Brexit campaigners 'disappointed' after Andrea Leadsom quits Conservative leadership contest

 'It's the death of the Tory party today,' says Arron Banks, co-founder of the Leave.EU campaign 

Alexandra Sims
Monday 11 July 2016 12:40
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Mrs Leadsom said she had felt 'under attack' since the row over her comments
Mrs Leadsom said she had felt 'under attack' since the row over her comments

Brexiteers, including Nigel Farage, have expressed their disappointment at Andrea Leadsom’s withdrawal from the Conservative leadership contest, leaving Theresa May to take up the role as Britain's next Prime Minister uncontested .

The former-Ukip leader Mr Farage, who had previously backed Ms Leadsom in the Tory leadership race, has said he is “disappointed” she “has decided to withdraw”.

His regret was echoed by MP for Lichfield, Michael Fabricant, who speaking to the BBC directly after Ms Leadsom’s withdrawal said: “My immediate reaction is in a way a little disappointment, because I know the party members, and I’m a former vice chairman of the party, will be perhaps upset that they didn’t get a choice and Theresa May herself said that she didn’t want a coronation.”

Arron Banks, the co-founder of the Leave.EU campaign and a former Conservative party donor, said over Twitter that it was “the death of the Tory party today”, adding “good”.

Steve Baker, co-chairman of Conservatives for Britain and one of Ms Leadsom’s prominent backers, said he was “bitterly disappointed”.

Former London mayor Boris Johnson - who abandoned the Conservative leadership race and later backed Ms Leadsom - said he had "no doubt" that Mrs May would make an excellent party leader and PM.

Mr Johnson said: "Theresa May will provide the authority and the leadership necessary to unite the Conservative Party and take the country forward in the coming weeks and months.

"Andrea's decision, which is both brave and principled, allows that process to begin immediately."

Andrea Leadsom bows out of race

Announcing her decision on Monday, Ms Leadsom said: “The best interests of our country inspired me to stand for the leadership. I believe that in leaving the EU a bright future awaits, where all our people can share in a new prosperity, freedom and democracy,”

"The referendum result demonstrated a clear desire for change - strong leadership is needed urgently to begin the work of withdrawing from the European Union.

“A nine-week leadership campaign at such a critical moment for our country is highly undesirable."

It follows a torrid week for the Tory leadership contender who came under attack from senior Conservative colleagues for her incendiary comments on Theresa May’s childlessness. In an interview this morning Ms Leadsom said that she felt she was “under attack, under enormous pressure”.

“It has been shattering,” she added.

Ms May will be formally confirmed as the new party leader as soon as the Conservative Party board has been consulted, Graham Brady, the chairman of the Tory backbench 1922 Committee, has said, although he refused to give an exact timetable.

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