Andrea Leadsom, British Energy Minister and Conservative Party leadership contender, speaks at a campaign rally in London on July 7, 2016
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July 11, 2016 6:05 AM EDT

British Conservative Party leadership candidate Andrea Leadsom has apologized to rival candidate Theresa May for her remarks in a recent interview in which she appeared to suggest that being a mother gave her an advantage over her childless opponent.

“I’ve already said to Theresa how very sorry I am for any hurt I have caused and how that article said completely the opposite of what I said and believe,” Leadsom told the Telegraph, although it is not clear if she apologized directly to May.

In the original interview, the Energy Minister told British paper the Times that May “possibly” had nieces and nephews. “But I have children who are going to have children who will be a part of what happens next.” She added: “Genuinely I feel that being a mum means you have a real stake in the future of our country, a tangible stake.”

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The comments provoked criticism from across the political spectrum, with calls for her to apologize to May, who has been open about her inability to have children.

Leadsom said that she was pressed into making the comments and that she has felt “under attack” and “under enormous pressure.”

“I was pressed to say how my children had formed my views. I didn’t want it to be used as an issue. Having children has no bearing on the ability to be PM. I deeply regret that anyone has got the impression that I think otherwise,” she told the Telegraph.

[Telegraph]

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