Apparently, Andrea Leadsom only has the declared support of two MPs in the 2019 Conservative leadership contest, herself and Heather Wheeler. In contrast, Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Jeremy Hunt, or Dominic Raab all have at least two dozen supporters (each) among MPs.

I thought she has enough name recognition to place better... E.g. according to The Express:

Mrs Leadsom was a prominent member of the Leave campaign during the 2016 EU referendum.

She is a key Brexit campaigner and spoke with conviction during EU referendum debates.

Also Leadsom was a finalist with May in the 2016 leadership contest although she quit after her remarks on May's lack of children. Some commentators said that Leadsom ended up unexpectedly in that final contest, because Gove turned on Johnson. Nevertheless, Leadsom did a lot better in 2016 than this year.

So why is Leadsom so unpopular in the 2019 leadership contest?

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    Really this is the wrong way up - there are a lot of candidates for the job, so the question should be "who has support and why"
    – pjc50
    May 30, 2019 at 8:33

1 Answer 1


I'm conflicted about writing this as an answer, but I'm going to go on too long for a comment.

You're asking for internal motivations of others, so I don't think you're going to get a good answer. A number of candidates have called for a Clean Campaign pledge, so criticism of other candidates is likely to be low. Although the article makes clear that the clean campaign camp already has some issues.

The most likely reason for a lack of backing for Andrea Leadsom is that she pulled out of the race at the last second last time denying members a vote after having beaten other Pro-Leave candidates in the earlier stages.

Why back someone who has a track record of not following through, when the problem for many Pro-Brexit MPs, voters and commentators at the moment is that the current PM does not have the ability to follow through with her commitments?

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    May followed through with her commitments just fine, at least insofar as she made any. The problem was that she made those commitments (and her MPs were demanding that she make them) as if her government was living in some alternate reality where the opinion of her EU counterparts didn't carry much weight. May 30, 2019 at 9:06
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    @DenisdeBernardy She could have followed through on "No deal is better than a bad deal" though. Which is likely to be a theme of the upcoming Leadership Contest. Though in general I agree with you.
    – Jontia
    May 30, 2019 at 9:08
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    To my mind, "no deal is better than a bad deal" always felt like a bluff so obvious that the EU never took it seriously, and a PR stunt aimed at keeping the ERG behind her government. Even in the run up to the last deadline, the EU was warning that the risk of a No Deal scenario happening by accident is growing. The fact that they added the by accident bit speaks mountains about how they never took May's threat seriously. May 30, 2019 at 9:36

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