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Theresa May will bring stability in tough times, say Medway MPs

Medway MPs have welcomed Andrea Leadsom’s decision to back out of the Tory leadership contest, effectively paving the way for Theresa May to become Prime Minister.

In a brief statement on Monday Mrs Leadsom said strong leadership is needed urgently and that a nine week leadership campaign at a critical time for the country was “highly undesirable”, before announcing she was withdrawing from the leadership election, and wishing Theresa May the greatest success.

Incoming Prime Minister Theresa May
Incoming Prime Minister Theresa May

Those thoughts were echoed by Rochester and Strood MP Kelly Tolhurst, who had backed Mrs May and said the news heralded greater stability for the party and the country as a whole.

“For me it’s bigger than the Conservative party,” she said. “For me it’s about the future of the UK and what we need to do to bring the country forward.

“I was backing Theresa May - I thought she was the clear front runner with regards to experience and stature.”

Kelly Tolhurst MP and Rehman Chishti MP at the election count
Kelly Tolhurst MP and Rehman Chishti MP at the election count

Miss Tolhurst said she had been disappointed to read Leadsom’s comments - in an interview with the Daily Telegraph - suggesting being a mother would make her a better candidate for prime minister; comments which Mrs Leadsom has since apologised for.

“For me there’s so many things that influence your thought processes in life,” said Miss Tolhurst. “I haven’t had children - there are so many other things that influence you.

“For a prime ministerial candidate, I would expect someone to be talking about Britain and policies.

“We need a strong person leading us to the future and someone talking about tough issues.”

And she dismissed calls for a general election, adding: “Theresa May has been very clear that we will have to deliver on Brexit and we also have to deliver on our manifesto that we only started 13 months ago.

“We need some stability and we need to get on with what we’ve got to do.

“The sooner we can get on, the better.”

Following Leadsom’s statement, outgoing Prime Minister David Cameron announced he would attend his final Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday before offering his resignation to the Queen.

Chatham and Aylesford MP Tracey Crouch
Chatham and Aylesford MP Tracey Crouch

Chatham MP Tracey Crouch said Mr Cameron had been “a great prime minister”, adding: “I was sad to see him step down but it was a decision he took and it’s time to move on.”

She also dismissed suggestions there should be a general election and welcomed news of a swift leadership transition.

“The country needs some stability and we need to start negotiations with our European counterparts as soon as possible,” she said. “I think Theresa May has been perfectly clear that we shouldn’t have a general election. The last thing when we’ve already got a turbulent financial market is to have an election to create more instability.

“We just need to get on with the process of navigating our way through the Brexit negotiations.”

“I think Theresa May has got experience, and I think she’s strong and sensible.”

However Cllr Andrew Mackness, Medway’s Portfolio Holder for Corporate Services who had backed Mrs Leadsom, said he had been shocked and disappointed by the turn of events - and suggested Mrs Leadsom had been undermined by skulduggery in the corridors of Westminster and the in the press.

Cllr Andrew Mackness
Cllr Andrew Mackness

“I think it’s a sad day for democracy in that the members of the Conservative party don’t have the opportunity to vote for more than one candidate,” he said. “Nevertheless I will get behind the prime minster and the leader of the Conservative party in ensuring Article 50 is enacted as soon as possible and we get on with Brexit.”

He said he also had fears over Mrs May’s stance on negotiating Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, but added: “I think she will find she’s not in the job very long if she tries to delay it.

“We have a leader with a clear mandate and we need to work to deliver the manifesto and Brexit negotiations. I hope there’s a place for Leadsom and other campaigners in Theresa May’s cabinet. If there’s not a fair balance then she will have a few problems.

“I will be watching very carefully. There needs to be no delay in enacting Article 50. It’s clear what the nation wanted.”

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