Tory leadership race live: Andrea Leadsom vows to ‘get things done’
Ten candidates will go into the first round of voting on Thursday.
More candidates in the Conservative Party leadership race are launching their campaigns.
Andrea Leadsom was first to set out her stall, saying she would be the one to “get things done”.
Sajid Javid posted a video urging voters to take a “fresh look” at the Conservative Party, as he focused on his heritage and business background.
Rory Stewart launched his campaign by claiming that the British people require “leadership”.
Contenders also face the first official hustings of Tory MPs on Tuesday.
Ten candidates will go into the first round of voting on Thursday after pro-Remain former minister Sam Gyimah pulled out admitting he had been unable to build sufficient support.
Here’s the latest:
Rory Stewart attacked leadership rivals advocating a no-deal Brexit, accusing them of peddling “fairy stories”.
“It is not just no to a deal. It is no to everything. It is no to Europe, it is no to trade, it is no to Parliament, it is no to reality. We are not a ‘no’ country,” he said.
“Underlying all these stories that the other candidates are putting forward that masquerade as optimism is a failure – a failure to grasp reality. What they are giving you is fairy stories.
“The way that you change that the world is being honest to the way the world is.”
While I would prefer to leave the EU with a better deal, we must not rule out no deal. If ultimately it came to a choice between no deal and no Brexit, I would choose no deal. Labour’s plans to seize control of the business of the Commons must be resisted. #ReadytoLead— Michael Gove (@michaelgove) June 11, 2019
International Development Secretary Rory Stewart has officially launched his bid to be next Tory leader and Prime Minister.
Addressing an audience inside the Spiegeltent, at the Underbelly Festival on London’s south bank, Mr Stewart said the British people wanted leadership.
Sajid Javid told the leadership hustings a Jeremy Corbyn government “would destroy democracy, the economy and the union”.
On Brexit, he said: “We’re the fifth largest economy in the world – we can’t have Brexit in name only, we cannot become rule takers.
“It’s not just about getting the message right, it’s about getting the messenger right too.”
Andrea Leadsom made her feeling on Speaker John Bercow very clear:
Contender Mark Harper said he did not think promising to leave the European Union on October 31 deal or no-deal was a realistic promise at his husting to Tory MPs.
He told reporters afterwards: “I think promising it and failing to do so would put rocket boosters under Nigel Farage and the Brexit Party, whereas what I want to do is destroy the Brexit Party.”
He also said it was “not surprising” he had not received many public endorsements as he was not one of the front runners, but that he was “confident” he would survive the first round of voting.
Tory leadership hopeful Dominic Raab spoke about his achievements negotiating at the Council of Europe on prisoner voting and his pledges to cut taxes at the hustings.
He said: “If we don’t deliver Brexit, we won’t get on to talk about all those other things we all care about. I want a fairer deal on the economy, to cut tax for the lowest paid.
“My tax cuts: raising the threshold for national insurance, taking a penny off the basic rate of income tax, will save £640 a year for the lowest paid.
“That’s a pay rise of £640 for hard-working British people. I think that’s the right thing to do.
“Also, I think it’s the smart thing to do. Jeremy Corbyn is going to caricature the next Prime Minister as the friend of the elites and the privileged, someone that looks after the wealthy.”
European Commission president Jean Claude-Juncker has issued a fresh warning that the next prime minister will not be able to renegotiate Theresa May’s Brexit deal.
Mr Juncker said it would be possible for some “clarifications” to the Political Declaration, which sets out the basis for negotiations on the future relationship between the UK and the EU.
However, he said that the Withdrawal Agreement – which includes the controversial Northern Ireland backstop – was not open for renegotiation.
“This is not a treaty between Theresa May and Juncker. This a treaty between the United Kingdom and the European Union,” he said in an interview with the Politico website.
“It has to be respected. It has to be respected by whomsoever will be the next British prime minister.
“There will be no renegotiations as far as the content of the Withdrawal Agreement is concerned.
