South Northants MP in run-off with May to become next prime minister

Andrea Leadsom MP at a rally. Photo by Andrew Murrison @murrisonMP
Andrea Leadsom MP at a rally. Photo by Andrew Murrison @murrisonMP
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Andrea Leadsom, MP for South Northamptonshire, will face off with Theresa May to become the next leader of the Tories and the Prime Minister.

Mrs Leadsom came second in today’s ballot of MPs with 84 votes, with Home Secretary Theresa May taking first place with 199 votes.

Michael Gove was knocked out the competition after coming third with 46 votes.

Mrs Leadsom and Mrs May will now campaign across the country to try to convince party members to vote for them.

Mrs Leadsom has received backing from Boris Johnson. The former Mayor of London posted on his Facebook page: “Andrea Leadsom offers the zap, the drive, and the determination essential for the next leader of this country.

“She has long championed the needs of the most vulnerable in our society. She has a better understanding of finance than almost anyone else in Parliament. She has considerable experience of government. She is level headed, kind, trustworthy, approachable and the possessor of a good sense of humour.

“She has specialised in the EU question and successfully campaigned for leave and will be therefore well placed to help forge a great post-Brexit future for Britain and Europe.”

Mrs Leadsom also has the backing of the leader of South Northants Council, Cllr Ian McCord, who said having a constituent MP who is also the Prime Minister could have benefits.

He said: “I certainly don’t think it would be a bad thing.

“I’m not suggesting by any means a Prime Minister would be able to get us extra favours – I’m sure people in Witney don’t say ‘we got this built because David Cameron is our MP’. But it would be extremely useful in raising the profile of the area.”

Mrs Leadsom has been a vocal campaigner against the controversial HS2 high speed railway line which would pass near Brackley if built.

However, the campaign so far has not been plain sailing for Mrs Leadsom. Questions have been asked about her previous jobs in the financial sector, donations made to her campaigns, and comments she has written on her blog. She also faced questions over a 2012 comment where she back removing all rights for workers at firms employing three or fewer staff, including maternity leave.

On Brexit she said she would end the right to freedom of movement, and spend millions more on the NHS.

But caught out by a Sky TV camera, Tory grandee Ken Clarke said of Leadsom: “She is not one of the tiny band of lunatics who think we can have a sort of glorious economic future outside the single market... So long as she understands that she’s not to deliver on some of the extremely stupid things she’s been saying.”