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Downing Street denies Amber Rudd’s claim Boris Johnson asked her to stand for Tories amid party whip row

Downing Street denies Amber Rudd’s claim Boris Johnson asked her to stand for Tories amid party whip row
2 min read

Downing Street has denied claims by Amber Rudd that Boris Johnson asked her to stand again for the Tories in a row over removing the party whip from her.

The former Home Secretary revealed on Wednesday morning that she would not be defending her Hastings and Rye seat in the 12 December snap poll.

After her announcement a letter from the Chief Whip Mark Spencer was leaked to the press saying she would not be offered the whip back.

She had resigned from the Conservative parliamentary party and the Cabinet in September over the direction of the Prime Minister on Brexit.

Mr Spencer said he has “the utmost respect” for Ms Rudd, but added that Mr Johnson needs “a team alongside him who believe in him and feel able to support the policy aims of the Government”.

“When you surrendered the Conservative Party whip and resigned from the Cabinet just eight weeks ago, you were clear that you did not support the approach of the Prime Minister and did not have confidence in him”, he added.

“You have failed to provide me with assurances that you will not change your mind once more.”

Criticising her for resigning the whip, Mr Spencer said it is “an honour, not a right, and as such it cannot be discarded or returned at will if it is to have any meaning”.

But in response Ms Rudd tweeted: “Funny thing really, as just last week the PM asked me to stand in the General Election.

“Afraid the Chief Whip has been briefed by the wrong ‘Number 10 sources’ this morning, but nonetheless I respect the decision he had been asked to make.”

Asked about the claim, a Downing Street spokesman said “no other meetings or discussion have taken place about the whip”.

They added: “The MPs who have been offered the whip back have taken the whip back.”

Pressed on whether the PM had met Ms Rudd, the spokesman said he “would absolutely deny a meeting”.

They added: “The people the PM has spoken to about having the whip returned to them have had the whip returned to them.”

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