The Inside the Council column with Leader of the Conservative and Unionist Group Scott Benton

Councillor Scott Benton.
Councillor Scott Benton.

As the Conservative leadership election reaches its final phase, party members across the country, including those here in Calderdale, will shortly decide upon who they want to be the next leader of our party.

Those reading this column will have their own opinion on which candidate would make the best Prime Minister. For what it is worth, the majority of people I have spoken to (both within and outside of the Conservative Party) would prefer Boris Johnson.

Failing: Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party is now fourth in the polls.

Failing: Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party is now fourth in the polls.

Although either candidate would make a good Prime Minister, what is perfectly clear, is that whoever is successful would be preferable to Jeremy Corbyn running the country.

Corbyn is now officially the most unpopular opposition party leader in history with just 17% of people thinking he is doing a good job.

Nine years out of power and the Labour Party is now fourth in the opinion polls with just 18% of the vote.

The Party is riddled with anti-Semitism with Corbyn either unable, or unwilling, to bring this under control.

Their policy on Brexit is falling apart with their cynical calculation of trying to appease both sides finally being seen for the fraud that it is.

The picture isn’t much brighter for Labour here in Calder Valley either.

They finished behind the Conservatives in the recent local elections and their candidate for the next General Election (Josh Fenton-Glynn) is perpetually absent on the big issues of the day.

Absent from the debate on Brexit (where does he stand…remain or leave?); absent in the fight against anti-Semitism (he’s yet to condemn the decision to readmit anti-Semitic MP Chris Williamson back into the Party – unlike most respected Labour figures such as Halifax’s Holly Lynch) and absent when it comes to welcoming investment in our area such as the unprecedented £196 million pound package to upgrade services at Calderdale Royal.

Indeed, the only place you will find Josh is chairing the Council’s Flood Scrutiny Board.

Whilst it is clear that the Labour Party, both locally and nationally, doesn’t have the answers to the challenges facing Britain, the next Prime Minister has to step up and deliver.

It is absolutely imperative that they deliver Brexit on 31st October, deal or no deal.

They must then turn their attention to supporting our local businesses and ensuring that we have a competitive, low-tax economy which can trade across the world and deliver growth.

We must also deliver on the pledge to spend an extra £394 million a week on the NHS, as well as ensuring that the improving public finances (which are still recovering from the last time Labour ruined the economy) can help to deliver support for working families, more police on our streets, and extra resources for schools.

The challenges facing the next Prime Minister are considerable but I have no doubt that they can deliver Brexit and then focus on the challenges facing families here in Calderdale.

The price of failure could be a Corbyn-led Government and from that our country may never recover.