New audio footage has emerged in which prime ministerial candidate Andrea Leadsom has suggested that having children gives her an advantage over rival Theresa May in the race to Downing Street.
The energy minister, who has two sons and a daughter, said being a member of a “huge family” was an important part of who she was.
“I am sure she will be really sad she doesn’t have children so I don’t want this to be ‘Andrea has children, Theresa hasn’t’ because I think that would be really horrible,” Leadsom, a devout Christian, told the Times.
“But genuinely I feel being a mum means you have a very real stake in the future of our country, a tangible stake. She possibly has nieces, nephews, lots of people. But I have children who are going to have children who will directly be a part of what happens next.”
The comments were denounced by many Conservative lawmakers and May supporters, who used words like “vile”, “divisive”, “insulting” and “embarrassing” to describe them.
Leadsom fought back, denouncing the Times article on Twitter as “gutter journalism” and saying in a televised statement: “I want to be crystal clear that everyone has an equal stake in our society and in the future of our country.”
The row comes days after May spoke publicly for the first time of the sadness she and her husband Philip had experienced after being unable to have children.