Christian MP says withdrawing from Tory leadership race was 'in the country's best interests'

Andrea Leadsom

Christian MP Dame Andrea Leadsom has opened up about why she withdrew from the Conservative Party leadership race in 2016.

The Conservative MP for South Northamptonshire addresses her decision in the latest episode of A Mucky Business, the podcast of former Lib Dem leader and fellow Christian MP Tim Farron.

After Leadsom bowed out of the leadership contest, it was Theresa May who went on to become Prime Minister.

Leadsom told Farron she came to the decision after speaking to other Christians.

"Ultimately, actually, it was the reflection of many days and talking to my Bible group leader, and to a number of other Christians and people who I have a great deal of regard for, about the fact that what was in the country's best interest," she said.

"If I won, there were already a number of colleagues saying that they would 'no confidence' me and, as we've discovered, you only need 100 of your side in the Conservative Party to 'no confidence' you, and you're back in a leadership campaign.

"On the other hand, if I lost, people would very legitimately be saying, 'What on earth did you make us wait nine weeks to get a new leader for?' So, that's why I withdrew."

She has no regrets, telling Farron she "would make the same decision today".

"I mean, hindsight is a wonderful thing, but at the time, it felt like the right decisions for the right reasons," she said.

Leadsom also discusses going to church and hearing arguments from the front about politicians being bad and Christians having to stay humble and "not put your head above the parapet".

She explained why she disagrees with this stance.

"I've always held the view 'no', you are given certain gifts and if you are wanting to fulfil your gifts, then you have to go for it. You can't just sit back," she said. 

"And so, I think ambition is perfectly fine."