Brandon Lewis: Liz Truss can be trusted to fix the NI Protocol and defend the Union

Brandon Lewis, who is supporting Liz Truss in the Tory leadership contest, writes in the News Letter that she is the most robust defender of the Union and can be trusted to radically change the NI Protocol

Liz Truss speaking at the All Nations Centre in Cardiff yesterday as part of her campaign to be leader of the Conservative Party and the next prime minister
Liz Truss speaking at the All Nations Centre in Cardiff yesterday as part of her campaign to be leader of the Conservative Party and the next prime minister

Being Northern Ireland secretary was one of the greatest privileges of my life, working to secure the future peace and prosperity of Northern Ireland, and all of its people for the long term.

I secured the greatest funding settlement for Northern Ireland since devolution began and finally took steps to address the legacy of the Troubles, one of the darkest periods in our shared history.

But there is much more to do.

There is no denying that the challenges Northern Ireland faces are significant – we must resolve the issues with the Northern Ireland Protocol and address the barriers to political stability and economic growth so its full potential as an economic and technological powerhouse can be realised.

I have seen Liz Truss in her role as foreign secretary stand up and proudly defend Northern Ireland and our Union. We worked together and stood up to the European Union to protect the integrity of our United Kingdom and Northern Ireland’s place within it.

In this leadership election, our Conservative and Unionist Party members both here in Northern Ireland and across the rest of the UK, will choose the candidate with the best ability, experience and proven track record as a champion for our Union. For me, it is obvious that that person is Lis Truss.

She has an unwavering belief in the sanctity of our Union. As Northern Ireland secretary I worked with Liz to develop the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill to resolve the outstanding issues with its implementation and operation.

Liz has made it her priority to defend peace and stability in Northern Ireland, taking a tough line on the protocol and standing up to the EU in the process.

That is no mean feat, and she faced internal as well as external pressure to buckle in the face of the EU’s unreasonable and unrealistic demands, to the detriment of our Union, but she stood firm.

Having spent her earliest years in Paisley in Scotland, Liz has a deep appreciation for our Union, and understands the value of each component to the whole – she knows that it is more than just the sum of its parts and that the UK is stronger, more secure and technologically advanced because Northern Ireland is part of it.

I have also worked closely with Liz as a fellow Norfolk MP. And I know that she can get things done. Throughout her time as an MP and in government she has earned a striking reputation as someone who knows how to deliver. Be it trade deals, spending discipline or defending our values and allies abroad, Liz has always stepped up to the plate with distinct willpower and conviction.

Her record in government truly sets her apart from the pack. When she promises something she sees is through.

Her bold vision for our economy and our country will turn the consensus and constraints of economic orthodoxy on its head, it will allow us to grasp every opportunity that Brexit represents and to harness it, to unleash our potential, drive our growth, and get the economy back on track.

I am backing Liz Truss for prime minister because she can be trusted to make the most of Brexit, resolve the issues with the Northern Ireland Protocol and protect our Union.

She understands the needs of Northern Ireland and has a vision and a plan that reflects the best interests of people and businesses across Northern Ireland and will deliver for them.