“We can have some clarifications – precisions, additions – to the Political Declaration concerning the future of our organisations. The Withdrawal Agreement will not be renegotiated.”
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt was said to have gone down well among Tory MPs as he set out his stall in the leadership hustings.
Backer Penny Mordaunt said he urged MPs to come together, adding in a reference to the Union Jack: “Somebody said do we need more ‘jack and bull’ and I think what sets Jeremy apart from other candidates is it’s more jack, less bull.”
Fellow supporter Philip Dunne said: “He went down very well … he seemed to capture a lot of points that colleagues were really interested in and concerned about.”
Michael Gove was not asked about his cocaine admission at a Tory leadership hustings for MPs, one of his supporters, Nicky Morgan, said.
She said the Environment Secretary spoke about appealing to women and young people, and set out his stall on education and security – but that “nothing at all” came up about the revelations over the weekend.
He was asked by the Chancellor Philip Hammond if he would commit to fighting the contest to the end, to which Ms Morgan said he told him: “100% I will do that – we can’t have another coronation.”
EU supporter and Brexit opponent Steve Bray held a protest outside the building in Westminster where Andrea Leadsom and Mark Harper held their campaign launches.
Ms Leadsom insisted MPs and Commons Speaker John Bercow would not be able to block Brexit on October 31.
“The Speaker does not have executive powers, those are reserved for the Government,” she said.
“Parliament can express opinions and Parliament can amend or reject legislation. So it’s simply not the case that the Speaker has the means to stop a no-deal exit.
“The law says we are leaving at the end of October and it is very difficult to see, with a Government determined to leave at the end of October, how you could actually prevent that from happening.”
At a lunch in Westminster, Tory leadership hopeful Andrea Leadsom said she would “never say never” to the prospect of a second Scottish independence referendum.
She said: “The reason I say ‘never say never’ is because I do not think that there should be another independence referendum in Scotland, I do not think it’s in their interest, but on the other hand I am a big believer in devolution.
“So, what I just want to say is I am not going to stand here and utterly rule it out because I think that that is disrespectful.
“But I would very strongly fight against a second referendum, which I don’t think is in the interest of Scotland and it’s definitely not in the interests of the UK.
“What I think we have to be doing is promote the strength of the UK working together far stronger, far more than we have done and I have a number of policy areas that I would use to try and make that happen.”
Mark Harper said it was not possible to leave the EU by October 31:
Michael Gove has been questioned further about his admission that he took cocaine in the 1990s.
Asked what led him to take the class A drug, he replied: “We are all sinners in a fallen world.”
He remained resilient at a suggestion he had been damaged by the fallout and, asked whether he would stand aside in his bid for Number 10, bluntly answered: “No.”
Watch: Quickfire questions for Andrea Leadsom
Being interviewed on Tuesday, Mr Gove said: “You can come from my own background but if your priorities seem to be skewed towards the already fortunate in society that’s insane.”
Pressed at The Times CEO Summit on whether he was discussing Mr Johnson’s tax proposals, Mr Gove was received with laughter when he replied: “I wasn’t thinking of any one particular candidate, but I do think his tax proposals are mistaken.
“I think that there are two tests that I would apply to any tax cut. Does it par economic growth and does it help the most disadvantaged in our society?
“A tax cut that concentrates on helping the wealthiest pensioners most of all is not a tax cut which either improves productivity or generates a greater level of social equity.”
Meanwhile, Michael Gove said it is “insane” to have policies skewed towards the wealthy, before calling rival Boris Johnson’s tax proposal “mistaken”.
The Environment Secretary said candidates should be judged on their qualities in office and not on their backgrounds, as he fended off further questions about his past cocaine use.
His fellow Brexiteer Mr Johnson, the current front-runner in the race to become prime minister, has pledged a tax cut for workers earning over £50,000.
On a lighter note, Andrea Leadsom admitted she is a fan of reality show Love Island, describing it as a “really entertaining” watch.
