire

By Mark Andrews | Telford | Politics | Published:

Two of the leading contenders to become the next prime minister will set out their visions in Shropshire this week.

Dominic Raab

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab will address party members during two Conservative member dinners in the county.

Mr Raab, a Eurosceptic who resigned from the Government over its approach to Brexit, will be in Shrewsbury tomorrow.

Mr Hunt, who was the longest serving health secretary in history before being promoted to the Foreign Office last year, will be in the county on Friday.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt

Shrewsbury & Atcham MP Daniel Kawczynski said the private events were an opportunity for members to question the politicians on the future.

The visits come amid increasing division and calls for Theresa May to stand down immediately.

Mr Kawczynski said: "It is inevitable there will be at some stage in the future an election for the leadership of the Conservative Party, although at the moment we are not sure when.

"We will have two of the leading candidates for the leadership of the Conservative Party here in Shropshire.

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Daniel Kawczynski

"It's going to be a reception for local party members to sit down over dinner and listen to the candidates address party members and set out their vision as to what they see as the priorities of the Conservative Party.

"I'm sure there will be questions about Brexit and how they will resolve this impasse."

Mr Kawczynski said the events, which were open to party members from across Shropshire, would also be an opportunity for them to raise concerns about problems in the county.

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"We have just got the funding for the Northern Relief Road, but another one of problems in the county is that we only get a fraction of the education funding here compared with inner-city areas.

"For example, we get 50 per cent less here compared to Hackney or Haringey, and that is causing real problems in some of our classes, particularly for pupils with special educational needs.

"It has also had an impact on the fabric of some of our school buildings, and this will be an opportunity for party members to raise some of those concerns."

The visits come amid manoeuvring by senior Tories ahead of leadership bids and bitterness over Tory Brexit talks with Labour.

Analysts say there is a battle for control of the party, with a potential shift to the right under a leader like Boris Johnson.

Mr Kawczynski revealed that many of his constituency members have been left angered by Mrs May’s failure to deliver Brexit and many want to see a change in leadership.

North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson is among members unhappy with Theresa May’s dealings on Brexit.

According to the bookmakers, Mr Raab is third favourite to succeed Theresa May, followed by Mr Hunt in fourth place.

The clear front-runner is former foreign secretary Boris Johnson, with Environment Secretary Michael Gove the second favourite.

Mark Andrews

By Mark Andrews
@MAndrews_Star

Senior news writer for the Shropshire Star specialising in in-depth features and commentary, investigative reporting and political matters.

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