COMMENT: A Woman For All Seasons?
One wonders if, after politics, Amber Rudd might consider joining the Church and seeking a living in the parish of Bray? She’d be ideally suited to follow in the footsteps of her illustrious predecessor who contrived to bend his principles to the changing political circumstances of four kings and one queen, from Charles II through to George I. In the words of the song “… I will maintain unto my dying day, sir that whatsoever King may reign, I will be the Vicar of Bray, sir!”
For the Hastings and Rye MP it might seem that whichever Prime Minister is in power, hanging on to ministerial office is more important than maintaining any vestige of consistency over Brexit.
PICTURE: Policy Exchange Flickr
Under David Cameron, Amber Rudd was minister, then Secretary of State, for Energy and Climate Change. She was also firmly pro-European and voted Remain in the referendum.
But campaigning in Hastings for the 2017 election, she told HIP that she now supported Brexit which was for her a settled question.
By the following year she’d moved back towards the Remain camp, opposing a ‘no deal’ exit and even, remarkably, supporting the possibility of a second referendum: “I can see the argument for taking it back to the people again, much as it would distress many of my colleagues,” she told The Guardian. She was popularly seen as the leading pro-European voice in Theresa May’s cabinet and was rewarded with a new cabinet post after being forced to resign as Home Secretary over the Windrush scandal.
Even in the lead-up to the Tory party leadership contest this summer she warned all candidates of the dangers of supporting ‘no deal’. “We need to start being honest” she wrote in The Observer, “Parliament will block a no-deal Brexit.” And she went so far as to say the next Conservative leader should extend Britain’s membership beyond October 31st and draw up a new withdrawal deal in conjunction with Labour.
What a long way that is to signing up to Boris Johnson’s pledge to leave ‘no iffs no buts’, deal or no deal, by November. Could this be the most complete U-turn in recent political history? But then Amber Rudd has retained her job as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions along with her ministerial salary and car. Truly a Woman for all Seasons.
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