Our serious times require serious people says Hastings MP Amber Rudd and that’s why she has decided to back Jeremy Hunt as the future leader of the Conservative Party – and Prime Minister
It has been hard to miss Ms Rudd on TV, radio and in the press today as she has thrown her wholehearted support behind Mr Hunt.
She was described on BBC TV this morning as a ‘cabinet heavyweight’ and it is understood that her backing was seen as important by a number of those standing for the top job.
Back in April, in an interview with BBC radio she said it was ‘entirely possible’ she would be in the running to be the next Conservative leader saying she was keeping the door ‘slightly ajar’ to the possibility. Then last week she ruled herself out of the running saying it was not her time.
She also said at the time that she would not announce which candidate she was going to support until after a hustings that was held in Westminster last week.
Writing in today’s Times Ms Rudd says: “I am supporting Jeremy Hunt to be the next leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party and our next prime minister.
“In my role as co-leader of the One Nation Conservatives I listened last week to each of the main candidates being put through their paces in front of up to 100 members of parliament and Jeremy stands out above everyone. I was encouraged by the methodical way in which he approached the inescapable facts of the Brexit impasse and sought to provide solutions to them.”
Ms Rudd says that Mr Hunt is approaching “this seismic challenge” (of Brexit) with “confidence, craft, vision and attention to detail”.
She writes: “Our politics has become angrier, our discourse polluted with ‘alternative facts’ and people chastised if they don’t conform to the world view of a minor subset. Just because you don’t subscribe to no-deal at all costs by dictatorially threatening to prorogue parliament, without any room for reasonable debate, it does not mean you are not a Conservative.”
Jeremy Hunt has, according to Ms Rudd “risen above playground politics,” and she says he has the ability to bring all wings of the party together in a way that no other candidate can.
“It was my good colleague Andrea Leadsom who told our hustings that the people she admires most are the Remainers who have given their all to deliver Brexit. From ensuring that the Department of Health was ready for no-deal to his tireless work with European ministers as foreign secretary, no one embodies that more than Jeremy Hunt. And, like me, Jeremy comes from a business background and knows what the wealth creators and businesses of Britain need to succeed and he has an impressive plan to fire up our economy after Brexit,” she says.
Ms Rudd and Mr Hunt have worked closely in the past. When she was selected as the Conservative candidate for Hastings and Rye in 2006 Mr Hunt was appointed as her mentor and she says that as another MP with a small majority he was an “invaluable source of knowledge and encouragement”.
“He backed me and now I back him. And while we’ve both certainly come a long way, I’ve continued to turn to him for advice,” she says.
“A new prime minister has a new opportunity. I know that the EU is ready to engage with a new leader if they come with a credible plan to break the impasse and with the right human touch and spirit.
“It is not enough to be told to shut your eyes, cross your fingers, pick up some magic beans and believe in Britain. We need a skilled negotiator and deal-maker, not an instruction for more optimism,” Ms Rudd concludes.
These are serious times. They require a serious leader who will be listened to in Brussels. Jeremy Hunt is that leader and I am deeply proud to support him.