Last summer, former Conservative leader William Hague stated his support for Rishi Sunak to become the next UK Prime Minister because he is a “highly disciplined” and “rational individual”.

In setting out his analysis, Lord Hague raised three of the main issues the next occupant of Number 10 would have to address and for which Mr Sunak was ideally suited to tackle.

These were “how to help people with energy bills”, “sort out the Northern Ireland Protocol” and “maintain the unity of the West”.

To take the issues in turn, as Chancellor throughout Covid, Rishi Sunak put ideology to one side in order to do what was right for the country with the furlough scheme protecting millions of jobs across the UK including almost 15,000 here in East Renfrewshire.

On the cost-of-living crisis, he has also done what is necessary and during his premiership, average household energy bills have been capped at £2,500 per year.

Last week’s budget confirmed the Energy Price Guarantee, initially set to expire by April, will now continue until the end of June and this demonstrates the continuing resolve to do what is required to safeguard the people of this country from the worst effects of the crisis.

Secondly, Rishi Sunak has pulled off a remarkable feat of negotiation in securing a replacement Northern Ireland Protocol agreement with the EU.

A key problem with the original protocol is that it includes a system of stringent checks on goods arriving at Northern Ireland’s ports from Great Britain.

This has led to concerns of an effective border in the Irish Sea within the UK.

Mr Sunak’s Windsor Framework resolves this issue as burdensome customs bureaucracy and routine checks for goods that will stay in Northern Ireland are scrapped under the deal.

The agreement is a major diplomatic coup and goes to show what can be achieved through serious attentiveness to the fine details and preparedness to engage constructively with allies to reach a settlement acceptable to both parties.

Once put to the Commons, it is vital that the Windsor Framework is voted through.

Thirdly, Britain has remained at the centre of the united Western alliance in support of Ukraine’s heroic battle against Russia’s invasion.

Under Sunak, we have continued to lead on key areas of support that is crucial to Ukraine’s defence including accelerating military equipment to the country and expanding training for Ukrainian armed forces personnel in the UK.

Moreover, Britain is one-third of the AUKUS alliance alongside the United States and Australia that is delivering a new generation of nuclear-powered submarines to carry conventional weapons.

AUKUS is critical to countering shared threats in the Indo-Pacific region.
Standing side-by-side with US President Joe Biden and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese at the recent trilateral press conference in San Diego, Rishi Sunak was emphatic that these three major Western powers were coming together “to fulfil that higher purpose of maintaining freedom, peace and security, now and for generations to come”.

In fewer than six months as Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak’s achievements on each of the three issues highlighted by Lord Hague has vindicated his analysis.

I backed Mr Sunak for the Conservative leadership because we needed a serious leader for serious times and his track record of delivery so far has certainly paid dividend.