Conservative Party must unite behind new PM and focus on issues, say county MPs

Shropshire's Conservative MPs have called for the party to rally behind whichever candidate emerges victorious in the party's leadership election on Monday.

Philip Dunne MP, Liz Truss and Daniel Kawczynski.
Philip Dunne MP, Liz Truss and Daniel Kawczynski.

Voting closed at 5pm yesterday, with the result due to be announced on Monday.

Daniel Kawczynski, MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham, said the party must support the winner, regardless of the outcome, and focus on tackling issues such as the cost-of-living crisis rather than internal disagreements.

Mr Kawczynski said he regretted that it was considered necessary to hold the contest, and felt that Tory MPs had acted 'precipitously' in removing the outgoing prime minister.

"I think the panic among Conservative MPs in light of a vicious media campaign against the Prime Minister was wrong, and I warned my fellow Conservative MPs at the 1922 Committee that to give in to these relentless media attacks on our Prime Minister would be wrong," he said.

Mr Kawczynski, who is backing front-runner Liz Truss, said he was 'quietly confident' about her chances. But he said if Rishi Sunak emerged as the surprise winner, then he would get his full support.

He said Miss Truss's success in negotiating trade deals around the world following Britain's withdrawal from the European Union showed that she had the qualities to make a successful prime minister.

"We were told it would take us 10 years to renegotiate our trading arrangements which we had with the European Union, but we did it in 12 months," said Mr Kawczynski.

"We are about to join the world's biggest trading bloc, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, which includes Japan, Singapore, Australia and South Korea, we are the only European country that has been invited to join that."

He said he hoped the announcement of the new leader, whoever it was, would mark the end of the divisions which had opened up during the election.

"I will be behind anybody who is democratically elected as leader of the Conservative Party," he said.

"The next General Election is going to be a herculean battle of wills between the Conservative and Labour parties, unity, strength of purpose and loyalty is going to be critical.

"We must now focus with laser-like precision on the things that concern the people of the United Kingdom."

Philip Dunne, the Ludlow MP who called for Mr Johnson to resign in the wake of the Chris Pincher scandal, believed many party members would only have decided how to vote in the past few days.

Mr Dunne, who backed former foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt at the start of the contest, said he decided to vote for Mr Sunak after hearing them both speak in a debate at Ludlow Racecourse.

The former health minister said he would pledge his full loyalty to whoever the winner was.

"I think the contest has shown the strength of depth in the Conservative Party," he said.

"Both candidates have set out their clear priorities, and whoever wins will have to confront the over-riding challenge of energy bills driving up the cost of living, and this needs to be done within days and weeks, not months."

He said he believed that many party members delayed casting their votes until they had heard them at the hustings, and expected their to be a late surge of support for Mr Sunak.

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