Andrea Leadsom’s appointment as Economic Secretary to the Treasury marks her return from political Siberia. The MP for South Northamptonshire, one of the most highly-rated of the 2010 intake, has been shunned ever since she called on George Osborne to apologise to Ed Balls for falsely accusing him of involvement in the Libor-fixing scandal. She was overlooked for promotion in last year’s ministerial reshuffle and failed to make the banking inquiry panel, despite her experience at Barclays, where she was financial institutions director from 1993 to 1997.
In July 2012, at the height of the furious struggle between Osborne and Balls over Libor, she said:
Obviously he made a mistake and I think he should apologise to him.
I think it was a very valid discussion at the time about who knew what and it has now been completely squashed by Paul Tucker.
In inviting Leadsom to join his Treasury team, Osborne has shown his magnanimous side. But don’t expect Balls to get that apology.
Update: It’s also worth recalling the story that Leadsom told Osborne to “fuck off” when he urged her to vote against an in/out EU referendum in 2011 (yes, a lot has changed since then). When asked about the report, she replied: “We had a very polite conversation. We agreed to differ. I wouldn’t speak to any colleague in the way I was reported as speaking to him.”