news

Cheshire West Council opposition leader defends Andrea Leadsom hours before she quits race

Frodsham councillor Lynn Riley speaks on BBC Radio 5 Live

CWaC opposition leader Lynn Riley (l) and Tory leadership contender Andrea Leadsom

Tory Cheshire West opposition leader Lynn Riley defended Andrea Leadsom over her comments on motherhood in the party’s leadership fight -hours before she quit the race.

The Frodsham councillor appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live breakfast to discuss the potential successors to David Cameron on Monday (July 11).

Mrs Leadsom pulled out at midday, leaving Theresa May as the only candidate still standing.

The South Northamptonshire MP was accused of suggesting being a mum made her a better candidate after remarks she made in an interview with the Sunday Times.

She accused the paper of ‘gutter journalism’ and maintained she was misrepresented, but has apologised to her rival for ‘any hurt caused’.

The Times released an audio recording of the interview.

In it, she said: “Genuinely, I feel being a mum means you have a very real stake in the future of our country, a tangible stake.

“She possibly has nieces, nephews, lots of people. But I have children, who will directly be a part of what happens next.”

Theresa May(Image: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire)

Host Nicky Campbell said the words were ‘clumsy’ and questioned how Mrs Leadsom would cope if she was to become the next Prime Minister.

Cllr Riley appeared on the show alongside a Wiltshire Tory councillor Mary Douglas, who said it was actually the media who should apologise.

The Frodsham representative agreed with her assessment.

She said: “There will always be people who want you to look behind you at what has been and what the current standard operating protocol might be.

“I think what both Theresa and Andrea bring is an opportunity post-Brexit for this country to look forward in a different way.

Outgoing Prime Minister David Cameron(Image: Andrew Yates/PA Wire)

“What we are going to see now and the media probably won’t like this, we are going to see a very different kind of politics. The media is going to have to respond to that.

“Both of the candidates have talked about a kinder politics and a broader politics.”

Cheshire West Tory MPs Graham Evans and Antoinette Sandbach had already backed Mrs May for the top role.

Campbell then moved on to asking the CWaC opposition leader about Mrs May’s refusal to clarify whether EU nationals will be allowed to stay in the UK following the referendum result.

Cheshire West and Chester Council opposition leader Lynn Riley

Cllr Riley said: “I think again this is about looking at what sits behind those words that the media are so happy to seize upon. One phrase, one sentence out of a whole interview.

“I think what Theresa May is really saying if you want one word it’s about cohesion and inclusivity. She is talking about reaching on a national level and within the Conservative party.

“If you actually look at what she is saying it’s about bringing a nation together.”

What do you think of this story? Let us know in the comments below.

View full mobile page