As Conservative Members of Parliament vote to select the two candidates that will be put to members for leadership of the party, the country’s grassroots favourite Andrea Leadsom has spoken in Millbank, laying out her vision for the next four years of government.
Starting by offering prayers and thoughts for the families of those who died on this day during the Islamist 7/7 London terror attacks in 2005, the self-professed Thatcherite Mrs. Leadsom stuck to her already established optimistic style, talking up Britain’s prospects for the future, and the nation’s “precious” democracy.
Explaining why she felt she would be the right leader for the country now, Mrs. Leadsom said: “I’m an optimist. I truly believe we can be the greatest nation on earth.
“As we show the UK is once again open to the world and united in our new destiny, so we will expand our horizons. Prosperity should be our goal, not austerity. I want to spread prosperity to every corner of our country, I want to help create more jobs.”
Emphasising her optimism for Britain’s future, she said: “I want to lead a nation where anyone who aims high can achieve their dreams. My first task is to show how great our potential is as a nation. Let’s banish the pessimists.” She said “forecasts of disaster” had “not been proven correct” and far from the horror story it had claimed to be, a lower Sterling would encourage inward investment and boost exports.
Immigration, perhaps the most decisive topic during the referendum campaign, was another area Mrs. Leadsom focussed on when she alluded to her belief in an Australian-style points-based system. Echoing her previous comments on the matter, Mrs. Leadsom called for a points-based system to govern immigration into the UK which she said would be “fair to those already here, but fair to those many talents across the world”.
We must now develop a points based system for those who want to come to UK – fair to all the talents across the world; but also to our own!
— Andrea Leadsom MP (@andrealeadsom) June 27, 2016
In a thinly-veiled attack against her prime opponent Home Secretary Theresa May, who has been accused of refusing to guarantee the right to remain of EU citizens already in the United Kingdom to give her a stronger hand in negotiations with the EU, Mrs. Leadsom said: “I tell you today I will not use people’s lives as bargaining chips in negotiations. People need certainty, and they will get it. I say to all who are legally here, you are welcome to stay.”
In an appeal to the swathes of Britons that have been identified as feeling disenfranchised and ignored by mainstream politics — the Eurosceptic voters who are credited with delivering Britain’s ‘leave’ vote in the referendum last month — Mrs. Leadsom said: “We need to hear and heed those millions of our fellow citizens who feel and fear their country’s leaders aren’t worrying about them enough.”
Speaking of Britain’s traditional role as a trading nation, Mrs. Leadsom said now was the time to trade not only with Europe but with “fast-growing economies”, including the Commonwealth.
Andrea Leadsom, until the final stages of the Brexit campaign, was a little-known backbencher and junior cabinet minister who has leapfrogged other more senior contenders to become a potential candidate to lead the nation and has secured the backing of senior Conservative Boris Johnson.
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