May versus Leadsom

The UK Home Secretary Theresa May and Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom are the two remaining candidates to succeed David Cameron as prime minister and leader of the Conservative Party. The party members will decide between the two in a vote on September 9. Who are these two women who want to govern the country after the Brexit vote?

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Phileleftheros (CY) /

Women don't clean up politics

Those who hope Theresa May or Andrea Leadsom will bring about a change in politics are only fooling themselves, Phileleftheros believes:

“The dominance of women in the leading Western nations is not the result of the elimination of a cliché, but of the creation of a new one. Namely that women are the 'nurses' of the political system, or even the 'cleaners' of corruption. What counts is the result. ... Theresa May claims among other things that 'many Britons benefit greatly from Sharia law' and flirts openly with obscurantism, while Andrea Leadsom champions the abolition of maternity rights and employees' rights in small businesses. What difference does it make if the political views being expressed are those of a man or a woman?”

Deutschlandfunk (DE) /

New PM needs a clear stance

The next prime minister, be it May or Leadsom, must work to unite the country, Deutschlandfunk stresses:

“Whoever wins must also win over the other 50 percent. That is, she must somehow represent, embody and implement both her own and the very opposite beliefs. ... The Brexit, with all its still unpredictable consequences for Britain, is now the reality that the British must look squarely in the face. Everything else, any further hesitating or manoeuvring, will only obscure this fact. ... At the same time, the need for unity has a snag if it boils down to nominating a candidate who is less in the public eye. This is not the time for 'muddling through' but for a clear position that at the same time does not rule out compromise for the sake of principles. If anything at all positive is to come from this frivolous step, that is.”

New Statesman (GB) /

Deportation proponent versus religious fanatic

The fact that two women are vying with each other to succeed Cameron is not a sign of an imminent feminist revolution, author Laurie Penny writes in the New Statesman:

“Neither Andrea Leadsom nor Theresa May are the figureheads anyone with a scrap of interest in women’s freedom would choose. ... Theresa May has a staggeringly right-wing record on immigration, has been involved in the deportation of refugee women fleeing rape and violence, and voted to cut abortion rights. Andrea Leadsom is a right-wing religious fanatic who did not vote for gay marriage. Both of them have stood up for welfare cuts that will hit women hardest. ... Women aren’t enchanted beings who bring light and harmony to politics by wafting fragrantly through the corridors of power. Women are just people. ... Real equality will only be possible when we realise that.”

More opinions

The Daily Telegraph (GB) / 10 July 2016
  May could be Britain's next Iron Lady