Consideration of candidates to be PM – by John Redwood

We see a whirlwind in the press supporting Theresa May, and on the BBC, of all the negative questions asked of Andrea Leadsom during the MP part of the contest. Readers can see these debated freely elsewhere. In the interests of balance today I will report the more difficult questions asked of Theresa May and her team during the MP meetings and discussions, with a summary of how I understood her answers. I am seeking to be accurate and would be happy if supporters of Theresa wish to add to my understanding of her replies. Not all of these questions were asked by supporters of Andrea Leadsom.

Q: Why during your six years as Home Secretary has net migration risen so high and remained at very high levels, when you were pledged to cut it to tens of thousands in both the 2010 and 2015 Conservative Manifesto?

A: These are difficult and complex matters. The actions taken have reduced the totals compared to what would otherwise have happened. More measures are being considered.

Q: Why will you not reassure people currently legally settled here from other member states of the EU that they can stay following the UK’s exit?

A: It is important to negotiate these matters as part of the total package with the EU, which will take time and will be difficult.

Q: Will you today make an urgent statement saying that future migrants from the rest of the EU will come under new rules which will impose some limits on numbers.

A No

Q Will the Home Office start immediate work on a new system of migration control?

A No

Q What changes would you like to see to taxes, spending and borrowing going forwards?

A The reply made a joke about the individual MP asking but did not give an indication on any of the three possible topics raised

Q How quickly would you seek to get the UK out of the EU?

A Consider options and issues this year. Trigger Article 50 early next year and anticipate 2 years of difficult negotiations about a wide range of issues.

Q Did you deliberately soft peddle campaigning in the referendum for Remain because you were no convinced by their case?

A No. She said she campaigned with full commitment to the Remain cause. She also had to carry on work as Home Secretary. She made the good point that she did not say anything unusual or sensational, so the media did not find her remarks newsworthy.

Q Will you negotiate firmly with a strong wish to leave the EU?

A Yes, she accepts the verdict of the referendum. She will appoint a Brexiteer to a senior role in the negotiations.



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