UK Politics

Tory leadership: Leadsom says CV criticism is 'ridiculous'

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Media captionAndrea Leadsom defends CV and calls for 'honourable' campaigning

Conservative leadership hopeful Andrea Leadsom has dismissed "ridiculous" criticism of her pre-politics career, saying her "incredibly varied" CV is "all absolutely true".

The energy minister rejected claims she had embellished details of her 25-year career in finance.

She also said she was "disappointed" at attempts by opponents to block her from the final ballot.

"I just want an honourable campaign," she told the BBC's Laura Kuenssberg.

Mrs Leadsom is up against Home Secretary Theresa May and Justice Secretary Michael Gove, with the result on 9 September.

One of them will be forced to drop out when the result is announced later, with the remaining two to go forward to a vote of the membership.

The winner will become Britain's next prime minister.

Mrs Leadsom's team has published a summary of her CV, after it was claimed - including by a former colleague - that her previous jobs were not as she had described them.

"I have not changed my CV," she told the BBC as MPs voted in their final ballot of the leadership contest.

There have been claims of underhand tactics in the Tory leadership contest, after it emerged that Justice Secretary Michael Gove's campaign manager had appealed to Mrs May's supporters to unite in an effort to block Mrs Leadsom's chances of getting on to the final ballot.


Andrea Leadsom's pre-politics career in the spotlight:

  • Managing director, De Putron Fund Management: Companies House documents have her registered as "marketing director", but she told the BBC she had indeed been managing director of her brother in law's firm, saying it was a small start-up in which people did more than one role
  • Barclays: In her biography she is described as "financial institutions director" whereas her published CV says she was a "deputy financial institutions director". Asked about the discrepancy she told the BBC that she was deputy head of the financial institutions group and the financial institutions director in charge of Barclays' relations with banks around the world.
  • Fund management: Although she worked for a fund management company, Mrs Leadsom told the BBC she had never described herself as a "fund manager". However MPs supporting her have described her as having been "running a fund" and managing "billions of pounds".

Nick Boles sent a text message to a number of MPs who support Mrs May, urging them to switch sides and back Mr Gove.

He said that although he thought it "overwhelmingly likely" the home secretary would win the contest, he was "seriously frightened about the risk" of Mrs Leadsom ending up in the run-off.

"What if Theresa stumbles? Are we really confident that the membership won't vote for a fresh face who shares their attitudes about much of modern life, like they did with IDS?" he wrote, referring to Iain Duncan Smith's election as Conservative leader in 2001.

He later issued an apology and said Mr Gove had been unaware of the plot.

Mrs May's campaign said MPs who wanted her as prime minister had to vote for her, adding: "There can be no space for tactical voting - this contest is simply too important to be playing games about who goes forward to the membership."

In her BBC interview, Mrs Leadsom said: "I am really not interested in other people's tactics, or whatever.

"I just want an honourable campaign."

She said Mr Boles's text message did not bother her, because it was "not honourable", adding: "One of the things I would hope to do as prime minister is to change that from the top by setting an example."

Image copyright AFP/Getty/EPA
Image caption Michael Gove, Theresa May and Andrea Leadsom are vying to become the next prime minister

Setting out her vision for the country in a speech earlier, Mrs Leadsom said she wanted to "spread prosperity to every corner of our country".

And she told BBC Radio 4's World at One that on becoming prime minister she would act quickly to "take back control of immigration".

Although other EU nationals would still be able to move to live and work in the UK until the UK leaves the EU, she said only those who were already in the UK at around the time she became PM would have the right to stay after Brexit.

The leadership ballot takes place between 09:00 and 16:00 BST, with the results to be announced shortly afterwards.

A growing group of Conservative MPs are calling for the contest to be accelerated with a result before 9 September.


Analysis

By John Pienaar, deputy political editor

By tonight, there'll be two contenders left.

Theresa May's the bookies' favourite. She's been called a "bloody difficult woman" but also good at her job. That's an insult she can live with, but they'll likely get harsher.

Michael Gove's hindered by his new-found notoriety as the best-mannered assassin at Westminster, after backing, then burying, Boris Johnson's dreams.

Last night, it emerged Mr Gove's campaign manager had appealed - unsubtly - to Theresa May's supporters to unite in an effort to kill off his fellow EU Leave campaigner Andrea Leadsom's chances. He later apologised.

Devoid of top-level political experience, she's already having to overcome doubts about her claim to have been a financial high-flyer.

A former colleague at investment firm Invesco Perpetual, Robert Stephens, has said "she didn't manage any teams, large or small and certainly did not manage any funds."

That was after a friendly MP, Bernard Jenkin, spoke of her history managing "hundreds of people and billions of pounds".

A CV listing the post Financial Institutions Director at Barclays later added the word "deputy".

An innocent error, according to Team Leadsom - and the MP who'd boasted of her high-powered background had merely been "bigging her up".

Maybe so, but the contest will be merciless. The fight for the top job in politics always is.


Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith - who is supporting Mrs Leadsom - warned colleagues against spending "the whole time stabbing each other in the back".

At a hustings on Wednesday night, Mrs Leadsom restated that she would not publish her tax return - unlike Mrs May and Mr Gove - unless she made the final two, saying she did not want to set a "precedent".

But Mrs Leadsom told MPs they could come to see a summary of her tax affairs personally if they wanted to.

Despite Mrs May's clear lead in Tuesday's first round vote - she got 165 votes of 329 cast - the home secretary has said she does not want the contest to be a "coronation".

The leadership contest has been sparked by David Cameron's decision to step down as leader and prime minister after the UK voted by 52% to 48% to leave the EU.


Andrea Leadsom's CV, as published by her campaign:

1984 - 85 Canadian / Chinese Corporate Finance Company: Junior Support

1985 - 87 EF Hutton: Trainee Broker, London Metals Exchange

  • 1987 - 97 BZW / Barclays
  • BZW - Sterling Commercial Paper
  • Barclays - Treasury, Sydney
  • BZW - Swaps
  • Barclays - managing investment banks business
  • Barclays - Deputy financial institutions director, managing global banking network
  • Barclays - Project director, preparing bank for the euro (including payments and cheques)

1997 - 99 - De Putron Fund Management: Managing director

1999 - 2009 - Invesco Perpetual: Senior investment officer and head of corporate governance

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