Andrea Leadsom vows to 'heal divisions' as she launches 'optimistic' Tory leadership bid
Andrea Leadsom will promise to focus on "healing the divisions" in the country as she launches her bid to be the next Conservative leader.
The former Cabinet minister - among ten candidates vying for the top job - will bill herself as an "optimistic yet realistic Brexiteer" who can offer the "decisive and compassionate leadership" needed to take Britain out of the European Union.
And she will reaffirm her pledge to take action on the world's climate change "emergency" if she wins the Tory race.
Ms Leadsom, who quit as Commons leader in protest at Theresa May's Brexit strategy, will say: "Our party has thrived in the past, when it has governed as a champion of the people, providing freedom of choice and opportunity, a strong economy and global leadership."
She will urge her colleagues to back her on Tuesday as she promises a campaign focused on "bringing our country back together, healing the divisions, building new homes, securing our streets, helping our businesses to thrive and achieving a carbon-neutral economy".
And she will make a pitch for Britain as a country defined by "diversity, compassion and opportunity".
She will say: "Whether your life starts well and gets into difficulties, or starts with problems and ends in triumph. And whether you were born here and your parents and grandparents before you - or whether you or your parents chose to come here from elsewhere in the world to make this great country their home - every one of us has a stake in our shared future."
Fellow contenders Rory Stewart and Mark Harper also launch their own bids to take on the top Conservative job on Tuesday.
Mr Stewart, the International Development Secretary, will accuse his rivals of offering voters "cheap electoral bribes" as he urges them to be "truthful on spending" after frontrunner Boris Johnson vowed to cut income tax for higher earners if he wins the race.
"We have to think about the next fifteen years, not the next fifteen days, not what works to get elected in a leadership contest," he will say.
Meanwhile Mr Harper, a Conservative former chief whip, will promise a "fresh approach" to Brexit and vow to spend more money on education.
He will say: "Three years after people voted to leave the European Union, it’s clear that the current top team haven’t delivered. People feel let down and our country isn’t moving forwards – on education, on health and on so much more.
"Our country needs leadership. Someone who can be trusted to take the right, and often difficult decisions, and not just the easy ones.
"Who wasn’t in the room when mistakes were made. And who is determined to stand up for Britain, deliver Brexit and take our country forwards with new thinking and fresh ideas.
"That’s why I am standing to be the leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party and our next Prime Minister."