POLITICS

Andrea Leadsom, Who May Have Told George Osborne To 'F**k Off', Joins His Treasury Team

09/04/2014 15:38 BST | Updated 09/04/2014 16:59 BST
Chris Radburn/PA Wire
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, delivers a keynote speech on the economy during a visit to Tilbury Docks in Essex.

Tory MP Andrea Leadsom has been appointed the new economic secretary to the Treasury in a surprise reshuffle prompted by Maria Miller stepping down as culture secretary amid a row over her expenses.

Leadsom's appointment is set to shake up the Treasury team, as the independent-minded MP was reported to have once told her new boss George Osborne to "f**k off" when he tried to persuade her not to vote against the government by supporting a motion calling for an EU referendum back in 2011.

However, both Leadsom and the Treasury denied at the time that the incident took place.

The Tory MP broke ranks in 2012 to urge the chancellor to apologise to his rival Ed Balls for saying he had "questions to answer" over the Barclays rate-fixing scandal.

Leadsom, who sits on the Treasury Select Committee, told BBC Radio 4's World Tonight programme that Osborne had made a mistake by claiming that figures in Gordon Brown's inner circle were involved in pressurising Barclays into altering the key lending rate.

However Tories are optimistic that Leadsom and Osborne will be able to get on well as Treasury colleagues.

A Tory MP told HuffPost: "She is incredibly talented and an asset to the Treasury. She's a very popular choice amongst backbenchers (as is Nicky Morgan). I'm not sure history with GO overrides talent."

Leadsom's appointment comes alongside Nicky Morgan's as financial secretary, while Sajid Javid was moved up into cabinet to be made culture secretary and minister for equalities.