Could Tonbridge schoolgirl be the next Prime Minister?

PC Andrew Baldry

Former Tonbridge Grammar School pupil Andrea Leadsom has dramatically emerged as one of the front-runners to become the next Prime Minister.

Serving as the Government’s Energy Minister and MP for South Northamptonshire, she joined the race to replace David Cameron after he announced plans to step down in the wake of the EU Referendum result.

Ms Leadsom, who played a prominent role in a TV debate representing the Leave campaign, has received backing from fellow senior Conservatives including former Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith.

The door to Number 10 was leftwide open when the Brexit leader Boris Johnson made a shock announcement that he was not going to run for Prime Minister.

Ms Leadsom’s key rivals for the leadership are now Home Secretary Theresa May and Justice ­Secretary Michael Gove.

Ms Leadsom, aged 53, studied in Tonbridge ­during the early 1980’s, before gaining a political science degree at Warwick University, and spent 25 years as a city banker.

Rosemary Joyce, Head Teacher of Tonbridge Grammar School, revealed to the Times that the leadership contender has been back to the school to see its expanded facilities.

She said: “Andrea is still in touch with the school, and our students were delighted to host her when she visited.

“Whatever the politics, the fact that an alumna, Andrea Leadsom, is in a position to stand for the highest office in the country, is testament to Tonbridge Grammar School and should be an inspiration for what girls and boys from here can achieve.

Ms Leadsom is reported to have gained support from more than 50 MPs for her bid to become Prime Minister.

Speaking at her launch, she stressed that taking back Parliamentary sovereignty was a priority, along with reducing levels of immigration.

Ms Leadsom said: “I am delighted to say I have put in my nomination papers for the Conservative leadership. My reason for doing so is that I see a huge opportunity from the result of the Referendum.

“Britain can be so much better in the world,” she added. “The future for our children and grandchildren will be so great, but what we have to do now is all pull together and make that opportunity a reality.”

However, she suffered a small setback to her campaign when footage emerged of her speaking at a Parliamentary Affairs lecture in 2013 when she claimed it would be a ‘disaster for the economy to leave the EU’. She has since argued that her views have changed, as she believed the global economy had significantly altered.

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