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by Andrew Bowie
28 July 2022
Rishi Sunak is the only candidate who can stand up to Nicola Sturgeon

Rishi Sunak is the only candidate who can stand up to Nicola Sturgeon

The decision on who to elect leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party, and thereby prime minister, is not one to be taken lightly.

At the outset to the election, we were presented with the widest and most diverse slate of candidates in the history of British politics.

And even then, only one person stood out to me as the candidate I believe is the best to become prime minister.

Someone who will be capable of taking the tough decisions necessary to deal with the huge challenges we face as a nation and also the only one with the experience necessary to stand up to Nicola Sturgeon and ensure that our United Kingdom, our One Nation, remains whole. 

That person, for me, is Rishi Sunak.

He was the chancellor that launched the furlough scheme, saving over 700,000 Scottish jobs.

He was the chancellor that gave businesses across the whole United Kingdom the lifeline of bounce back loans, keeping many of our traders afloat through the most difficult times.

By making sure that the Eat Out to Help Out scheme would apply to the Scottish hospitality sector as well as in England, he showed he cares just as passionately about jobs and livelihoods in Scotland as he does about those in England.

Proving this again, he was the one who ensured that the SNP agreed vital Freeports would come to Scotland. Opening the Levelling Up fund to Scottish local authorities was met with hostility from the SNP Government at Holyrood, but he pressed ahead to make sure Scotland got its fair share.

Unlike other candidates, Rishi Sunak has taken action to govern for our whole United Kingdom and, with this, he is confident about our future. We cannot rely on history or tales of former glories. Instead, we can act. 

And Rishi has.

Leading the pushback against the ‘devolve and forget’ mentality of Whitehall, he ignores that easy approach to governing that says, “Scotland? Pass it to Holyrood.”

He does it not because it’s easy, or popular, he does it because it is the right thing to do and because he is a Unionist right to his core. 

Moving to this great country half a century ago, his grandparents settled in England, but they knew they were British at heart. They had chosen to move to the United Kingdom. Our One Nation. 

I have known Rishi since 2017, when I was first elected to parliament. Having seen first-hand his positive engagement with the Scottish Government, constructive when needed, I know he is unafraid to stand his ground when needed.  This will be more important than ever in the next few years.

We need someone who has seen the rigours and challenges of government already. Now is not the time to entrust someone untested with the future of our United Kingdom. 

A passionate Unionist forged in crisis, a man seeking judgement by his actions not simply words. These are not just superlatives; this is Rishi Sunak, the leader our country needs.

Andrew Bowie is MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine.

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