Chrisitan woman, thoughts, why not woman, woman story, writing

why I should be Prime Minister

Would she give up if it all became too difficult? “Absolutely not. You can’t just walk away.”

I always retreat to cooking the Sunday roast.”

Andrea Leadsom, who could be Britain’s next Prime Minister, is nothing if not practical.

In times of strife – and it’s impossible not to see the current convulsions in British politics as such – she finds comfort in the familiar routines of family life.

“When in doubt, cook a Sunday roast, get the family around you and you’ll feel fine afterwards,” she says.

“If my boys are there, it’s beef and Yorkshire pudding. If it’s me and my daughter and husband, it’s more likely to be chicken – but when she was younger my daughter used to say her favourite vegetable was crackling.”

Family, Mrs Leadsom says, is the most important thing to her. She has three children and clearly life at home is “happy and relaxed”. All this could soon come under strain.

Mrs Leadsom, 53, is rapidly emerging as the main challenger to Theresa May for the leadership of the Conservative Party – and the country.

In her first lengthy interview since entering the race to succeed David Cameron, the Energy Minister describes the central role her Christian faith plays in her politics; discusses her plan for a fast track timetable to take Britain out of Europe as early as next year; and vows she will not pull out of the contest and allow Theresa May to be crowned leader unopposed.

Mrs Leadsom is “delighted” that so many of her colleagues now seem to be swelling her band of supporters. Her team estimates that more than 50 MPs are now backing her campaign, putting her in second place to Mrs May, who has nearly 100 backers.

Once MPs have whittled down the current five candidates to a final two, the party’s 150,000 members will choose who becomes the next leader and Prime Minister in a postal ballot, with the winner announced on September 9.

She believes the final two candidates must include at least one Leave supporter in order to guarantee that the government honours its pledge to voters to pull Britain out of the EU. “If I was prime minister, there would be absolutely zero risk that Brexit wouldn’t happen,” Mrs Leadsom says.

In fact, she is considering how to execute the quickest escape from Brussels, as her team draws up a fast-track timetable which could see Britain exit the EU as early as next Spring.

“That would be the ideal time-frame. I am looking at exactly how that could work right now,” she says. “There is no doubt that for certainty and to get the most of the opportunity that we have, we need to get on with it.”

If she is successful in her campaign, Mrs Leadsom will be the first female PM since Margaret Thatcher, and only the second woman ever to hold the highest office.

“My real passion is social justice, resolving the lack of empowerment, the lack of skills, the fact that young people can’t get on the housing ladder, they feel they can’t have a decent job, they feel they aren’t in control of their lives.

“I have a real passion for giving [children] the best start in life, so going right back to the beginnings and supporting the early years, which is where your emotional capacity is determined that stays with you for the rest of your life.”

With Mrs May enjoying strong support and Mr Gove struggling to win over his colleagues after his alleged “betrayal” of Mr Johnson, there is a growing chance that the final two candidates will both be women.

“It would be great for young women. There is still a sense in our society, a holding back of girls and young women, and I don’t think there should be. To give young women the confidence to think ‘I can do this’ – as Margaret Thatcher did to me – is great.”

As well as family, faith is also central to Mrs Leadsom’s life – and her politics. Here, she differs from Mr Cameron, who once compared his faith to the reception for Magic FM in the Chilterns – “It comes and goes”.

Mrs Leadsom says: “I am a very committed Christian. I think my values and everything I do is driven by that. It’s very important to me. I actually study the Bible in Parliament with a group of colleagues and I do go to church but I am not a regular. There’s the cross party Christians in parliament group and there are various Bible studies groups, which I find incredibly helpful.”

Does she pray often? “I do pray a lot – all the time – mostly for support and doing the right thing. That’s what I really want – to be seen as principled and honourable and not the opposite; to do the right thing.”

And what about her children if she wins? Is she concerned about the inevitable impact of intense media scrutiny on her two sons, aged 20 and 18 and her 12 year-old daughter?

“I am very worried about it,” she says. “It was a very finely balanced decision and we had a long conversation before I decided to put in my nomination papers. But we are all as a family, really patriotic and keen to contribute. We decided we are at a place where we can cope. We will see if that’s true.”

Would she give up if it all became too difficult? “Absolutely not. You can’t just walk away.”

D.O.B. 13 May 1963 (age 53)
Odds: 4/1
EU vote: Leave
Key backers: Penny Mordaunt, Tim Loughton, Tom Pursglove, William Wragg, Chris Heaton-Harris

Ms Leadsom is the ‘real world’ candidate, with prime Thatcherite credentials. It is no surprise that Tory grandees this week spent hours on the phone persuading her to stand. She will bill herself as the person who will deliver brexit because she is passionate about the outcome.

She was the driving force behind the “fresh start” project, set up in 2011, which carried out hundreds of interviews and research projects which rethought Britain’s entire relationship with the EU.

A mother of three, Ms Leadsom has done a lot of work on boosting early years by helping parents to bond with toddlers. Before she became an MP she was a banker who worked closely with the Bank of England, and so can offer certainty and understanding of the financial markets. (Tim Ross 2 JULY 2016)
Ms Leadsom told the Sunday Telegraph she aspired to match Lady Thatcher’s combination of toughness with ‘personal warmth’.
She said: ‘As a person, she was always kind and courteous and as a leader she was steely and determined.
‘I think that’s an ideal combination – and I do like to think that’s where I am.’


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