Brexiteer continues feud with John Bercow in Commons - months after he retired

Business secretary Andrea Leadsom speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons.

Business secretary Andrea Leadsom speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons. Photograph: House of Commons/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

Former business secretary Andrea Leadsom has continued a feud with former Commons speaker John Bercow in the chamber - despite him retiring months before.

Making a personal statement following her departure from the cabinet, she took credit for instigating the Brexit vote, and took a swipe at Bercow.

She said: "With support from 200 colleagues, we (Andrea Leadsom, Chris Heaton-Harris and George Eustice) set out the case for EU reform but it soon became clear that that wasn't on offer and the rest is history," she told MPs.

"Now this time coincided with my first-ever rebellion against a three-line whip as one of 81 Conservatives to vote for a referendum on EU membership, leading to media speculation that I had told the (then) Chancellor George Osborne, if you'll forgive me Mr Speaker, to 'F off'.

"Well, I can assure you that there's only one person to whom I might be tempted to provide such frank advice, and that wouldn't include any former or current chancellor and certainly not any current speaker."

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She said: "The result of the EU referendum in June 2016 is right up there with England winning the World Cup for rugby 16 years ago. It's right up there with the look on John Bercow's face when I told him to apologise for calling me a stupid woman, and it is a bit behind the happiness of my wedding day."

Leadsom added: "My own part in Brexit was always about doing what I thought was best for the UK, and whatever has been said about it, my decision to withdraw from the final two was to give the country the urgent certainty that it needed.

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"I was sorry to see the resignation of my right honourable friend for Maidenhead (Theresa May). The leadership of our country and our party once again being challenged by the decision on the EU.

"No-one could have worked harder than her, and I feel sure history will judge her kindly."

Leadsom added that she genuinely believed Johnson was "the right person to seize the opportunities that await us outside the EU" and that it was "an honour" to serve as business secretary in his first cabinet.

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