Harrogate and Knaresborough MP backs Theresa May in leadership race

Andrew Jones MP
Andrew Jones MP

Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Andrew Jones has backed Home Secretary Theresa May to be the next Conservative leader and UK Prime Minister.

Conservative MPs will today (July 5) begin the process of choosing their next leader when the first round of voting gets under way.

Home secretary Theresa May goes into the ballot with the lead but faces competition from energy minister Andrea Leadsom, backed by former Mayor of London Boris Johnson.

Justice secretary and Leave campaigner Michael Gove, work and pensions secretary Stephen Crabb and North Somerset MP Liam Fox are also in the running.

However Mr Jones, a transport minister in David Cameron's government believes Mrs May has the "gravitas and experience" to lead the country following its decision to leave the EU.

He said: "I have looked closely at the qualities of the candidates before making my choice. They all have qualities that I admire and have served their constituents and the country at a high level and effectively.

"However, I feel that Theresa has the best credentials to lead the country in the uncertain times that lie ahead.

"She has distinguished herself in her seven years as Home Secretary and prior to that has served as shadow spokesperson in the Transport, Education and Employment briefs.

"She has the experience needed to be our Prime Minister."

The Conservative Party's 330 MPS will vote in the first round of the election today up until 6pm with the results expected at around 7pm.

The candidate with the lowest number of votes will be eliminated with further rounds to take place on Thursday and the following Tuesday until two candidates remain.

Party members will then choose from the two backed by most Tory MPs with the winner due to be announced on September 9.

The Harrogate and Knaresborough MP said that Mr Cameron's successor must have the "experience and knowledge" to lead a divided country and said Mrs May's would be an ideal appointment.

He said: "When Theresa enters a room people listen; she is a heavyweight politician. She has the experience and knowledge which the top job requires. She has gravitas and that is an important factor when negotiating with other world leaders."

"More than that, she realises that the Conservative Party needs to represent the whole country, it needs to be inclusive, socially liberal and economically sound. It is a tricky balance to achieve and I believe Theresa is the person to deliver."