Andrea Leadsom has set out her plans for the Tory leadership and denied UKIP connection


Andrea Leadsom has officially launched her candidacy for leader of the Tory Party and de facto Prime Minister today, with a speech that promised "fresh leadership" for the UK.

The MP for South Northamptonshire and minister for energy and climate change used the speech to talk about her plans for leaving the EU, building a greater Britain and why she should lead the party in this crucial phase.

She began on an upbeat note, stating that the decision to leave the EU presents Britain with a "huge opportunity". This theme continued throughout the speech, where Leadsom outlined her vision for extricating the country from the EU.

Her promises included the end of free movement of people, her intention to keep the exit negotiations as short as possible and a commitment to use money saved from Britain's membership of the EU directly on the NHS.

Theresa May makes her launch speech(Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Leadsom attacked May for her position on EU workers currently in the UK (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

She also took a dig at fellow candidate Theresa May on EU citizens currently living and working in the UK, saying "there is no way they will be bargaining chips" in the negotiation and stating they would be allowed to remain in the country.

In opposition to May, Leadsom said there would be no general election until 2020, claiming the Conservative Party ran on a mandate, and will stick by it.

At home, she said the "richest people will not be my priority" outlining support for a 'supercharged' Northern Powerhouse and increased spending on housing and transport.

Her positive outlook was viewed with scepticism by some, but welcomed by others

She went on to defend her lack of political record - she has only been in elected office since 2010 - talking about her background in charity work, her career in finance and her breadth of EU knowledge, claiming she is "better prepared" than the negotiations than anyone else.

It didn't make much of an impact on her detractors.

Leadsom finished the launch with the emphatic statement: "I have no allegiances to UKIP", in the face of claims she would bring Farage into her negotiating team for Brexit.