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Brexit: Amber Rudd attacks ‘flouncing’ Tory eurosceptics as leadership rivals jostle

Brexit: Amber Rudd attacks ‘flouncing’ Tory eurosceptics as leadership rivals jostle

Cabinet minister Amber Rudd has hit out male Brexiteers who she said “flounce out quite a lot” instead of trying to get things done. The attack, coming after Boris Johnson and David Davis quit the cabinet over Theresa May’s Brexit deal, was launched ahead of a potential Tory leadership contest in the coming weeks. She…

Cabinet minister Amber Rudd has hit out male Brexiteers who she said “flounce out quite a lot” instead of trying to get things done.

The attack, coming after Boris Johnson and David Davis quit the cabinet over Theresa May’s Brexit deal, was launched ahead of a potential Tory leadership contest in the coming weeks.

In an interview with The Times, Ms Rudd also took the unusual step of revealing details of a private conversation with the prime minister, even critiquing her leadership style by saying “she is not always forthcoming” about what she wants.   

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Ms Rudd is seen as a leading candidate from the moderate wing of the party and even said in her interview that she hoped it chooses a “centrist” figure for its next leader.

She also made clearer her support for the UK moving to a Norway-style option if Ms May’s plan is voted down by MPs on Tuesday and said she would vote to stay in the EU if there was another referendum.

But the pensions secretary called on Conservative colleagues to back the prime minister’s proposals, saying it is “too indulgent” to think about leadership contests at this point.

Her interview is the latest attempt by a leading Conservative figure to make a mark as a possible future contender for Ms May’s job – with Mr Johnson and Mr Davis rivals from the right of the party.

In her interview she said men at Westminster “seem to flounce out quite a lot”, she says.

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“Everyone is looking for someone to blame while the only one actually trying to sort it out is the prime minister.

“I certainly feel a particular support for Theresa May as a woman to a woman. The men think they are standing on principles but they’re not getting things done.”

Continuing her attack on the party’s right she said: “I don’t like that sort of male cohort of buccaneering destruction that goes with it. It trips over into Nigel Farage and it feels to me slightly patriarchal.”

Ms Rudd was one minister who met the PM this week to discuss steps to take if Ms May’s deal falls on Tuesday, telling The Times that she had said: “What do you want to do prime minister?”

She said in the interview: “It’s not just her deal, it’s our deal, so we were trying to game the different options and how we could help. I’m always trying to find out what the PM wants to do and she is not always forthcoming about what that is.”

Philip Hammond has told MPs it is ‘simply a delusion’ to think a better Brexit deal can be renegotiated at the 11th hour

She said a Norway-style status “seems plausible not just in terms of the country but in terms of where the MPs are,” but added that nobody knows if it is possible.

On a referendum she said she would still back remain, and added: “I can’t understand the hysteria around a People’s Vote if you believe in what you are trying to propose.”

But she went on: “People need to simmer down a bit about the alternatives.

“I would say to the colleagues who are voting against the withdrawal agreement anything could happen after that. As the prime minister says, you might not get your Brexit at all. I do not relish the opportunity to refight the referendum. We think we’re divided now; I think it could get worse. I would much rather do the withdrawal agreement and deliver on the outcome.”


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