Region’s Tory grassroots were set to back Theresa May for prime minister

Home secretary Theresa May visiting Aid Industrial part of the 3 Sun Group on Harfreys Industrial Es

Home secretary Theresa May visiting Aid Industrial part of the 3 Sun Group on Harfreys Industrial Estate.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015

Theresa May has strong backing in East Anglia, our survey conducted over the weekend suggests.

The majority of Conservative councillors who answered our questions about who they were going to vote ahead of the shock withdrawal of Mrs Leadsom, said they were going to back Mrs May.

Of those who responded 63pc said they were going to back the home secretary, 19pc said they were going to back Mrs Leadsom, with 17pc undecided and 1pc saying she did not plan to vote because Boris Johnson was not a contender.

Of our sample 44pc said they had backed remain, 50pc had backed Brexit and 6pc did not tell us how they voted.

Ahead of Mrs Leadsom's announcement that she was standing down, concerns were raised about Mrs Leadsom.


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One Tory member said: 'Andrea Leadsom could be to the Conservative Party what Jeremy Corbyn is to the labour party – if elected it will be by the extreme unrepresentative end of the party and with minimal support from MPs. Corbyn is proving a disastrous decision for the Labour Party and currently also for democracy in the UK – but it could get worse.

Another said: 'Those of us who voted to leave have won the war, but now we need to win the peace in a manner of speaking. Those who continue to seek out divisions with colleagues based on their views on the EU will only succeed in keeping open wounds which we all need to heal.'

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But there are leave voters who are undecided. One said: 'While I really respect Theresa May, I find it difficult to see how she can lead the negotiations to leave the EU.'

And another leave voting Tory member said he believed they needed a 'completely new start, away from the 'Old Guard' and establishment'.

John Hinton, an Suffolk councillor, said: 'The 'Establishment' in or close to the Westminster bubble have lost the EU vote, but won the leadership contest and now must try and reassure the grassroots of the party, that shrinking body that effectively holds up its MP's and establishment, and the public at large, that their voice will be listened to and Brexit will be firmly negotiated without unsavoury human bargaining points and that the view of the many across the country will be reflected in the general direction that the party takes in the immediate future. Failure to do so will decimate the party membership further and effectively leave a vacuum, as there is currently no credible alternative.'

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