The former cabinet minister said the ITV show was a “great programme” and that she had particularly enjoyed an episode in which the contestants were given dolls.
Asked if she had ever watched Love Island, she told the Press Association: “I have.
“I watched a clip of the one where they were talking about Brexit, and whether that meant you couldn’t go on holiday any more in Europe, which I was slightly taken aback by.
“But actually, the one I really enjoyed was where they had those dolls that were supposed to be their babies, and I thought that was quite amusing – they were all caring for a doll.
“Great programme, really entertaining.”
Watch: Andrea Leadsom says UK must leave the EU by October 31
He dismissed the idea of idea of proroguing Parliament, saying it would “test our constitution to destruction”, adding he did not want to “drag the monarch into the issue” and endanger the union.
But he did say the UK would have to be out of the EU by May 2020’s local elections because “we’re not going back to the country in any set of elections before we’ve left”.
And he suggested he would consider a no-deal Brexit at that point if no changes to the Withdrawal Agreement were forthcoming from Brussels.
“If we approach our European Union partners in spirit of openness, and we bust a gut, we do everything we can to get a deal, and they are simply not prepared to budge, then in those circumstances, and only in those circumstances, do I think there will be a majority in the House of Commons to leave without a deal,” he added.
Mr Harper sought to play up his working-class credentials in a session where he invited journalists to “ask him anything”, and admitted he was the outsider in the race to replace Theresa May, calling himself a “serious underdog”.
On Brexit he said he is the only candidate with a “realistic and credible” plan, adding he was “comfortable leaving without a deal”, but said it is “better to have a deal”.
He added that he did not “think you can credibly say you’ve done everything humanly possible to get a deal” by the end of October, saying at that point there would not be a majority in Parliament to allow a no-deal.
Meanwhile, Mark Harper said it is “not going to be possible” to leave the EU on October 31 as he made his pitch to be the next prime minister.
The former immigration minister admitted he might upset some in his party by not promising to deliver Brexit by the current Article 50 deadline.
But at his official campaign launch he said: “It is not credible to say you can renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement and get it through both Houses of Parliament by October 31.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock leaves after a Cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street.
Mr Hancock, who launched his leadership bid on Monday, said it was essential that all the contenders opened themselves up to public scrutiny, as Boris Johnson faced pressure to set out his position in public.
The clear frontrunner in the contest, who has said Britain must leave the EU by October 31, deal or no-deal, appears determined to avoid any chance of mistakes which could damage his prospects.
Mr Hancock told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: “I certainly think that everybody who puts their name forward to be prime minister should be open to scrutiny, should be accountable, should come on the Today programme and on other broadcast programmes.
“I think everybody should participate in the proposed TV debates and I think we have got to ask the question, why not?”
Watch: Andrea Leadsom makes her bid for Tory leadership
Mark Harper posted a video to Twitter prior to a press conference launching his campaign.
“I’m about to take lots of questions from journalists, I think it’s really important anyone doing this job is held accountable,” he says in the video.
Andrea Leadsom also outlined her plans for a carbon-neutral economy.
She said: “A top priority for me will be an unequivocal commitment to our environment, I recognise the climate emergency.
“I will task a cabinet committee to set up an action plan within 12 months for a zero-carbon future for the UK, I will focus our industrial strategy on the clean growth tech sector focusing on new jobs, skills and export potential.
“I will use some of our overseas development aid to help developing countries decarbonise and protect our world – it’s the right thing to do and we can show true global leadership.”
Meanwhile, Sajid Javid launched his leadership campaign video with a focus on his heritage and business background.
The Home Secretary, 49, pledged to “deliver Brexit” and convince voters to take a “fresh look” at the Conservative Party.
Outlining her plan to deliver Brexit, she said: “The first step is to create a new offer to the EU by introducing new legislation in July to enable citizens’ rights, the future for Gibraltar, the security relationship, air transport arrangements and other sensible elements of the Withdrawal Agreement to be in place by October 31 with their agreement.
