Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Rivals Attempt to Slow Down May's Juggernaut

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Rivals Attempt to Slow Down May's Juggernaut

Article excerpt

Byline: Shaun Connolly and Arj Singh Reporter

Conservative contenders, from left, Liam Fox, Theresa May, Stephen Crabb, Andrea Leadsom and Michael Gove THE race for the Tory leadership intensified as two prominent Leave campaigners moved to block Home Secretary Theresa May's path to Downing Street.

Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom insisted she would give Britain its freedom back, as former defence secretary Liam Fox declared leaving the single market was a price worth paying for immigration control.

Ms Leadsom urged those who backed Remain not to be "afraid" of the future as the minister insisted she was best placed to lead tough EU exit negotiations because she - unlike In campaigner Mrs May - believed Britain was best off free from the grip of Brussels.

But Mrs May's campaign is clearly carrying momentum as MPs prepared to vote for the first time today. A number of prominent former backers of Boris Johnson - including Cabinet minister Liz Truss and influential backbencher David Davis - have endorsed her.

Ms Leadsom won the backing of Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers, while Michael Gove was endorsed by former chancellor Lord Lawson and ex-Ulster Unionist leader Lord Trimble.

The Home Secretary now has at least 113 declared supporters among Conservative MPs - more than her four rivals combined - including eight members of the Cabinet, among them Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and Defence Secretary Michael Fallon.

Energy minister Ms Leadsom has consolidated her position in second position with at least 34 declared backers, against 25 for Justice Secretary Mr Gove and 21 for Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb. Former defence secretary Liam Fox is yet to reach double figures.

The 330 Conservative MPs will vote today in the first round of the election, with the poorest performing candidate being eliminated. Further rounds will take place on Thursday and the following Tuesday until only two contenders remain. …

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