This article originally appeared in the Telegraph.

Pressure often brings clarity. On Thursday, before Attorney General’s questions, I found myself looking at pictures of Parliament after it was bombed in 1941. I recalled Walter Elliot MC, a Scottish MP who was passing by as firefighters fought to save it. It was clear they were spread too thin, and risked losing everything. He got them to focus on saving the ancient Westminster Hall. It stands to this day, a symbol of our deeply rooted democracy.

Things are not as bad as all that. Our great state is not ablaze, but we as a Conservative government are under pressure and spread too thin. It is time to return to our core objectives. I say return, because we have already had our Elliot moments: in 2016 and 2019, when the British public chose Brexit, and our Conservative manifesto.

They voted for an independent, prosperous state, in control of its borders. They knew that Britain deserved the Great in its name. They asked us to write the next chapter in our national story.

Boris got a lot right. We got Brexit done, we got through the pandemic, had the fastest vaccine rollout, and got the economy up and running quickly. For this, our Prime Minister deserves recognition. But too often I saw compromises that watered down our manifesto. Government, at times, lost sight of what the British people wanted.

My belief in an efficient, low-tax state was set early. I owe a lot of that to my mum. She was a Conservative councillor in Brent for 16 years. Recruited from Mauritius, she worked as an NHS nurse for 45 years. She taught me that if you want something done, you have to do it yourself.

I saw Brexit as the most important political decision of my life. My views are not triangulated or calibrated. They are as much a part of me as my DNA.

I now realise that I cannot rely on others to take Conservatism forward. To achieve our aims, the leader of this party and this country must have conviction.

How we make decisions is just as important. I have worked on the toughest decisions we have had to make: from Brexit delivery, criminal justice, to human rights reform. At all hours I’ve dealt with questions of national security. You need a laser focus: what are we trying to achieve, what is the evidence, and can we get there.

In 1941, we were lucky that Elliot walked by. He had the experience of making decisions under pressure, serving with distinction on the Western Front. Far less heroically, as a barrister I fought in court for the Home Office – witnessing our broken asylum system up close.

Following the Prime Minister’s lead, I was the first minister to go to Ukraine, to see their work to secure justice for innocent civilians. I lead the UK’s efforts to support Ukrainian prosecutors in material terms, as they begin to convict Russian war criminals.

I served Boris loyally but in the end he had to step down. He did so with humour that brought back, at the last, the courage that makes him such a remarkable politician – one I was proud to serve. We must finish the task he was given.

Get government spending under control. Cut VAT on energy – and reduce the planned tax increases that are putting off investment. We must remember that every pound we spend comes out of your pocket first.

Napoleon derided Britain as a nation of shopkeepers. We’re in danger of becoming a nation of regulators. Some say we should rely on legacy Brussels regulations forever – which only makes sense if we’re planning to re-join. Let’s make our own rules, and grow the economy beyond the confines of London, rather than sacrificing our recovery on the altar of Net Zero.

When I was growing up, the symbol of our party was the torch of liberty. Argument is always better than censorship. Let’s not go down the identity politics rabbit hole. Single-sex spaces are perfectly normal, especially in schools.

A great education got me where I am today. I wanted to give others that chance. With Katharine Birbalsingh I helped set up Michaela Community School in Wembley, as chair of governors for its first four years. It was founded on principles that used to work in education, but were thrown away by all but the best public schools: discipline, responsibility, and knowledge. This should drive our approach across the board.

My parents decided to come here safely and legally. That is very different from dangerous, illegal Channel crossings. The Rwanda plan breaks the cruel business model of the people traffickers. We must make it work – even if this means changing our approach to the ECHR.

Bringing Northern Ireland back within the United Kingdom is essential. Restoring balance to the Protocol will bring stability, safeguarding the legacy of Trimble and Hume.

People voted for us for different reasons, but the common thread is a belief that Britain is at its best when it makes decisions for itself. The British people put their trust in this government. I will never betray that. A government I lead will move heaven and earth to get this country back on track.