LONDON - British Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom has apologised to Interior Minister Theresa May for remarks suggesting being a mother made her a better candidate for prime minister, media reports said on Monday (July 11).
The row broke out after Mrs Leadsom, a mother of three, said in an interview with The Times of London that having children meant she had "a very real stake" in Britain's future.
Mrs May, who is the favourite to succeed Mr David Cameron as leader of the ruling Conservative Party and therefore PM, is childless.
Mr Cameron is stepping down after failing to convince Britons to vote to stay in the EU in the June 23 referendum.
Mrs Leadsom told the Daily Telegraph: "I've already said to Theresa how very sorry I am for any hurt I have caused."
She later said having children had "no bearing on the ability to be PM".
Mrs Leadsom made her original comments during an interview in the Times last week, in which she discussed her bid in the Conservative Party election, which will name the new leader by Sept 9.
The article quoted Mrs Leadsom as saying Mrs May, the Home Secretary who is her opponent in the leadership race, "possibly has nieces, nephews, lots of people".
She added: "But I have children who are going to have children who will directly be part of what happens next."
Mrs Leadsom has accused The Times of "gutter journalism" and said she was pressed to comment on motherhood, but the daily has stood by its reporting.
She told the Telegraph in an interview on Monday the row had left her in tears feeling under attack, and said she had been guilty of naivety.
“I absolutely said, what I specifically said, is that motherhood should not play a part in the campaign. I was pressed to say how my children had formed my views,” she told the Telegraph.
“Having children has no bearing on the ability to be prime minister.”