As Conservative MPs vote in today’s first round in the leadership contest, David Morris has explained why he is backing Stephen Crabb.
Mr Morris, the MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale, had initially said he might stand himself if his preferred candidate did not come forward.
But once Mr Crabb decided to stand alongside Michael Gove, Andrea Leadsom, Liam Fox and Theresa May as one of the contenders to succeed David Cameron as Prime Minister, Mr Morris said the Work and Pensions Secretary had his backing.
“The next Prime Minister needs to be someone with a vision for this country and someone who has wide appeal,” he said.
“I believe that the right person for this job is Stephen Crabb and this is why I am backing him in the leadership contest.
“Stephen is a seasoned campaigner and knows what it takes to work hard and win elections. In the General Election under Stephens’s stewardship as Secretary of State for Wales, more Conservative MPs in Welsh seats were elected than have been in three decades.
“This steely determination and ability to work as part of and encourage your team as a whole is something that we need to bring to the whole Conservative party.
“This is about ensuring that the party is in the right shape to win another General Election and we need someone who can carry on with Cameron’s modernisation of the party and create a wider appeal.
“Stephen like me believes that if you work hard you can get on in life regardless of your background. “We need to appeal to a broad church and ensure that people from all backgrounds feel involved in what we are doing and inspired to achieve.”
Mr Morris backed the Remain campaign during the recent EU Referendum.
“This country is facing a period of uncertainty following the Brexit vote and we need stability and security to ensure we prosper in the years ahead,” he said.
“Leave or Remain are irrelevant labels now as we all respect the democratic will of the people and will be negotiating our way out of the European Union.
“It is not going to be easy, but with Sajid Javid, one of the best negotiators we have I believe we can get the right deal for our country.”
Mr Morris was Mr Crabb’s Private Parliamentary Secretary when the MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire was Secretary of State for Wales,
“I saw first-hand what a formidable team Stephen and Sajid made when dealing with the Tata steel crisis,” said Mr Morris.
“I am delighted that Sajid is on Stephen’s team as he is a shrewd negotiator and one of the finest economists Parliament has seen.
“In the months and years ahead of us as a country the most important thing is that we can bring all of our four nations together, so that we can proceed for the benefit of our collective economy.
“Stephen’s plan to hold a series of round table discussions with the four nations will ensure that everyone feels included, listened to and that we will be triggering Article 50 at the best time for our country.
“This referendum vote was about coming out of Europe and not the splitting up of the UK. So we need to make sure we engage with all of the nation’s leaders in the UK to make sure we stay together.
“We are stronger together as a United Kingdom and I know Stephen is committed to that.
“Working with Stephen when he was Secretary of State for Wales I also know how hard he fought for further devolution powers and to get a cross party consensus to take the idea forward.
“He was so determined to push the devolution agenda forward that it was called Stevolution in Wales.
“Stephen’s announcement to secure 100 billion into infrastructure shows that he gets it. We cannot stand still as a country, Brexit will be hard there is no doubt about that but we are Great Britain and we can do it.
“We need to invest in infrastructure all over our country to show the rest of the world that we are open for business.
“I am under no doubt that Stephen Crabb would be the best person to be our next Prime Minister. He has integrity, loyalty and intelligence, he is more than that he is my friend of 20 years and I would trust him with my life. I am honoured to be backing Stephen Crabb all the way to Number 10.”
The first round of voting in the Tory leadership contest got under way on Tuesday and closes at 6.30pm.
Results are expected at 7pm with the candidate with the least number of votes being eliminated.
Further rounds will take place on Thursday and the following Tuesday until two candidates remain.
The winner will be announced on September 9.