I have loyally supported Boris Johnson for many years since I was elected as a London Assembly Member the same day he became Mayor of London in 2008.
The Prime Minister is an extraordinary politician with an unparalleled ability to connect with people. It’s why he won the capital twice and secured the biggest Conservative majority since the 1980s at the last General Election.
In his time in office, he has achieved much to be proud of, such as getting Brexit done, steering our country through the pandemic with the fastest vaccine rollout in Europe, and standing up to Vladimir Putin following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Until recent events, I believed he was the best person to lead the Conservative Party and our country.
But he was right to resign today. No leader can govern without the confidence of their party and the nation.
The Conservative Party must now elect a new leader who, as Prime Minister, will take our country forward and deliver on the people’s priorities. While we should not rush this important decision, the leadership contest must be as short and decisive as possible.
In the meantime, it is constitutionally correct that Boris Johnson stays on as a caretaker Prime Minister during the contest, as his predecessors did when they stepped down to allow for a new leader to be elected. It will mean government continues while the contest takes place.
Who the next leader may be, I do not yet know. But I do believe that the next leader must be someone who can win popular support in the country with a programme to defend the Union, reduce the size of the state, cut taxes and grow our economy.
As ever, my focus will remain on delivering for my constituents to the best of my ability, and I will ultimately support a candidate who I believe will best serve Orpington, the surrounding villages, and our country.