Northamptonshire MP Andrea Leadsom has said she would clamp down on boardroom payrises that “bear no relation to company performance” if she was to become Prime Minister.
The 53-year-old former banker officially launched her campaign in front of former a press pack and supporters in Westminister this morning.
Wearing a blue blazer and pausing for applause, Mrs Leadsom gave a speech declaring why she should become the next Prime Minister.
She said: “I know I can do the job, I know I can seize the great opportunities for the UK in leaving the EU, I know I can deliver more fairness for people struggling to make their way.”
She added: “I know how to strike a deal in a difficult negotiation.
“And I know how as a woman how to succeed in a man’s world.”
Her campaign launch comes after a weekend which has seen her emerge as the favourite to challenge Theresa May for the top spot.
While the Home Secretary remains the bookies’ choice to take over the helm of the Tory party in September, many national newspapers claim the leadership battle is now a two horse race between Leadsom and May.
During Mrs Leadsom’s speech this morning she said, were she to win, she would trigger Article 50 to pull Britain out of the EU as soon as possible.
As Prime Minister she said she would focus on improving lives for children in their early years, touching upon the charity work she has done with Northamptonshire charity NORPIP as a guiding factor.
Having worked in the financial sector for 25 years she said a priority would be to get tough on underperforming bankers, saying “too few people were brought to book for their part in the 2008 financial crash.”
And she also added that her tenure would not just be focussed on looking after the wealthiest members of society.
“The richest people of Britain will not be my top priority,” she said.
“Britain will make her way in the world by investing in skills and her people.
“Those people who have become rich by winning boardroom payrises that bear no relation to company performance should bear in mind I find this unacceptable.”
However, she was also quizzed on her stance on the high speed railway line HS2, which she has campaigned against as an MP.
When asked wether she would see the multi-billion pound manifesto pledge through if she took the helm despite her opposition to it, she said: “I would certainly want to make sure it offers the best value for taxpayers.”
Over the weekend there has been growing pressure for Andrea Leadsom to publish her tax returns, after rival Michael Gove did so.
She told BBC’s Andrew Marr that she would only do so were she to make it down to the final two candidates.
She told Mr Marr she would not wishes to do so sooner as it would “set a precedent” for all MPs to do so.
In 2014 Mrs Leadsom told the Chronicle & Echo: “I have paid tax on absolutely everything I have earned with the only exception being the year I worked for Barclays in Sydney, Australia.”