'Optimistic but realistic': Northamptonshire MP Andrea Leadsom launches her bid to become Tory leader

Andrea Leadsom launches her leadership campaign at the Conservative headquarters in Central London this morning.
Andrea Leadsom launches her leadership campaign at the Conservative headquarters in Central London this morning.

'I persevere and I get things done', said South Northamptonshire MP Andrea Leadsom as she launched her bid to become the next leader of the Conservative party this morning.

The former leader of the House of Commons is among ten candidates vying to replace Teresa May as the party boss - and in turn, become the next Prime Minister.

In a speech given at the Conservative headquarters this morning, Mrs Leadsom said her priorities as leader would be to increase home building, improve the environment and to get tough on crime.

But central to her speech was her proposals for a three-step "managed exit" from the European Union rather than a renegotiation.

She said she would introduce a bill to deal with the rights of EU citizens in the UK alongside another bill, which would include "sensible measures" already negotiated and agreed such as the status of Gibraltar and goods already in circulation.

She would also "significantly ramp up preparations" for leaving the EU on October 31, including working on "alternative arrangements" for the Irish border

And she promised to convene a summit in early September with the EU to agree "sensible measures" to "ensure a smooth exit".

The Towcester-based MP, who said politics had failed 'dismally' over Brexit, added: "We need to move on - my managed exit will enable that to happen with minimal disruption."

On the economy, she said he her priorities were to enable "working people and businesses to keep more of their income," while launching moves to help young people to buy their first home.

Alongside Help to Buy, she said she would introduce another scheme to enable first-time buyers to borrow the deposit needed for their first home.

Wrapping up her speech, mother-of-three Mrs Leadsom, 56, made an impassioned pitch to become the next Prime Minister.

She said: "Today, I offer myself as an optimistic, yet realistic Brexiteer with a range of transformational policy ideas for the modern Britain of the 2020s."