What Theresa May said about being a 'bloody difficult woman'

I've just returned from the last hustings for Tory MPs before they vote tomorrow in the next round to choose their new leader.

Andrea Leadsom was challenged about her refusal to issue her tax return.

Theresa May and Michael Gove have both published theirs.

Ms Leadsom invited MP colleagues to a private viewing of her earnings and tax arrangements, but she will not publish it unless and until she is in the final round.

She joked with MPs that she learns fast and wouldn't mention babies (that was a reference to her pitch on Monday when she spoke about the need to massage the cortex of babies' brains - it didn't go down well).

They also questioned her opposition to the high speed train line HS2 which runs through part of her constituency.

Ms Leadsom was accused of putting her local interests ahead of the economic needs of the north of England.

The candidates in the Conservative party leadership contest, (L-R) Theresa May, Andrea Leadsom and Michael Gove. Credit: Reuters

Michael Gove - less than a week after he ended Boris Johnson's ambitions to be the next prime minister - was questioned over his trustworthiness.

Theresa May was asked about Ken Clarke's unguarded comments yesterday that she was a "bloody difficult woman".

She gave a good answer to MPs (which I suspect was rehearsed): "Ken Clarke might have found me to be a 'bloody difficult woman'. The next person to find that out will be Jean-Claude Juncker (President of the European Commission)".

MPs cheered.

One MP also referred to an email from Mr Gove's campaign manager in which he appealed for votes in a bid to end Andrea Leadsom's hopes of making it through to the final round.

If the banging of tables was a measure of success then, Theresa May is looking like an assured winner.

Tomorrow, the candidate with the fewest votes will drop out and the final two names will be put before party members.

The new leader will be announced on 9 September.