Andrea Leadsom stumbles over question of whether God speaks to her
‘I absolutely am a Christian … It absolutely acts in the background.’
It is the one question that Tony Blair was most afraid of answering.
And just in case any journalist didn’t get the message, Alastair Campbell was often on hand to prevent the prime minister from getting stung by the question about his prayers.
As the former prime minister's spin chief is said to have famously told one American journalist: "We don't do God.”
Campbell made the comment to David Margolick, a long-time contributing editor at Vanity Fair. The journalist reported the comments in an essay in the magazine in June 2003, titled 'Blair's Big Gamble'.
Alas, Andrea Leadsom does not have an all-powerful spin doctor in the mould of Campbell just yet.
Which perhaps explains the Tory leadership hopeful appeared somewhat unprepared when Channel 4 News political editor Gary Gibbon asked her: "Do you ever feel that you’ve been spoken to directly by God?"
As she digested the question, Leadsom appeared to stumble before eventually finding her feet. She said:
"That question is not one that is for open laughing at and poking fun at. I can absolutely feel that that’s what you would like to.
"So, I absolutely am a Christian and I am very proud of it. And it absolutely acts in the background in my desire to have a very honest campaign with high integrity and so on.
"But if you are asking me, am I going to be sort of saying ‘oh God’s told me to do this and do that’ well of course that’s not the case."
Leadsom has also said she did not like the gay marriage legislation.
Asked by ITV about her views on gay marriage, the Tory minister appeared to make a pitch to the right of her party.
She said: "I believe that the love of same-sex couples is every bit as valuable as that of opposite-sex couples. But nevertheless, my own view is that marriage in the biblical sense is very clearly, from the many, many Christians who wrote to me on this subject in their opinion, can only be between a man and a woman. I don’t agree with them to be specific.
"But what I do think is that I would have preferred civil partnership to be available to heterosexual and gay couples and for marriage to have remained as a Christian service for men and women who wanted to commit in the eyes of God.
"Civil partnerships are called marriage as well. The concern I had was the potential compulsion for the Church of England. I don’t think the Anglican church should be forced down a route when many Christians aren’t comfortable about it."
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