10 days ago Sue Gray released her report and since then we have clearly also had a further development with the triggering of a vote of confidence in the Prime Minister to be held later today.
I have read Sue Gray’s report thoroughly and I have also taken into account the record of the Prime Minister over the last three years.
The Gray report makes clear that events happened inside Downing Street that should not. Across the country in shops, schools and above all hospitals people were working tirelessly to keep us safe and respecting the rules in place. The same should have applied universally. The changes made in both structure and personnel in Downing Street were necessary and it was right the Prime Minister apologised for events that took place. The culture was clearly wrong and needed to change.
This Government, like every other globally, has been faced with extraordinary challenges.
Covid has had an horrific impact. The Prime Minister was right to invest heavily in developing a vaccination and building production capacity. This enabled the U.K. to embark on its vaccine roll-out fast and contribute to saving lives and getting the economy back on track as soon as possible.
Likewise 100 days ago we were appalled by a brutal and illegal war of choice inflicted on Ukraine by Putin. As a Defence Minister I have been closely involved in our actions throughout. The Prime Minister’s stance was absolutely critical and helped galvanise a united international response and help Ukraine resist naked aggression.
The Prime Minister’s role on Ukraine, on which the U.K. has taken a leadership position, has been widely respected internationally.
I would also add that while I supported us remaining in the European Union in the Referendum I always acknowledged pre and post the vote that we must implement the decision taken. Notwithstanding that being the commitment made by every party in the run up to the vote, the House of Commons proved incapable of delivering.
The Prime Minister secured a deal with the European Union and has driven the impetus which has led to further trade deals globally. He did so after securing in the 2019 General Election a resounding election win and the largest majority for any party since 2001.
We now face, as does every country, the huge challenge of inflation and its impact on the cost of living, an issue compounded by the vital steps taken internationally to degrade Putin’s ability to finance his aggression.
The package of support announced by the Chancellor is the right approach and proves this Government’s determination to support those in most need whilst not falling into the trap of believing we can “spend our way out of inflation”, we cannot.
The Prime Minister will have my support in the ballot today.