Following last week's Brexit vote, British Prime Minister David Cameron is stepping down, and Stephen Crabb would like to replace him. Currently the Work and Pensions Secretary in the U.K.'s cabinet, the Tory MP originally stood with Cameron in the conservative "Remain" camp.
Once an outspoken opponent of same-sex marriage — Crabb made headlines in 2014 after his links to a gay "cure" organization surfaced — he's a reminder that conservatism today can be a lot about exclusion: Crabb is adamant about closing the U.K.'s borders.
Crabb announced his official candidacy for PM Wednesday with a vow that he would "confront, head-on," the "uncomfortable truths that arose from the referendum," according to Wales Online. Following the U.K.'s vote to exit the European Union, some worry that xenophobic sentiment will spike — many who advocated for a Brexit did so because they believed foreigners were coming in and taking British jobs.
"What came out really clearly during the referendum campaign was that the thing that matters most was actually getting back control of our immigration," Crabb said during his address, the Independent reported. "No more open borders." At the same time, he said, he wanted to keep in place roughly the same economic relationship to the continent the U.K. has now. That's a tall, maybe prohibitively tall, order.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Crabb "portrayed himself as a modern and compassionate conservative, eager to improve the lot of the poor and disenfranchised" — the people who voted to leave the EU, who tended to be older, believed that European immigrants were leeching off the welfare system and snatching up available work. Their main proponent was former London Mayor Boris Johnson, who is considered to be the frontrunner in the race.
But even if he's an underdog, Crabb echoes the ethos many believe is driving the presidential election in the United States. "He has heard the messages of those who feel ignored and let down by politicians, and not only does he get these issues but he has answers to their problems," Conservative MP Maria Caulfield wrote for the Telegraph.