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.

Tweets by @garygibbonblog

3 reader comments

  1. Àlison says:

    Here we go again, amazing self belief! Tell everyone you’re the best and they believe it, even if you have to compromise your integrity by falsifying your CV. Shame there was no time to quiz Mrs Leadsom on her policy of reduced rights for workers in start up companies. Exploitation of people who would be desperate enough to work for less than the minimum wage is hardly Christian, and shows poor judgement as it would not attract good calibre people whom start-ups certainly need.
    Is this a safe and trustworthy pair of hands – I don’t think so.

  2. Peter says:

    The ‘have you been spoken to by God?’ question is unfair. It’s a modern remake of ‘have you stopped beating your wife?’ – impossible to answer without looking bad. Hearing God ‘speak’ must be defined in a sympathetic way. For example in Psalm 19 you only have to look up at the night sky to ‘hear God speak’. (this is the quote; the heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech, And night to night reveals knowledge) In other parts of the Bible, and very rarely, people here an actual voice, but I contend that if Andrea Leadsom was in this category she would be in some form of Christian ministry, not politics.

    My other concern about this question, Gary, is consistency. Are you applying a similar form of pop theology to London’s first Muslim Mayor, or to any other Sikh, Buddhist or Hindu politician in the news (include the Home Secretary in this list)

    Please ask Andrea Leadsom about her faith but not in a trick question, just an open question such as ‘how does your faith inform your politics’ Much nicer.

  3. Jezza says:

    “She is a devout Christian and I asked her if she felt she had been spoken to directly by God.”
    That is the most crassly insulting question I have seen asked by a journalist to a politician. the way it is asked and put at the end of the article seems to assume both that as a Christian Mrs Leadsom must think she has heard the voice of God in an audible way, and that being a Christian is cause for suspicion of the person’s sanity or motives.
    There is a worrying apparent background assumption that being a devout Christian is a form of mental illness; that Christianity induces delusions in its followers that lead them to think they have heard voices, which they automatically and erroneously attribute to the voice of God; that being thus mentally ill, Mrs Leadsom will suffer such delusions and hear such voices and put such an interpretation on them; that this therefore makes her unfit to fill any political office to which she aspires; and that Christians in general are unfit for public or political office.
    It is insulting to those suffering mental illness in as much as it attributes stigma to their illness and classifies them as automatically unfit for office. It is insulting to Christians in as much as it then takes that insulting attitude towards mentally ill people and attempts to apply it to all devout believers.
    It’s a wickedly cheap shot, from a journalist who seems to feel himself intellectually and morally superior. I’m not sure I’d have been happy to have Mrs Leadsom as Prime Minister, but there’s no need for such scorn thinly and inadequately veiled as journalistic concern.

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