George Osborne has revealed why he will not be standing in the Conservative party leadership challenge, saying he is “not the person to provide the unity” his party needs.
In a column for the Times, Osborne spoke of the referendum result and the values he holds dear, before writing: “As for my own future, I will not be a candidate in the Conservative leadership election to come.”
“It isn’t in my nature to do things by half-measure, and I fought the referendum campaign with everything I’ve got. I believed in this cause and fought hard for it. So it is clear that while I completely accept the result, I am not the person to provide the unity my party needs at this time.”
He intends, however, to remain in his current role. As chancellor, he said: “I will be 100% focused on providing the economic stability and reassurance Britain needs. And I will do all I can to support the new prime minister in bringing our party back together and tackling the country’s challenges.”
Of Friday’s result, he said: “We have had the EU referendum. The outcome isn’t the one I wanted but now we have got to work to deliver the verdict of the people. That doesn’t mean that the values I have campaigned so hard for are ones that I am going to abandon — or I think the country should abandon.”
Addressing the economy, talked of the “unpopular decisions” he has made with his austerity policy. It’s because of this, he says, that Britain will be able to rise to the challenges currently facing the economy since the Brexit result.
He said: “Thanks to the efforts of the British people we did fix the roof, and thank goodness we did. It puts us in the strongest position to deal with the challenge that now confronts us. We have seen and can expect to see more volatility on the markets. Businesses are already pausing investment. Hiring decisions have been put on hold.
“I do not resile from any of the concerns I raised during the campaign. But now we must respond loud and clear: Britain is open for business and the British economy is fundamentally strong.”
This article was written by Nicola Slawson, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 28th June 2016 00.51 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010