Leadership elections are an important time for any political party – they also present an opportunity to renew and to focus on how we take our country forward.
For Conservative members across the country, the choice we face is an important one and one I hope every member will take seriously and pause to consider who is best placed to lead our party and perhaps more importantly our country.
When deciding who to support my first focus has been on who I believe our country needs at this time. I believe we need a strong, proven leader who is ready to be Prime Minister on day one. Someone who can unite our party and our country. And someone with a bold, new, positive vision for the future of our country – a country that works for everyone, regardless of who they are and regardless of where they are from.
As a Scottish Conservative I want to see a UK government that focuses on the things that really matter to people. As elected representatives we have all been given a job to work together and our focus day in, day out must be on how we work to build a stronger, safer and more prosperous country.
The UK government will face important and challenging EU negotiations with our European partners. It will be in the interests of the UK and other EU countries to put together a positive and lasting deal. Scotland and the United Kingdom need a strong and growing Europe if we are going to prosper and that work has to start now. We need a Prime Minister who will hit the ground running and who already has the positive working relationships with other European and global leaders.
For me, that person is Theresa May. As the longest serving Conservative home secretary for more than a century, she has a track record of working hard and getting things done. She is the candidate who can bring Remain and Leave voters together and move things forwards.
Theresa May has been a great friend to Scotland over the years and has helped the party build our support and keep Scotland strong in the United Kingdom. Scotland has two governments and Theresa May will be ready and willing to listen to the Scottish Government as well as Scotland’s businesses and civic Scotland.
I hope above all this leadership election will present an opportunity to refocus on what matters. It’s a time to reconnect with voters across the UK and I hope an opportunity for people to get involved in the party. I have met many people over the last week who have mentioned that they are considering joining or rejoining the party and I hope this will see our grassroots strengthened even further.
• Miles Briggs is Scottish Conservative & Unionist MSP for Lothian