LEADSOM IS NEW CON­TENDER May’s old ri­val waits in the wings to knife her in the back

The People - - NEWS FEATURES & - By Nigel Nel­son, PO­LIT­I­CAL ED­I­TOR and Keir Mudie, DEPUTY PO­LIT­I­CAL ED­I­TOR

IT is not David Davis or Boris John­son that Theresa May fears the most. It’s her old ri­val An­drea Leadsom.

The PM knows what DD and Boris are up to. The Brexit Sec­re­tary and For­eign Sec­re­tary want her job and make no se­cret of it.

Mrs Leadsom is a stealth fighter. If she is gath­er­ing sup­port to launch a sec­ond bid to oust her in a lead­er­ship con­test, she is go­ing about it qui­etly.

So qui­etly, Mrs May’s early warn­ing sys­tem in the Tory whips of­fice is strug­gling to pick it up on their radar.

A top Tory source told the Sun­day Peo­ple the Com­mons leader has not given up on her No10 am­bi­tions.

The source added: “Don’t write off An­drea. If the PM goes down, she’s wait­ing in the wings to pounce.

“She won’t launch a chal­lenge her­self but she’ll be in there if there is one.”

The Prime Min­is­ter is now get­ting to know what it must have felt to be Julius Cae­sar. The knives are out for her. The Ro­man dic­ta­tor was warned he would meet a sticky end on the Ides of March in 44BC.

And sure enough, at a meet­ing of the se­nate on that day, March 15, 60 con­spir­a­tors as­sas­si­nated him.

But he was sur­prised at his old friend Bru­tus be­ing one of them. Fast for­ward 2,000 years and for Bru­tus, read An­drea Leadsom – who has her own griev­ances with the PM.

Con­ser­va­tive Party dar­ling Boris John­son is now wounded af­ter a se­ries of gaffes, the lat­est at the Tory con­fer­ence in Manch­ester last week when he sug­gested Sirte in Libya could be­come another Dubai once the dead bod­ies were cleared red away.

His au­di­ence­di­ence took a sharp in­take of breath reath at the taste­less­ness of thehe re­mark and Tory MPs calledd for his sack­ing.

But Bri­tain’s itain’s top diplo­mat is in­ca­pablele of diplo­macy. On a trip to Myan­mar, he was ticked offf by the UK am­bas­sador for in­ap­pro­pri­ately nap­pro­pri­ately recit­ing Rud­yard ard Ki­pling in praise of Bri­tish colo­nial­ism.

Brexit Sec­re­tary David Davis hass his sup­port­ers but ut de­trac­tors say he is t he only Cab­i­net min­is­ter who can swag­ger sit­ting down. They be­lieve he thinks too much of him­self and would be even more in­suf­fer­able in the top job.

That gives Mrs Leadsom the chance to wave her strong Brexit cre­den­tials and come through the mid­dle as a com­pro­mise can­di­date.

Im­ploded

Mrs Leadsom, 54, re­ceived the sup­port of 66 MPs and came sec­ond to Mrs May in the first round of vot­ing in the July 2016 lead­er­ship bat­tle. But af­ter wide­spread r re­vul­sion at com­ments made by the mother of three ab about Mrs May be­ing child child­less, her cam­paign im­plo im­ploded. On be­comi be­com­ing PM, Mrs May madema Mrs Leadsom En­vir En­vi­ron­ment Sec­re­tary but d de­moted her to Leader of the House in this yea year’s June reshuf­fle. In an in­ter­viewin­terv with the UK edi­tion of Amer­i­canA web­sitewe Bu Busi­ness

RE­VOLT: Shapps plot­ted a coup

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