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A new prime minister is a chance to move our country forward to a positive future, says Lincolnshire County Council leader

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As I write this column, there are still four candidates standing to be the next leader of the Conservative party. This number should be down to two by the time you read this to allow the national membership to choose between them, writes Councillor Martin Hill, leader of Lincolnshire County Council.

Some people argue that this choice should be made by a wider electorate but in our parliamentary system, we vote for individual MPs who form like-minded groups who then choose a prime minister and government.

In the last membership vote in 2019, I voted for Boris and do not regret doing so.

Councillor Martin Hill, leader of Lincolnshire County Council. (55260989)
Councillor Martin Hill, leader of Lincolnshire County Council. (55260989)

In his three years as Prime Minister he has faced unprecedented peace-time challenges.

Boris finally broke the deadlock when many parliamentarians were defying the result of the Brexit referendum which was threatening the public’s confidence in our democratic system.

He can also take credit for successfully rolling out the vaccine programme and the subsequent release from lockdown. His sterling support to Ukraine in the face of Putin’s aggression has been exemplary.

As we all know, there were other matters that did not go so well and the constant drip feed of issues followed and despite profound apologies, Boris lost the confidence of his colleagues. It became inevitable that he would have to resign.

In three years, he made a large impact but who will I support in this next campaign?

It will need to be someone who respects the Brexit vote and is capable of bringing it to a successful conclusion. Only then can we benefit from the extra freedoms available while maintaining a sensible relationship with the European community.

At Lincolnshire County Council we believe in providing good local services whilst keeping local taxes as low as possible. We achieve this by finding savings and efficiencies in what we do - it would be good if national government could be more like that!

Interference in people’s lives should be the minimum necessary so that individuals and businesses have the maximum freedom to grow and prosper. At the same time, help is targeted at those who genuinely need it.

Levelling-up - the mantra of the moment - must include rural areas like Lincolnshire, which for too long has not had a fair share of national funding. And we want to be allowed to take decisions locally and given genuine powers without having to jump through civil-service hoops.

The hustings will give us all a chance to assess the qualities of the candidates and when one is successful there will be the chance for them to move our country forward to a positive future.

  • The two final candidates in the Conservative leadership race are Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss.

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