Andrea Leadsom’s call for ‘patrotic’ Brexit coverage prompts anger – The Guardian

Andrea Leadsom’s call for ‘patrotic’ Brexit coverage prompts anger – The Guardian

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Andrea Leadsom, theleader of the House of Commons, has come under fire for calling on broadcasters to be “a bit patriotic” in their Brexit coverage.

The outgoing Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron, described Leadsom, who stood for the leadership of the Conservative party last year, as “sinister” for her comments on the BBC’s Newsnight.

She said: “It would be helpful if broadcasters were willing to be a bit patriotic. The country took a decision, this government is determined to deliver on that decision.”

Emily Maitlis, who was presenting the show, asked Leadsom if she was accusing broadcasters of being unpatriotic because they questioned whether Theresa May was in a position of strength in negotiating with EU leaders.

“Are you accusing me of being unpatriotic for questioning how negotiations are going, questioning whether you have the position of strength that she said she wanted?” she said.

Leadsom replied: “I’m not accusing you of anything, Emily. I’m simply saying we all need to pull together as a country. We took a decision a year ago today to leave the European Union, we have a very strong hand and we are very well prepared for the negotiations.”

Farron said: “This is a sinister threat to the free media. How dare Andrea Leadsom tell the press what they should think, this isn’t a George Orwell book. She needs to apologise for these comments and realise what she said was frankly stupid.”

Leadsom previously caused controversy when, during the Tory leadership battle after David Cameron’s resignation, she told the Times: “Genuinely I feel that being a mum means you have a very real stake in the future of our country, a tangible stake.”

The comments provoked uproar and caused Leadsom to withdraw from the race, after her rival Theresa May had spoken about how she and her husband, Philip, were affected by being unable to have children.

Leadsom, a leading Brexit campaigner, also faced challenges over her CV during the leadership contest, in particular on some of the roles she held in the City.

On Friday, EU leaders poured cold water on May’s hopes for an early deal on citizens’ rights at a Brussels summit.

Donald Tusk, the European council president, said her plan fell below Brussels’ expectations and could worsen the situation of the 3 million EU citizens living in the UK, while the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, said they did not represent a “breakthrough” in Brexit talks.

The prime minister insisted her offer was “fair and serious” and should reassure EU nationals in the UK that their lives will not be affected.

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