Amber Rudd does not believe Boris Johnson is really trying to get deal
She finds his attack on Tory dissenters anti-democratic
She found his treatment of her friends and colleagues cruel
In an announcement that shocked her local association Hastings MP Amber Rudd last night dropped a political bombshell when she resigned her seat at the cabinet table and also resigned the Conservative whip in parliament.
Only hours earlier in Hastings town centre a cross party event called #StoptheCoup saw senior figures in the local Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green parties sign a letter that demanded the resignation of Ms Rudd from Boris Johnson’s Cabinet. Around 100 members of the public attended the event and many of those also signed the letter. Later in the day, those protestors got just what they had ben asking for and more.
Ms Rudd’s political opponents have been quick to respond to her announcement, Lib Dem prospective parliamentary candidate Nick Perry told Hastings In Focus: “Amber Rudd’s resignation provides further evidence that Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party is now a Trojan horse for the Brexit Party.
“With the Conservatives and Labour in the hands of political hardliners, the Liberal Democrats will continue to welcome voters who want an open, tolerant and socially progressive party, committed to economic competence, and stopping Brexit altogether.”
Labour’s Peter Chowney who came within 350 votes of beating Ms Rudd in the 2017 general election said: “I’m pleased that Amber Rudd has realised what many of us knew already: that the Tories are in utter disarray, and that Boris Johnson is not fit to be an MP, let alone Prime Minister.
“She once said that Boris Johnson was the life and soul of the party, but you wouldn’t want him to give you a lift home. Now she’s firmly slammed the door on him and decided to walk away, avoiding the car crash this government has turned into.
“I look forward to other prominent Conservatives, both nationally and locally, taking the same honourable route.”
Brexit Party candidate for Hastings Tom Bewick told Hastings In Focus: “I welcome this decision. Amber is symbolic of everything that has gone wrong in British politics. Careerist and duplicitous MPs attached to big money and remoaner lobby groups; all the time short-changing their constituents that voted to Leave the EU.”
Writing to Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday Ms Rudd said: “Dear Prime Minister, It is with great sadness that I am resigning as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and Minister for Women and Equalities.
“It has been an honour to serve in a department that supports millions of people and can be such a force for good. I would like to pay tribute to the thousands of people who work for the DWP across the country. They are committed public servants and I am proud of the work that we have done together over the last 10 months to create a more compassionate welfare system.
“I would also like to thank you and the Chancellor of the Exchequer for your support in the recent spending review. I am so pleased that you committed to spend millions more supporting the most vulnerable in society, and I hope that the Government will stay committed to going further at the next fiscal event, building on the work the department has done.
“This has been a difficult decision. I joined your Cabinet in good faith; accepting that ‘no deal’ had to be on the table, because it was the means by which we would have the best chance of achieving a new deal to leave on October 31st.
“However, I no longer believe leaving with a deal is the Government’s main objective.
“The Government is expending a lot of energy to prepare for ‘no deal’ but I have not seen the same level of intensity go into our talks with the European Union who have asked us to present alternative arrangements to the Irish backstop.
“The updates I have been grateful to receive from your office have not, regretfully, provided me with the reassurances I sought.
“I must also address the assault on decency and democracy that took place last week when you sacked 21 talented, loyal One Nation Conservatives.
“This short-sighted culling of my colleagues has stripped the party of broad-minded and dedicated Conservative MPs. I cannot support this act of political vandalism.
“Therefore, it is with regret that I am also surrendering the Conservative whip.
“Britain’s body politic is under attack from both sides of the ideological debate. I will now play whatever role I can to help return it to a better place.
“I have been lucky to have had extraordinary support from my Conservative Association since I was adopted as their candidate in 2006. Three times they helped elect me as their MP, keeping Labour at bay through nail-biting campaigns.
“I remain a proud conservative and will continue to champion the values of fairness and compassion, and to support my constituents of Hastings and Rye.”
In an interview in today’s Sunday Times Ms Rudd says:
● Mr Johnson has cut his cabinet out of all decision-making on Brexit and she was ‘not sufficiently informed’ about Johnson’s plans
● She said ministers ‘cannot influence his government’s behaviour on Brexit’ because Mr Johnson preferred to listen to his advisers, including Dominic Cummings
● She claims it was ‘quite outrageous’ that ministers, including her, who demanded the legal advice on Johnson’s decision to prorogue parliament had yet to receive it because the PM’s aides ‘intercepted’ it to keep it secret
● She denounced the PM’s ‘aggressive, combative language’ and warned his ‘unwise’ approach of pitting parliament against the people would lead to ‘dangerous outcomes’, including violence
● She says she told Johnson in a call last week there was ‘no evidence’ he wants to ‘bring the party together’
● And she branded the sacking of the special adviser Sonia Khan, who was marched out of No 10 by armed police as, ‘disgraceful’.
Ms Rudd is reported as saying: “My mother used to say: ‘Judge a man by what he does and not by what he says.’ I am concerned that he’s not doing enough to make true what he says is his priority.”
It had come as a surprise to many that Ms Rudd accepted a position in Mr Johnson’s cabinet when he was elected leader of the Conservative party in July. Ms Rudd was seen as an arch remainer, and therefore at odds with Mr Johnson and was famously critical of him in a debate ahead of the 2016 European referendum.