- Allies of Andrea Leadsom claim she wants to become Britain’s first female Chancellor.
- The Conservative MP’s ambition is to be in 11 Downing Street, allies tell BI.
- Leadsom last month refused to rule out a bid to succeed Theresa May as Tory party leader.
- Leadsom insists her “sole focus” is making a success of Brexit legislation.
LONDON — Andrea Leadsom has told colleagues that she hopes to be the Britain’s first female Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Leadsom, who was in second place behind May in the last Conservative leadership race, has her eyes on the Treasury and “wants to be Chancellor” in the future, allies of the Tory MP have told Business Insider.
The MP for South Northamptonshire wanted to be promoted to either Home Secretary or Foreign Secretary in the Cabinet re-shuffle following Theresa May’s failure to win a majority in the June election, according to some reports.
Allies of Leadsom have dismissed these claims, suggesting that the Conservative minister’s true ambition is to make it into Number 11 Downing Street.
Leadsom’s allies add that she is not is actively angling to replace current Chancellor Philip Hammond, who reportedly faces a potential attempted coup in the aftermath of the upcoming budget.
However, her name has been floated as a potential candidate to replace Hammond, should he be forced out.
A Cabinet discussion on the Autumn budget held last week descended into “14 different job applications to be Chancellor,” The Times reported on Monday, with Leadsom’s name among a handful of ministers alleged to have made their opinions on the government’s economic policy known to Hammond and Prime Minister May.
Responding to claims, Leadsom told BI in a statement: “My sole focus is on making a huge success of our Brexit legislation. I am committed to my role as Leader, and to supporting the Prime Minister in delivering a successful Brexit as well as a positive domestic programme, creating a better future for all in this great country.”
Sharks circle Hammond
Hammond is enduring a difficult patch as Chancellor as he struggles to juggle the economic effects of Brexit with pressure on the government to reduce austerity and spend more money on areas like health and housing.
Some Tory party Brexiteers have accused Hammond of being overly-gloomy about Britain’s prospects outside of the EU. Nadine Dorries MP has publicly called for Hammond to go, claiming he is a “sour Eeyore” over Brexit.
Dorries was one of a number of Conservative MPs who suggested that the country needed a Chancellor with an “upbeat message” about Brexit.
“We don’t have that,” she told LBC earlier this month. “We have a sour Eeyore at the moment and that is not good for the economy, it’s not good for UK plc, it’s not good for business in general.”
First elected to the House of Commons in 2010, Leadsom has quickly risen to the top of the Conservative party, largely due to her vocal support for Britain’s departure from the European Union.
She stood to replace former prime minister and Tory leader David Cameron in 2016, and refused to rule out another bid to become Conservative leader in an interview with BI at party’s Autumn conference in Manchester.
“Anything can happen,” Leadsom said when asked whether she would consider a bid to succeed May as leader.
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