Should the UK’s next prime minister be a mother? Andrea Leadsom, one of the two candidates for the job, seems to think so. The anti-EU politician appeared to tell the London Times that the fact she had children gives her a greater stake in the future of the country.
Her only remaining rival for the leadership of the British Conservative Party, and the nation’s top job, is veteran politician Theresa May, who is married but has no children. May is the favorite to succeed David Cameron as prime minister but the relatively inexperienced Leadsom has performed surprisingly well in the leadership election. Leadsom was a member of the pro-Brexit campaign while May was a prominent supporter of remaining.
“I am sure Theresa will be really sad she doesn’t have children,” Leadsom told the Times, “so I don’t want this to be ‘Andrea has children, Theresa hasn’t’ because I think that would be really horrible, but genuinely I feel that being a mum means you have a very real stake in the future of our country, a tangible stake.”
Members of Britain’s parliament have called the comments ‘vile’ and ‘insulting’. Leadsom and her surrogates have attacked the reports, claiming she was misquoted or misinterpreted. However, the transcripts and recording released by the Times clearly show her claiming motherhood makes her a better choice.
The UK has not had a female prime minister since Margaret Thatcher left office in 1990. She had two children. Leadsom has claimed she could be another Thatcher. Leadership contests in the UK rarely involve candidates’ private lives but with two women the only remaining contenders it seems like the gloves are off.