Stirling MP Stephen Kerr has announced that he is backing environment secretary Michael Gove in the Conservative party leadership contest.
Writing in the Scottish Herald, Kerr insisted that Gove is the right man to keep the union ‘fit and robust’.
In a joint letter with Ochil and South Perthshire MP Luke Graham, the pair highlighted the need for the creation of a ‘Department of the United Kingdom’ to encourage co-operation between different levels of government.
The new department, they claim, would not seek to centralise or control, and would ensure that all members of the union would be considered when making important national decisions.
They also focused heavily on agriculture and the environment, stressing the importance of having a national fishing policy that works for all.
Taking to Twitter this afternoon, Gove said: “The next Prime Minister faces a difficult challenge – Brexit. And it’s not just enough to believe in Brexit – you’ve got to be able to deliver it. I will make sure we leave the EU and take back control of our money, our borders and our laws.”
He added: “As PM I will also commit to preserving our Union. I’m a unionist to my bootstraps!”
Originally positioned as a front runner for the job, Gove has found himself under fire this week as he was forced to admit taking cocaine whilst working as a journalist more than 20 years ago.
As his odds have decreased, Boris Johnson now looks to be the man to beat with all major bookmakers expecting him to win the contest.
Gove has also received backlash for being ‘out of touch’ with Northern Ireland, after calling Karen Bradley a ‘brilliant’ Secretary of State.
However, Kerr still believes that Gove’s “determination, ability, and clarity of thought are exactly what we now need to lead the country.”
He added: “He has a first-class record in government. He gets things done. For example, as Secretary of State for the Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, he has made sure that the UK is leading the way in tackling plastic pollution, cutting carbon emissions, and protecting our natural environment.”
The leadership contest has split Conservatives in Scotland, with Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson backing home secretary Sajid Javid. She said: “With Britain now so deeply divided, we need the next PM to be a unifier.”
Meanwhile, Scottish secretary David Mundell has not yet backed any of the candidates, with many speculating it is because he wants to keep his cabinet position.
Outside of all the in-house Tory squabbling, many people are calling for a general election, given that whoever the next Prime-Minister is will not have been elected by the people of the United Kingdom. However, the next General Election is not scheduled until 2022.
Recent polling suggests that the Tories would be decimated if a general election were to be held in the foreseeable future, as both the Brexit party and the Liberal Democrats are currently leading the two main parties.
The candidates have been announced and campaigning is underway but we will not know the next leader of our country until the end of July.
Over the next ten days, Conservative MPs will have secret hustings and vote among themselves until they whittle the shortlist down to just two candidates.
Then, paying members of the party will get their say via a postal ballot. Only then will we know the identity of the next Prime-Minister.