Back in June and early July 2016 there seemed to be a real possibility that Andrea Leadsom could succeed David Cameron as leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister. She reached the run-off against Theresa May, having scored 83 in the first round of voting among Conservative MPs. Even though she trailed Theresa May's stonking vote of 199 there was a real feeling that in a two month campaign among party members she could pull it off.
And then she crashed and burned, all due to an interview she gave to The Times' Rachel Sylvester in which she appeared to use the fact that Theresa May hadn't even been a mother as grounds for arguing that she herself could better relate to the hopes and aspirations of British families. The interview was totally overhyped and over-interpreted, but the media rowed in behind Theresa May and the rest, as they say, is history.
Theresa May appointed Leadsom to her cabinet mainly because she had to, and gave her the lowly position of DEFRA Secretary. It was a difficult start to her cabinet career and she struggled in several media interviews. It was reported that she spoke "too often" in Cabinet on areas outside her immediate bailiwick, but there was a certain degree of misogny in many of these comments.
It was reported that she would be for the high jump in the next reshuffle, but she survived and was moved to be Leader of the House, a position which in previous times had been considered one of the leading cabinet posts, but nowadays only qualifies as "attending cabinet". It is a job she has excelled in.
From the handling of the Commons bullying issue, to taking on Speaker Bercow, Andrea Leadsom has impressed in the job. At business questions on a Thursday she displays a lightness of touch, which she has also brought to her media interviews. She's also learned to play a straight bat and avoid interview potholes.
It had been thought that Leadsom would be one of the first out of the cabinet door after the Chequers agreement, and it it is true that she wrestled with her conscience. In the end she came to the conclusion that she ought to stay and fight the Brexiteer cause within cabinet as she knew that outside she'd have little influence. If you look at what has happened to Esther McVey, it's hard to argue she was wrong.
A transparently nice person, she hasn't let leadership ambitions cloud her position. Unlike certain more obvious leadership contenders she has let her work speak for itself.
More and more people are noticing Andrea Leadsom and coming to the conclusion that if she continues to play her cards right, she could be a dark horse contender.
I am not tipping her to win any leadership contest, but I think she will certainly have another go. She has acquired a quiet surity and it will be interesting to see how she plays the next few weeks. She has managed to walk the tightrope of being loyal to the Prime Minister but also staying as true to the Brexit cause as she can. Not for her, writing articles in the Daily Mail and rocking the boat. She makes her arguments privately with colleagues and is one of those rare beasts - a cabinet minister who isn't prone to leaking.