“The second step is to give certainty to business by ramping up preparations for our exit in all circumstances, speeding up work for alternative arrangements on the Northern Ireland border and proposing specific arrangements for certain supply chains and sensitive sectors via a temporary free trade agreement.”
She continued: “The third step is to negotiate directly with certain heads of the EU 27 over recess making clear that we will be leaving on October 31 and setting out the raft of temporary measures including that free trade deal that could be in place in time for a managed exit.
“The final agreement between us would then be agreed at a UK-led summit in Northern Ireland in September where proposed new EU commissioners would be invited to take part alongside EU heads of government.
“They, and we, need to move on – my managed exit will enable that to happen with minimal disruption.
“After Brexit I will set up work streams with cross-party involvement to establish the future relationship with the EU.”
Mrs Leadsom said: “Over the past three years politics has failed dismally – it has failed to deliver on the biggest democratic decision in our history.
“Fulfilling that democratic decision is urgent and vital, it cannot and will not be put off any longer.
“Leaving the EU on October 31 is for me a hard, red line.”
She said she would focus on “bringing the country back together and healing divisions” and listed her priorities as building new homes, cutting crime and promoting business.
Mrs Leadsom also promised to help the UK transform into a carbon neutral economy.
She said she had spent an “uncomfortable” three years in government to fight for Brexit, adding: “I persevere and I get things done.”
Andrea Leadsom has launched her bid to be the next Tory leader, vowing to be the one to “get things done”.
Speaking at the Institute of Mechanical Engineers in Westminster, she said: “Outside the EU our United Kingdom has an extraordinary future – one that will build on a thriving economy to promote social justice, not only at home but right around the world.”
She continued: “Our country needs a leader who will be decisive, who will get things done, but will also be compassionate.
“Someone who will stand up for democracy, equality and fairness – giving every single one of our citizens the chance to fulfil their own aspirations.”
Leadership hopeful Sajid Javid said he would choose a no-deal Brexit over remaining in Europe.
“If we got to the end of October and the choice was between a no-deal and no Brexit I would pick no deal,” he told the BBC, adding his “focus” was getting a deal.
“The three things that we need to deliver, which are absolutely essential, (are) Brexit by the end of October this year, unifying the country – that’s bringing people together – keeping Corbyn out of Number 10.
“And I think my own background, my life experience and my vision for the country will deliver on all three.”
He said he has a “very detailed” Brexit plan “which I think is the most credible of any of the Brexit plans out there”.
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said he has never taken Class A drugs, after the Tory leadership contest became enveloped in the issue.
“I’m a working-class kid, I could never afford Class A drugs and I wouldn’t want to,” he told The Times CEO Summit.
He also branded Conservative leadership front-runner Boris Johnson “out of touch” over his pledged tax cuts.
Watch: Who are the 10 contenders?
Meanwhile, top Tories arrived at Downing Street for a Cabinet meeting this morning.
In a message to Boris Johnson, Matt Hancock said “the front-runner has never won before”.
Mr Johnson has steered clear of radio and TV studios so far in the campaign, and Mr Hancock told Today: “I certainly think that everybody who puts their name forward to be prime minister should be open to scrutiny, should be accountable, should come on the Today programme and on other broadcast programmes.
“I think everybody should participate in the proposed TV debates and I think we have got to ask the question ‘Why not?'”
He said the candidates should “come and be scrutinised because that is the best way to ensure that we get the best next prime minister”.
Tory leadership contender Matt Hancock said he would put his Brexit plan to the Commons within days of entering Number 10.
He claimed that having a mandate from the Commons would result in co-operation from Brussels to put a time limit on the backstop.
Mr Hancock told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “As prime minister I would propose to put my plan, which I have already published, to the House of Commons, in principle, immediately and therefore show the European Union that this plan is deliverable through the House of Commons.”