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South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge backs Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt in race to become next Prime Minister

South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge (right) has been appointed the Parliamentary Private Seceretary to the Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt.. (11911126)
South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge (right) has been appointed the Parliamentary Private Seceretary to the Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt.. (11911126)

The MP for South Suffolk has thrown his support behind Jeremy Hunt in the Conservative leadership race, claiming he would be the candidate to deliver on the promise of prosperity after Brexit.

James Cartlidge confirmed on Thursday that he is backing the Foreign Secretary in the field of 10 candidates vying to become the country’s next Prime Minister, following the resignation of incumbent leader Theresa May.

He acknowledged the Tories face a “chronic crisis of trust” following their poor performance in last month’s local and European elections, and stated he is “100 per cent confident” that Mr Hunt is the candidate to reunite both the party and the nation.

Mr Cartlidge, who has worked as the Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) for Mr Hunt in both the Foreign Office and the Department of Health, said: “I genuinely believe he is the candidate who can do the deal in the corridors of power where it really matters.

“Yet he also has a really inspiring vision for life after our departure from the EU, which is compelling, ambitious and radical.

“Basically, Jeremy walks the walk. Many talk about backing business – he started a successful company from scratch that has gone on to great things. Others will say they can negotiate – Jeremy has made deals all his life.

“But it’s not just about negotiation. The next phase of Brexit will also be about pressure.

“Our Prime Minister will have to cope with the most intense pressure while negotiating our way out.

“As a PPS, you are there when your minister is under pressure. I have seen, at first hand, the impressive manner in which Jeremy handles Commons statements and moments of critical decision-making – in both health and foreign policy – where the stakes were literally a matter of life and death.

“Jeremy did not become the longest serving Health Secretary, at a time of unavoidable austerity, by accident. He has that crucial ability to govern.”

Mr Cartlidge also praised Mr Hunt’s commitment to cut corporation tax to 12.5 per cent, and complimented his record in his cabinet positions, stating he had struck up good relationships with world leaders and “shown an optimistic view of Britain’s place in the world” as Foreign Secretary.

“Whoever wins, we must rally round and unite so that we can deliver Brexit and then move on to the other critical issues facing the nation,” he added.

“Jeremy understands this implicitly – he wants to negotiate a new Brexit deal, which I am convinced he can deliver, so that we can move on to deliver a program of radical social reform, supported by a strong economy.”

The other candidates in the race are Michael Gove, Matt Hancock, Mark Harper, Sajid Javid, Boris Johnson, Andrea Leadsom, Esther McVey, Dominic Raab and Rory Stewart.

The first ballot amongst Conservative Party MPs is scheduled to take place today, after nominations for candidates closed on Monday.

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