Tory leadership hopeful Andrea Leadsom faced a barage of criticism after reportedly suggesting that motherhood meant she would make a better prime minister than rival candidate Theresa May.
The Times newspaper published a front-page story headlined "being a mother gives me edge on May - Leadsom" based on an interview with the back-runner candidate. The energy minister has three children, while May has previously spoken about her struggle to conceive.
May hasn't yet responded to the comments, however Tory Mps such as Sir Alan Duncan and Sam Gyimah jumped to her defence denouncing Leadom's comments as "vile", "insulting" and "wrong".
Leadsom was quick to describe the story as "truly appalling and the exact opposite of what I said. I am disgusted."
"I asked her a very straight forward question... She raised Theresa May."
"I asked her directly 'what are the differences between you and Theresa May?'. She said 'economic competence and family'... she clearly thinks that is a big selling point with her."
Leadsom had told The Times: "So really carefully because I am sure, I don't really know Theresa very well but I am sure she will be really really sad she doesn't have children so I don't want this to be 'Andrea has children, Theresa hasn't' because I think that would be really horrible."
"But genuinely I feel being a mum means you have a very real stake in the future of our country, a tangible stake."
"She possibly has nieces, nephews, lots of people, but I have children, who are going to have children, who will directly be a part of what happens next."
"So it really keeps you focused on 'what are you really saying?'. Because what it means is you don't want a downturn but 'never mind, let's look ahead to the ten years', hence it will all be fine. My children will be starting their lives in that next ten years so I have a real stake in the next year, the next two."