MP Nick Boles says he is ‘bewildered and upset’ as the UK prepares to leave the European Union following Thursday’s referendum – and puts forward the case for Boris Johnson as the next Prime Minister.
Mr Boles, MP for Grantham and Stamford, says he supported the Remain campaign because he thought the UK would be ‘stronger, safer and better off’ staying in.
Writing on www.conservativehome.com, Mr Boles said: “David Cameron is someone I admire, like and am loyal to. So I felt bewildered and upset on Friday morning, when it became clear that we would be leaving the EU and the Prime Minister then announced his resignation. But whenever I felt like giving in to despair, or the desire to storm off and sulk, I would hear the voice of my late father in my ear. ‘Come on, Nicholas,’ he would say – never having liked the name Nick. ‘You are in public service. And the people you serve have made a decision. This isn’t a time to be petulant. You need to listen to them carefully, and to do what you can to make a success of things.’”
Mr Boles says his electorate made a ‘momentous decision’ which he advised against. But, he says ‘they call the shots and I will try and make a success of it’.
He adds that the next Prime Minister and leader must be a supporter of the Leave campaign, experienced, ‘a natural unifier’ and ‘a standard-bearer who can appeal to voters of all ages, races, backgrounds in every part of the count – someone who can reach the parts of Britain that other Conservatives find hard to reach’.
And he is backing Boris Johnson for the post.
Mr Boles said: “It is these four conditions that have led me to conclude that we should elect Boris Johnson as our next leader and Prime Minister. I have worked closely with Johnson as his chief of staff when he was first elected Mayor of London. We have had well-advertised differences in the past. But he is a modern, liberal Tory, who won two elections in a city that is naturally Labour, who has grown immensely in stature and maturity in his eight years as Mayor, and who will lead the country with the same humanity and sense of fairness that he brought to the leadership of our capital city.
“Many of my closest friends in politics, people who fought alongside me in successive battles to modernise our party, and win back the trust of the British people, people who shared my feelings of dismay at the result of the referendum and the resignation of a leader we believed in, will struggle with the choice I am recommending.
“I understand completely where they are coming from. But I am going to spend the next three months doing my best to explain to them, as the spirit of my late father explained to me, why the national interest must come first and why, in the national interest, we must elect Johnson.”