Andrea Leadsom is finding out the hard way that life in the public eye is much harsher as a high-profile politician than a little-known MP.
Last week, the newly-appointed environment secretary made the headlines for all the wrong reasons during the Conservative Party leadership contest, for telling the Times newspaper that being a mother gave more of a “stake” in the country’s future than Theresa May.
Leadsom and May were set to do battle to become David Cameron’s successor until the former pulled out of the race on Monday, meaning May automatically became the next Tory leader and prime minister.
Leadsom — who was appointed to the cabinet by May on Thursday — faces a new headache after another part of her interview with the Times was published in early hours of Friday morning, in which she claims she doesn’t hire male nannies to look after her children in case they are paedophiles.
In the interview, Leadsom told The Times:
“As an employer we’re not — let’s face it — most of us don’t employ men as nannies, most of us don’t. Now you can call that sexist, I call that cautious and very sensible when you look at the stats. Your odds are stacked against you if you employ a man. We know paedophiles are attracted to working with children. I’m sorry but they’re the facts.”
Leadsom’s suitability for the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs position was being questioned before this latest revelation, due to the MP’s support for repealing the national ban on fox hunting — a highly contentious issue in the UK. An unnamed source at the civil service told the Huffington Post’s Paul Waugh “the new PM is basically trolling the civil service with these appointments,” according to daily email Waugh sends to subscribers.
Now, the MP for South Northamptonshire is likely to come in for a fresh wave of criticism as her comments regarding male nannies are likely to insult men working in the industry.
Labour’s Lucy Powell, who recently resigned from her shadow Education Secretary role, told The Times: “These comments show an enormous lack of judgment on Andrea’s part.
“She should know as well as I know that not only are men just as capable of doing childcare jobs but we should want to encourage more men into those jobs as they can bring other benefits.”
Leadsom’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.
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