WESTMINSTER continues to be paralysed by Brexit. But with the progress of the Conservative leadership challenge, we are getting closer to defining a way forward.

We are at a critical stage of our country’s history. We are redefining our relationship with our nearest neighbours and our biggest trading partners – a relationship that has over four decades of integration. The stakes are high.

The choice facing Conservative members is stark. We have a likeable, charismatic, former mayor of London challenging a former entrepreneur, the longest serving Health Secretary and successful Foreign Secretary. The polls suggest that the entertainer is leading the contest, but that the underdog is catching up fast.

I like Boris Johnson. He’s good company and his breezy optimism is infectious. I would be loyal to his government should he win. But I’m backing Jeremy Hunt.

Wyre Forest has around 3,500 businesses here. That’s 3,500 wealth creators, job creators, and payers of taxes that help make sure we get the public services we want.

These businesses need, more than ever before, a prime minister that completely understands what makes them tick, what makes them profitable, and what will harm their activities. In setting up and running a business that created 200 jobs, Jeremy Hunt has a lifetime experience of commerce.

But Hunt also gets public services, delivering the NHS through tough periods, including getting an extra £20 billion to finance it. He also understands how important our place is on the world stage. Yet it is what is little known about him that I believe tells a bigger story.

His business – Hotcourses – is very successful. Rather than simply banking this success, he set up a foundation that seeks to support 3,000 children and orphans with HIV in Kenya. Nyumbani UK is a testament to his philanthropic ideals and to me, demonstrates the characteristics of a statesman.

So the choice is between someone who understands the needs of businesses, with a plan to turbo charge our economy. Someone who values our defence commitment with plans for further investment in our armed forces.

An individual with a social conscience who seeks to tackle mental health issues in schools and help students pay their loans. A man with a sense of social responsibility. And a man with a detailed plan to sort out Brexit.

Or the alternative: a charismatic entertainer. In the interests of my constituents here in Wyre Forest, I’m backing Jeremy Hunt.