Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Tory Tempers Fray as MPs Vote in Second Ballot for Leadership Race; Leadsom Attacks May over Migrants and Gove Is Branded 'A Backstabber'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Tory Tempers Fray as MPs Vote in Second Ballot for Leadership Race; Leadsom Attacks May over Migrants and Gove Is Branded 'A Backstabber'

Article excerpt

Byline: Joe Murphy and Joseph Watts

TORY infighting intensified today as Andrea Leadsom attacked Theresa May for using migrants as "bargaining chips" and Michael Gove was confronted by an MP who called him a "backstabber".

The temperature rose as voting began among Conservative MPs in the second ballot to choose two names who will go forward to a vote of 300,000 party members.

Ms Leadsom had a boost when former party leader Lord Howard endorsed her and said that Mr Gove's dramatic betrayal of Boris Johnson last week had cost him his support.

However, she cut short a speech to supporters and refused to take questions from reporters who wanted to quiz her over accusations that she had exaggerated her City experience in a CV and in public statements. Addressing supporters at Millbank Tower this morning, she took aim at runaway favourite Theresa May for refusing to give a guarantee that European Union nationals living in the UK would retain their rights to stay.

"I tell you today, I will not use people's lives as bargaining chips," she said. "People need certainty and they will get it. I say to all who are legally here, that you will be welcome to stay."

Tory MPs backi ng her then staged a "march" to Parliament to vote in the ballot, chanting: "What do we want? Andrea Leadsom!" Her bandwagon was shaken by the row over her CV, though, and her team published a corrected version which they said made clear her seniority in banking had not been exaggerated.

Sources revealed a drama behind closed doors at a hustings in front of more than 200 Conservative MPs last night, where Mr Gove came under fire for destroying Johnson's campaign by withdrawing his support at the last moment.

The Justice Secretary made an emotional speech about how being adopted had affected his life. But when he told the meeting, "my name is not really Michael," an MP heckled: "no, it's Brutus!" Later he was attacked by Graham Stuart, a May backer, who said: "Michael, you promised your support for the leadership and then betrayed him.

"You have just claimed to represent the best traditions of the Tory Party and said we should vote for whoever we think would make the best prime minister, yet you and your supporters have spent the day doing the opposite. …

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