WATCH: Amber Rudd hints she could quit Cabinet amid growing Tory revolt over no-deal Brexit

Posted On: 
25th January 2019

Amber Rudd has refused to rule out quitting the Government if Tory MPs are ordered to vote against moves to prevent a no-deal Brexit.

Amber Rudd only returned to the Cabinet in November.
Credit: 
PA Images

The Work and Pensions Secretary - who only rejoined the Cabinet in November - said she wanted to "wait and see" what position the Conservative whips take before making a decision.

Ms Rudd has called for a free vote next Tuesday night on an amendment in the name of Yvette Cooper which could potentially extend the Article 50 process until the end of the year as a way of trying to avoid leaving the EU without a deal.

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Speaking to the BBC's Newsnight, the minister said: "A no-deal is the worst possible outcome, but I am part of a process that agreed that we would leave the European Union at the end of March and so it is there, but in my view it is like a seat belt when you're driving a car - it's not a realistic alternative compared to the better outcome of leaving with a deal. I'm committed to making sure that we avoid no deal."

Asked if she could quit the Cabinet over the row, Ms Rudd said: "There's lots of moving parts at the moment, I'm just going to carry on making my point in my words."

Pressed again, she replied: "As I say, I'm going to wait and see."

Asked once more whether she could resign, she said: "I think it's too early for anyone to make those sort of commitments because at the moment there is a lot of change going on.

"I have called for a free vote for the amendments on Tuesday and we'll see what position the Government takes."

Her comments came after industry minister Richard Harrington challenged Theresa May to sack him after he welcomed warnings from the boss of Airbus that the firm could quit the UK if there is a no-deal Brexit.

Speaking in Germany, he said: "This is a disaster for business and business needs to know where it is, and that doesn’t mean, ‘Oh great, two weeks before we are leaving, now we can rule out crashing out.

"I really don’t believe in this idea. I am very happy to be public about it and very happy if the Prime Minister decides I am not the right person to do the business industry job.

"[A no-deal Brexit] would be a total disaster for the economy, I was delighted to read Airbus’s comments this morning because it is telling it like it is."

Meanwhile, Chancellor Philip Hammond - who also backed Remain in the EU referendum - said a no-deal Brexit would be a "betrayal" of the promises made in the 2016 vote.