The former Leader of the House of Commons, Andrea Leadsom, launched her campaign for the leadership of the Conservative Party yesterday, claiming that her commitment to delivering Brexit by the 31 October deadline was a “hard red line” for her. Leadsom said that her approach as Prime Minister would be to “create a new offer to the EU,” provide “certainty” to businesses and “negotiate directly with the key heads of the EU.” She also commented that she would “never say never” to another referendum on Scottish independence, and said she did not believe that Parliament had the ability to prevent a No Deal Brexit.
This comes as the former Government Chief Whip, Mark Harper, also launched his campaign yesterday, claiming that he had a “credible, deliverable plan for Brexit,” which would involve “real and transparent discussions to change the backstop.” Harper refused to rule out No Deal but said “it just isn’t possible” to leave the EU by 31 October.
Meanwhile, International Development Secretary Rory Stewart launched his campaign, saying, “Nobody can get No Deal through Parliament, because we, including me, will stop No Deal going through Parliament”, adding, “My opposition to No Deal is unwavering – the best and securest way to take No Deal of the table is to vote for me to be our next Prime Minister.” Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Sajid Javid will be launching their campaigns today. Johnson was endorsed for the leadership last night by Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay. Analysis by Sky News has found that Johnson has so far collected the support of 74 Conservative MPs, ahead of Jeremy Hunt on 32 and Michael Gove on 30.
Elsewhere, the Times reports that Sir Mark Sedwill, the Cabinet Secretary, has been granted permission to hold talks with the two leadership candidates who reach the final stage of the contest in order to prepare for the new Prime Minister assuming office.