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9 reasons you should be truly terrified of Andrea Leadsom becoming Prime Minister

We’ve trawled through the Tory leadership candidate’s blog so you don’t have to.

With polls suggesting Andrea Leadsom will be one of the two Tory leadership candidates put to a vote of the members, it’s only natural to be curious about what this potential prime minister believes.

Luckily, she's been busily keeping a blog for the last decade.

It turns out she has strong views on babies' brains, and thinks she may have discovered the secret to preventing a repeat of the riots which plagued London in 2011.

Intriguingly, for a Leave campaigner who has talked down financial panic in recent weeks, she also thinks losing UK's AAA credit rating is a Very Bad Idea. 

Here are some of the more controversial and divisive positions she has taken:

1. Gay couples to the back of the adoption queue

Back in 2009, Leadsom used an adoption case – in which the two children of a heroin addict were given to a GAY couple (!?!?) – to question just when enough is enough when it comes to gay rights. “And if that weren’t enough, the two strangers are a gay couple, who have been selected ahead of several heterosexual couples.”

2. Watch out for those single parents

In 2006, she wrote that "the child of a single parent family is 70 per cent more likely (than the child of a two-parent family) to have problems at school, and even to become a drug addict or a criminal.”

Tough luck for all you children of single parents out there.

3. And that anti-marriage media

“The self indulgence and carelessness of non-committed adult relationships is proving fatal to the next generation,” she wrote in 2008. 

Not married? Prepare for a life of DANGER.

4. Losing a triple-A credit rating is bad news after all

“If a downgrade happens, it is a huge blow for our economy, and will potentially set us back several years on repaying our debts, and returning our finances to health,” Leadsom wrote in 2009. 

Since the vote for Brexit, both S&P’s and Moody’s have downgraded the UK’s credit rating from AAA to AA-. Shouldn’t someone have reminded her of this 2009 blog post during the referendum campaign?

5. Those baby-brained rioters

"I explained how secure attachment or parental love literally hard wires the baby's brain," Leadsom wrote in 2012. 

Leadsom has long campaigned around parental attachment, and reportedly spent several minutes talking about babies' brains at the first Tory leadership hustings, to the bemusement of fellow MPs.

6. No money for wind farms

“I completely welcome the announcement from the European Commission made recently regarding the possibility of ending all subsidies for winds farms,” she wrote in 2014.

Leadsom became energy minister the year after this comment. The renewables industry employs more than 250,000 people in the UK, as well as helping to build a sustainable energy policy, but clearly it's still a waste of money.

7. Who needs a special relationship? 

“He [Obama] shouldn’t be sticking his oar into an issue that isn’t his concern,” Leadsom wrote after the US president warned that Britain would be "at the back of the queue" in trade negotiations if it left the EU.

Let’s hope she develops a more favourable relationship with any future US President.

8. Those US Presidents getting invites before us

“How can France be hosting the 65th anniversary of the Normandy landings with Sarkozy and Obama (neither of them a twinkle in their father's eye in 1945) in attendance, and yet the Queen of Britain, Canada, and Australia (who was not only alive, but who also served in the war) was not invited until two weeks ago?”

9. She likes bankers getting bonuses

“I should think the Finance Ministers of France, Germany and Switzerland (to name but three!) will be rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of London’s financial services pre-eminence being scuppered in one move... Big populist gestures like this one now proposed by the Chancellor will not solve the problem.”

We must not do anything to antagonise bankers! Of course, a Brexit that leaves the UK's financial services industry in jeopardy is quite another matter

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The problems with ending encryption to fight terrorism

Forcing tech firms to create a "backdoor" to access messages would be a gift to cyber-hackers.

The UK has endured its worst terrorist atrocity since 7 July 2005 and the threat level has been raised to "critical" for the first time in a decade. Though election campaigning has been suspended, the debate over potential new powers has already begun.

Today's Sun reports that the Conservatives will seek to force technology companies to hand over encrypted messages to the police and security services. The new Technical Capability Notices were proposed by Amber Rudd following the Westminster terrorist attack and a month-long consultation closed last week. A Tory minister told the Sun: "We will do this as soon as we can after the election, as long as we get back in. The level of threat clearly proves there is no more time to waste now. The social media companies have been laughing in our faces for too long."

Put that way, the plan sounds reasonable (orders would be approved by the home secretary and a senior judge). But there are irrefutable problems. Encryption means tech firms such as WhatsApp and Apple can't simply "hand over" suspect messages - they can't access them at all. The technology is designed precisely so that conversations are genuinely private (unless a suspect's device is obtained or hacked into). Were companies to create an encryption "backdoor", as the government proposes, they would also create new opportunities for criminals and cyberhackers (as in the case of the recent NHS attack).

Ian Levy, the technical director of the National Cyber Security, told the New Statesman's Will Dunn earlier this year: "Nobody in this organisation or our parent organisation will ever ask for a 'back door' in a large-scale encryption system, because it's dumb."

But there is a more profound problem: once created, a technology cannot be uninvented. Should large tech firms end encryption, terrorists will merely turn to other, lesser-known platforms. The only means of barring UK citizens from using the service would be a Chinese-style "great firewall", cutting Britain off from the rest of the internet. In 2015, before entering the cabinet, Brexit Secretary David Davis warned of ending encryption: "Such a move would have had devastating consequences for all financial transactions and online commerce, not to mention the security of all personal data. Its consequences for the City do not bear thinking about."

Labour's manifesto pledged to "provide our security agencies with the resources and the powers they need to protect our country and keep us all safe." But added: "We will also ensure that such powers do not weaken our individual rights or civil liberties". The Liberal Democrats have vowed to "oppose Conservative attempts to undermine encryption."

But with a large Conservative majority inevitable, according to polls, ministers will be confident of winning parliamentary support for the plan. Only a rebellion led by Davis-esque liberals is likely to stop them.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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