Andrea Leadsom is the last of the five candidates to launch her bid for the Tory leadership. But if the bookies odds are anything to go on, she is rapidly emerging as a potential frontrunner in this race. Many will view Leadsom as one of the ‘Brexit candidates’ in this fight. Somewhat refreshingly, though, she painted Brexit not as something for Britain to be afraid of but a positive step. Towards the end of the speech, she said that:
‘As your Prime Minister my ambition will be to guide our country to those sunlit uplands.’
She also went on to borrow David Cameron’s reference during the referendum campaign to voting for our children and grandchildrens’ sakes, to suggest that Brexit will be good for future generations. It’s nice, for a change, to hear this positive argument for Brexit spelt out and Leadsom will capitalise on such a pitch if she continues to make it as wholeheartedly as she did this morning. What’s more, she was also clear in ‘guaranteeing the rights of our EU friends who have already come here to live and work’. In a dig at Theresa May’s failure to do the same, she added:
‘We must give them certainty – there is no way they will be bargaining chips in our negotiations.’
Yet, Leadsom wanted to spell out that she was more than just the person to guide Britain through the process of leaving the EU. Her pitch focused, too, on social justice. And arguably she was more convincing and heartfelt on this topic. Leadsom said that her ‘real passion in politics is my desire for social justice, (and) for a transformation of our society’. She said it was better to spend money on ensuring children have a good start in life than picking up the pieces later on – a logic which is hard to fault. So whilst Leadsom’s leadership bid might have been given a boost by her backing Brexit, this morning she wanted to spell out that her bid’s trajectory was based on much more than just Britain leaving the EU.