The Young Conservative Case for Penny Mordaunt

188 years of rich history; the oldest political party in the world. The Conservative Party now faces a simple question: do we want chaos, or do we want stable and popular leadership under Penny Mordaunt? After all, it is not far we must look back to see Mordaunt’s popularity: in just July of this year, a poll conducted by YouGov showed Penny with an immense lead among party members (a twelve-point lead on the next candidate) and a July 14th poll commissioned by the Young Conservative Network showed similar results amongst young members of the party with Mordaunt holding a fourteen-percentage point lead over the next candidate in this poll too. In addition to her popularity, her sheer competence, an increasingly rare trait in the party, has been evident time and time again whether it be in media engagements or parliamentary exchanges. Penny Mordaunt was never a candidate who promised outlandish and unfunded tax cuts, instead tabling a targeted and effective conglomeration of fiscal levers. During the leadership contest she championed “sound money”, advocating for cuts in fuel duty and anti-inflationary adjustments to tax rates while steering clear of the dangerous Trussonomics.

When considering the next Prime Minister, however, we cannot just consider the domestic needs of Britain. We face an increasingly hostile global environment, exemplified by a burgeoning China and pariah Russia, and while some critics such as Lord Frost suggested Mordaunt would be unable to stand up to our opponents, her actions and rhetorical evidence would beg to differ.

Critically, Mordaunt has pledged to increase military spending to at least two and a half percent of GDP by 2030 in addition to promising a new integrated review, and a package of sanctions to counter Chinese genocide in Xinjiang and repression of dissent in Hong Kong by the PRC. Defence cannot afford any further budget cuts or even budget stagnation for that matter. The Dreadnought Class submarines and next-generation nuclear deterrent are paramount to our nation’s defence, but as are Type 31, Type 32, Tempest, a renewed Fleet Solid Support Ship programme, and the Future Cruise/Anti-Ship Weapon among countless other projects. Thus, it is clear that Sunak’s policy of not adhering to ‘arbitrary targets’ as he describes them, instead employing a ‘threat-based’ expenditure scheme runs hollow when one examines his record. Prior to the ‘Spring Statement’ being published in May of this year, Ben Wallace had written to the then Chancellor Rishi Sunak, expressing concern that the UK’s real-terms defence spending was to fall short of NATO targets this year. Sunak ignored this letter.

As for the disturbing prospect of Boris Johnson returning as Prime Minister as a phoenix rising from the ashes, or perhaps as Nadine Dorries might well describe it: Jesus resurrected from the dead, it is simply absurd. The parliamentary party removed him, his ministers abandoned him, and the country despised him. It would be political suicide. Most importantly, it would leave us with a leader which could be ejected from Parliament any day! The Privileges Committee investigation is soon underway and with “so many witnesses who want to come forward” his days as an MP could well be numbered.

That is why I implore the party to rally around the candidate that makes sense, the candidate that can stand up to Keir Starmer and the Liberal Democrats, the candidate which represents the future of our party: Penny Mordaunt. However, I wish to end this with an even more important message. No matter what, we must not see an election as we saw in the Summer. No matter who is elected, we must unite, and we must be ready and willing to fight, as the road ahead will be strenuous.