Energy minister Andrea Leadsom has pledged to protect the rights of EU citizens in the UK if selected as Conservative Party leader

Mark Sands
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Leave Campaigner Andrea Leadsom MP Launches Her Bid For The Conservative Party Leadership
Energy minister Andrea Leadsom has set out her stall in the Conservative leadership campaign (Source: Getty)

Energy minister Andrea Leadsom and Tory backbencher Liam Fox have formally launched their campaigns to replace David Cameron as Prime Minister, with Leadsom pledging to tackle executive salaries.

Speaking earlier today, Leadsom said that the UK had “rediscovered its freedom” in last week's Brexit vote, and sought to reassure Remain voters that they shouldn't be afraid.

Leadsom also committed to backing EU nationals currently living in the UK if selected by Conservative Party members.

Read More: Boris Johnson's five point plan for Brexit

"I commit today to guaranteeing the rights of our EU friends who have come here to live and work," she said.

"We must give them certainty there is no way they will be bargaining chips in our negotiations."

The energy minister said that her government would seek to institute a simpler tax system, focusing any cuts on the lowest paid and warning that Britain's richest "will not be my priority".

And Leadsom followed in the footsteps of Michael Gove in promising to look at executive pay.

"Those people who have become rich by winning boardroom payrises that bear no relation to company performance should be aware that I find this unacceptable," Leadsom added.

Read More: Tory leader candidates agree to publish tax returns

Meanwhile, Fox set out his own stall, committing the UK to separation from the EU by 1 January 2019, outlining his backing for a third runway at Heathrow, and planning reform to encourage building on brownfield land.

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