Esther McVey promises public sector pay rise during Tory leadership bid launch

Tory leadership hopeful Esther McVey promised public sector workers a pay rise as she officially launcher her bid to become the next Prime Minister.

The former work and pensions secretary also vowed to increase police spending and boost funding for education, should she take the top role.

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Speaking at a meeting of the Eurosceptic Bruges Group in central London she said: “I want to stand for leader of the greatest political party ever, the Conservative Party.

“My clear agenda is to deliver Brexit on the 31st of October and then we must unite the country, and then unite our party too.”

She added: “Britain’s public sector workers need a pay rise and our police and our schools desperately need cash. That’s what my campaign is about.”

“Our public sector workers have stuck by us and worked hard to help clear up the economic mess that was left by Labour and that we inherited. That’s why, under my leadership, the Conservative Party will offer four million public sector workers a pay rise.”

She said the Tories had “turned the economy round” and it was time to “thank those people who helped us get the economy back on track”.

Ms McVey, who was joined at the launch by her partner and fellow MP Philip Davies, said the foreign aid budget must be brought back to 2010 levels.

Esther McVey
Esther McVey

Standing in front of a picture of Margaret Thatcher, she said: “Of course we will help people around the world who need it, but now we need help here too.”

Finishing her launch with an impassioned speech she said: “Unite the country. Make sure we stand up for democracy too – the biggest ever democratic vote to get us out of the EU so that we can be a strong, sovereign nation who can proudly be on that global stage.”

Immediately after the launch a heckler, who described himself as a “paid-up member” of the Tory party, took to the podium to shout: “Excuse me, you are all fake news and these people are fake Conservatives.”

The man, who later gave his name as Graham Moore, was escorted out of the room during a heated exchange.

After leaving the building the 55-year-old from south-east London told the Press Association he does not support any of the leadership contenders.

Insisting the UK had already left the EU on March 29, he said: “None of them (party hopefuls) are no good. They need to remove the Conservative Party, they don’t believe in the rule of law.”

A protester storms onto the stage after Esther McVey’s speech
A protester storms onto the stage after Esther McVey’s speech

Describing herself as a “straight talker”, Ms McVey said the Brexit negotiations to date had been a “national embarrassment”.

Criticising Theresa May’s efforts she said: “As far as I’m concerned there could have been literally any outcome with her at the helm, apart from the one we wanted.

“Because she was not going to leave the EU without a deal. At the very least something that could be described as EU lite. But the way I was looking at it, it was EU watertight. We could have ended up being in there (the EU) and having no say.”

Throwing his support behind Liverpudlian Ms McVey, Mr Davies told those gathered: “We now have a chance to get a new leader and change course.

Philip Davies
Philip Davies

“We must leave the EU on the 31st October with a clean break and for goodness sake we must not waste this golden opportunity.

“As I mentioned last time, in the early hours of the morning of the 24 June 2016 some BBC commentators were talking about a giant Brexit-coloured wrecking ball heading to Brussels.

“Well I hope it will be heading to Brussels very soon and I hope it has a Scouse accent.”