Could Andrea Leadsom’s journey to the top have been scuppered by a verbatim transcript?
Just to fill you in if you’ve been living under a rock for the past few weeks (although, to be honest, I wouldn’t blame you if you had), on the afternoon of Wednesday 13th July, Theresa May will take over from David Cameron as leader of the Conservative party and, by extension, the role of Prime Minister. May has won the leadership race unchallenged, after rival Andrea Leadsom pulled out unexpectedly this Monday.
Such speedy shake-ups of the status quo seem to be ten-a- penny these days. It seems like a distant memory that just a few weeks ago the nation was just starting to contemplate the idea of Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Leadsom may not be the first politician to find themselves plummeting from hero to zero over the course of a weekend. But there was a certain element of this chapter in the ongoing saga that is Post-Brexit Britain which caught our eye here at Take Note.
The episode which is widely believed to have destroyed Leadsom’s credibility as a candidate was an interview with journalist Rachel Sylvester in The Times. The article ran with the headline ‘Being a mother gives me edge on May – Leadsom’
and asserted that Leadsom had claimed to be more invested in the future of the country (and therefore a better choice for PM) due to her having children and grandchildren.
Leadsom was quick to respond, tweeting that the article was, ‘Truly appalling and the exact opposite of what I said. I am digusted.’ On the surface of it, her rage seemed quite reasonable. Imagine being misrepresented like that in a national newspaper at such an important time?!
Unfortunately for Leadsom, The Times soon responded by releasing an audio recording of the relevant section of the interview, accompanied by what we’re calling the Leadsom Transcript:
‘So, really carefully, because I am sure, I don’t really know Theresa very well but I am sure she will be really sad she doesn’t have children so I don’t want this to be ‘Andrea has children, Theresa hasn’t’, because I think that would be really horrible but, genuinely, I feel being a mum means you have a very real stake in the future of our country, a tangible stake. She possibly has nieces, nephews, lots of people. But I have children who are going to have children who will directly be a part of what happens next. So it really keeps you focussed on what are you really saying, because what it means is you don’t want a downturn but never mind, ten years hence it will all be fine, my children will be starting their lives in that next ten years so I have a real stake in the next year, the next two.’
The old adage that ‘A lie can travel halfway around the world before the truth can get its boots on’ has never been more true than in this age of Twitter and rolling news.
Journalists, HR Managers take heed! The ability to prove both instantly and objectively exactly what was said in that all important meeting really could be the most useful tool in your toolbox right now. Never underestimate the power of the transcript!