Andrea Leadsom says Tory rivals Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab 'made Brexit harder' by quitting

Posted On: 
5th June 2019

Conservative leadership candidate Andrea Leadsom has accused Tory rivals who quit the Government of having "made Brexit harder" by walking away.

The former Commons leader said ministers who quit the Government last year 'did not help to deliver Brexit in any way'.

In a thinly-veiled swipe at fellow contenders Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab, Ms Leadsom said resignations by high-profile Brexiteers had made the Cabinet "more Remain-centred".

Mr Johnson, the current frontrunner to succeed Theresa May, quit as Foreign Secretary last summer following a Brexit Cabinet summit at Chequers.

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Meanwhile Dominic Raab walked away from his post as Brexit Secretary in November as Theresa May outlined the deal she had struck with the European Union.

But Ms Leadsom - who herself resigned as Leader of the Commons last month - told the Telegraph: "I stayed in government to fight for Brexit and those who didn’t made things that much harder."

She added: "People have said to me: 'You should have resigned earlier' but the reality is those who resigned did not help to deliver Brexit in any way. It meant that the balance in Cabinet became a lot more Remain-centred."

Ms Leadsom, who is making a second run for the Tory leadership, claimed that Brexit-backing ministers "had their voices drowned out" by their Remain-supporting colleagues.

And she insisted she was the only member of the Cabinet who had pushed for a "managed exit" from the European Union without a deal.

Ms Leadsom is currently struggling to garner support from MPs in the Conservative leadership contest, with just two parliamentarians having publicly declared their support for her campaign.

The low number puts her at risk of being booted out of the race under new rules agreed this week by Conservative bosses, which will require hopefuls to have the support of at least eight MPs to take part in the race.

Two candidates - ministers James Cleverly and Kit Malthouse - pulled out of the contest on Tuesday ahead of the move by the 1922 Committee of backbench Tory MPs.