7 Jul 2016

Leadsom supporters on the march

The march from Millbank Tower to Parliament by Andrea Leadsom supporters was one of the stranger political events of recent times.

Stalwart Tory MPs of the Right taking in part in their first ever march, spurred on by Defence Minister Penny Mordaunt who told them it would be morally wrong if MPs kept her off the ballot paper going to activists, a reaction to Michael Gove’s campaign manager emailing some Tory MPs who back Theresa May telling them to vote for Mr Gove to make sure the activists don’t back Andrea Leadsom.

Alongside them were campaign t-shirt wearing supporters. Interestingly quite a few of them I spoke to weren’t actually Party members.

Dr Julian Lewis MP said the nearest he’d been to a march before was protesting against CND marchers.

Most MPs admitted it was a novel experience marching on their own Parliament. One said he slightly worried what they were going to do when they got there. The answer is they chanted: “What do we want? Andrea Leadsom! When do we want her? Now!” 

At the speech event they started out from there was a revivalist atmosphere, a real frenzy to the supporters’ cheering – about 250 people in the room.

Later I caught up with Andrea Leadsom to ask her about her politics and her previous career.

She repeated her concern about Mark Carney’s conduct in the referendum campaign saying he had shown partiality and gone beyond his brief. She said there should probably be a Treasury Select Committee investigation into his conduct but said she wouldn’t sack him if she was PM.

She said the state wasn’t a million miles away from the size it should be but definitely shouldn’t have a bigger share of GDP than it has already (40%). 

In Parliament she’s given the impression that she was closeted with Eddie George, then Governor of the Bank of England, part of a small cadre of top bankers pulled together to sweat out a weekend heading off a bank run after the Barings collapse. In her answers I got the impression she probably wasn’t in the same room but making phone calls from her desk at Barclays.

She admitted she’d never run a fund despite the claims of her ardent supporters. She said she had been in a supervisor role for others who did trade funds.   

She is a devout Christian and I asked her if she felt she had been spoken to directly by God. One person very close to her has said that Andrea Leadsom feels she has  been spoken to by God. You can see her answer here.

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