By Sophie Meakin and Charlie Keegan
Andrea Leadsom, a controversial figure according to some, spoke at the University of Warwick on Thursday the 19th of January. She mentioned her position as Secretary of State for The department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), and voiced her opinion on leaving the EU, which was the ‘best thing’ that Britain could have possibly done in her eyes. Indeed, this judgement may have been particularly disputable amongst some members of the audience especially given the younger generation’s’ propensity to vote to remain. Nonetheless, she was greeted with respect and the attention of all those gracing H0.52 with their presence that day.
After failing to become MP for Knowsley South in 2005, Mrs. Leadsom was elected as the MP for South Northamptonshire in 2010 and joined the government benches in 2014 as Economic Secretary to the Treasury. This is a role she spoke about in great detail, outlining her accomplishments and achievements during her time in office. These included cutting regulations in certain areas and opening the stock exchange a record number of times. She then proceeded to outline her movements to Minister of State for Energy under David Cameron’s leadership. This is a role she spoke about fondly but did mention that her previous role was her ‘dream job’. Despite some controversy at her initial start to the role, namely ‘Is climate change real?’, she appeared to have a genuine love and enthusiasm for her department and its remit. This drive was then brought into her role as Secretary of State for DEFRA, where she expressed huge ambitions in shaping the ‘blank slate’ of legislation surrounding her department, thanks to Brexit.
She further spoke about politics for the younger generations and how much they can achieve with it, encouraging us to consider a career in government. She revealed her own reasons behind entering politics (even though she did so past the age of 40, something not often done for government ministers), directly stating that being afraid for her family and her own life during the Cold War was particularly distressing. Her childhood experiences were particularly interesting in explaining her motivation towards becoming an MP at the mere age of 13, issues we are unable to relate to in today’s society, but are nonetheless fascinating to hear about from a candidate in the 2016 Tory leadership race.
Therefore, I urge you not to judge her through her firm and resolute perspective in leaving the EU, but to judge her on her passion towards enhancing the United Kingdom, drive for getting the best deal for the UK during Brexit, and her enthusiasm for her department and constituency.