Andrea Leadsom initially tried to go on the attack following the row over her motherhood comments sparked by an article in the Times on Saturday. Today, the Tory leadership candidate appears to be attempting a different technique to put out this fire for good. At first, she was ‘disgusted’ by the presentation of the piece which suggested she was a better choice for PM than Theresa May because she had children. Today, she had this to say:
‘I’ve already said to Theresa how very sorry I am for any hurt that I have caused and how that article said completely the opposite of what I said and believe.’
The problem for Leadsom, though, is that her apology doesn’t really cut it. It’s clear from what she is saying that she is only sorry still for the way the article was presented. Anyone who has seen the transcript or heard the audio released by the Times shouldn’t be surprised by the way the paper ended up splashing the story at the weekend. And whilst Leadsom today tries to address the ‘hurt’ caused to her leadership rival, she is still parroting the same idea that her words were misrepresented – a position which looks more and more untenable.
What’s more interesting, perhaps, than Leadsom’s half-hearted apology in the Telegraph piece today though is the way in which it’s clear this incident has impacted her. On the fallout of the row, she told how she felt ‘under attack (and) under enormous pressure. It has been shattering’. It’s tempting to feel sorry for Leadsom. After all, one can imagine it’s not nice to end up caught in something like this. And yet then one remembers that Leadsom is running to be the Prime Minister. Yes, this sort of thing must be pretty ‘shattering’. But a future leader can expect plenty more moments like this and if she finds one newspaper headline ‘shattering’ it looks like a worrying indictment on her leadership credentials.