Top Tory Amber Rudd says she would still think 'very carefully' about getting a lift home with Boris Johnson

Posted On: 
16th June 2019

Cabinet minister Amber Rudd has said she would think "very carefully" about getting a lift home with Boris Johnson - as she blasted the Tory frontrunner's suggestion he could suspend Parliament to force a no-deal Brexit.

The Work and Pensions Secretary has previously said Mr Johnson is "not the man you want driving you home at the end of the evening".
Credit: 
PA

Ms Rudd raised eyebrows during the 2016 Brexit referendum campaign when the Remain-backing minister described Mr Johnson as the "life and soul of the party" but "not the man you want driving you home at the end of the evening".

The Work and Pensions Secretary - who is backing rival Jeremy Hunt for the Conservative top job - was asked by Sky News' Sophy Ridge on Sunday whether she would now accept a lift home from him.

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She replied: "I am still thinking very carefully about lifts home with Boris."

Ms Rudd's dig at the Tory frontrunner came as she tore into plans floated by Mr Johnson and fellow leadership candidate Dominic Raab to prorogue Parliament to prevent MPs bringing down the Government over a no-deal Brexit in October.

Rory Stewart, another leadership contender, has said he would be willing to set up "an alternative parliament" if either of the pair tried the move.

Ms Rudd said: "Well, I'm not going to use the same colourful language as Rory but I certainly feel just as strongly as he does.

"It is a ridiculous suggestion to consider proroguing parliament, and for a start it would involve approaching the Queen and... nobody should consider doing that.

She added: "We may have our difficulties as MPs arriving at a decision. But the idea of involving the Queen is completely wrong."

But Dominic Raab - who originally floated the idea of proroguing Parliament, with Mr Johnson refusing to rule it out - defended the controviersial plan on the same programme.

"I don’t think it was something we would want to do and I think it is very unlikely," he said.

"But what is really scandalous is the way people have been trying to sabotage the will of the people and break their promises left, right and centre to get us out of the EU."

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Elsewhere in her interview, Ms Rudd refused to say whether Mr Johnson - who scooped up the backing of 114 MPs at the first Conservative leadership ballot this week - would make a good Prime Minister.

"I think Jeremy Hunt would make a better one," she said.

Ms Rudd added: "I can't rule it out because clearly Boris is in the lead.

"But I hope that once we go forward and people see the debates and see how some of the arguments being put forward by different candidates don't really hold water, they'll realise that the best person to go with is Jeremy."

Speaking ahead of the first head-to-head televised debate between the leadership candidates - which will not be attended by Mr Johnson - the Cabinet minister also questioned the frontrunners' vow to leave the EU with or without a deal on 31 October.

"The challenge with Boris's approach is that he is saying we are definitely leaving by October 31," she said.

"But that is not in his gift to achieve. It will need support from a majority of MPs because MPs are inventive.

"Parliament is thoughtful. The Speaker is an activist. There will be ways of stopping it.

"And I wish people would stop saying we're definitely leaving on October 31 when there are so many other parts that could come into play that will stop that. So I don't want people to be misled again."

Asked whether she could serve in a Boris Johnson Cabinet, Ms Rudd said: "I think it's too early to look at that. Because it would be too presumptious of me to think about anyone else forming a Cabinet and not knowing what place you're going to take in that."

The intervention came as Mr Johnson's campaign received a boost from former leadership contender Esther McVey who threw her weight behind his bid to succeed Theresa May.