Statement on Party Leadership

Statement from Peter Heaton-Jones MP (Conservative, North Devon)

"Tomorrow I will be voting for Theresa May to become the Conservative Party's new leader.

I have considered all the candidates very carefully, and have now had a personal meeting with the Home Secretary.  I asked her about a range of issues, including arrangements for the UK leaving the EU, her views on the future direction of the government, and - vitally - how she would ensure that North Devon and the wider southwest receives the investment we need.

Following that meeting, and having taken soundings from constituents in North Devon this weekend, I am in no doubt that Theresa May is the right person to lead our party and our country.

I do not accept the view that our next leader has to be someone who supported Brexit.  The referendum result issued a clear instruction to the government that we should leave the EU.  What's important now is that we have the leader who is best equipped to undertake these tough negotiations and lead our country through this period of uncertainty.  Among the candidates, Theresa May is uniquely experienced for this task.  Her six years as Home Secretary also means she is best placed to ensure our nation's security, which is the most important role of government.

I look forward to casting my vote for Theresa May tomorrow and in subsequent ballots, and hope she will soon become our party's leader and our country's Prime Minister.

Meanwhile I am not allowing the current Westminster dramas to distract me from my primary role representing North Devon, especially fighting for our health services and campaigning for better road, rail and broadband connections. This will always be my first priority and I will be making this clear to the new Prime Minister at the earliest opportunity.

Peter Heaton-Jones MP
North Devon