Sat, 4 February 2023

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Ex-Government aide: Andrea Leadsom is the dimmest bulb in the Cabinet

Ex-Government aide: Andrea Leadsom is the dimmest bulb in the Cabinet

Emilio Casalicchio

2 min read

Andrea Leadsom is the “dimmest bulb” in Theresa May’s Cabinet, a former top ministerial aide has said.

James Chapman - an ex-lobby journalist who until recently served as chief of staff to Brexit Secretary David Davis - said the new Leader of the Commons was the least able member of the Cabinet.

He hit out after Ms Leadsom and International Trade Secretary Liam Fox - both of whom backed quitting the EU - accused the BBC of bias against Brexit.

Ms Leadsom last month called on the broadcaster to be more “patriotic” while Dr Fox today complained that the BBC reports positive economic figures as being “despite Brexit”.

Mr Chapman, who is now a partner at PR firm Bell Pottinger, tore into Ms Leadsom, who was moved from Environment Secretary in Mrs May's post-election reshuffle.

“I’d expect nothing better from Andrea Leadsom, who in my experience in the Cabinet is the dimmest bulb, let’s be honest," he told Sky News.

"But I really think No 10 has to get a grip on this. We cannot have ministers dictating to broadcasters how they should cover the subject of the day."

He added: "Broadcasters must still hold their nerve and I hope that they do.”

Mr Chapman said his "friend" Dr Fox was “entirely wrong” and “crossing a line” and called on the Prime Minister to make clear she disagrees with her top team complaining about the media.

And he added: “I’ve worked on Brexit for a year in government and the media is only beginning to scratch the surface on the implications of this for all of our daily lives.

“It’s surely the responsibility and the duty…of any journalist to question authority and to explore the impact of these things on people’s lives.”

In the Commons today Dr Fox said: “It does appear that some elements of our media would rather see Britain fail than see Brexit succeed...

“I cannot recall a single time in recent times when I have seen good economic news that the BBC didn’t describe as ‘despite Brexit’.

A Downing Street spokesperson said today: "Ministers, MPs and others will have their views. It's a matter for newspapers, broadcasters and others to determine the tone and content of their own coverage.

"The Prime Minister has always been clear about the need to have a free press and a free media in this country."

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