Andrea Leadsom, government minister, former City boss and offshore tax artiste, is sticking it to the Man. That’s according to her supporters, who marched through central London towards Parliament in a protest-style “#Rally4Leadsom”.
Leadsom, once only known to avid watchers of the Treasury Select Committee, has emerged as Brexit’s belle. During the EU referendum campaign she was the warm, optimistic face of Leave – a mellow-voiced rebuke to Nigel Farage’s swivel eyes.
And now, with Boris Johnson out and Michael Gove still wiping the blood off his hands, she is a serious contender to the Tory crown.
Leadsom, who was runner up to Theresa May in the first round of the leadership elections, gave a speech in front of a slogan promising “Fresh Leadership”. She declared she wants to “banish the pessimists” and “write another great chapter of prosperity and tolerance and hope”.
Stop everything and watch this video of Andrea Leadsom’s march on parliament. pic.twitter.com/ZY1DdwV9h4
— Jim Waterson (@jimwaterson) July 7, 2016
Her supporters, wearing bright blue t-shirts, meanwhile chanted: “What do we want? Leadsom for leader. When do we want it? Now. Hoorah…”Dogs barked, apparently in agreement.
Some enthusiastically posed for the cameras. Others tweeted excitedly about their future leader. One of Leadsom’s stronger points among the Eurosceptic Tory membership is her commitment to quitting the European Union, in contrast with the more careful, Remain-backing May.
— Mikey Smith (@mikeysmith) July 7, 2016
Not everyone was so convinced. Social media users ridiculed the march. More seriously, several awkward ex-colleagues have popped up to describe her stellar banking CV as “somewhat fanciful” and “misleading”. Some reporters attending her speech were left unconvinced that there was substance behind the style.
But since Leadsom has managed to simultaneously convince her supporters she is the anti-Establishment candidate and tout her experience on a hedge fund, her optimistic bid for leader may have some legs yet.