Hastings and Rye MP Amber Rudd is not planning to run for the Tory leadership but has kept the door slightly ajar, she said in an interview today (Tuesday April 16).
Speaking on The Emma Barnett Show on BBC Radio 5, the work and pensions secretary also answered questions on the use of foodbanks and the Brexit process.
When asked if she wanted to be next Conservative Party leader, Ms Rudd said she ‘does not have a plan for it’ and was working to support the Prime Minister and get a deal through to deal the European Union.
She added: “What I think I’ve said is I’m not planning to run, so I’ve kept the door slightly ajar but I’m not committed to it at the moment.”
On the possibility of a joint ticket with Boris Johnson, she replied: “I’m not supporting anybody at the moment.”
Earlier in the interview Ms Barnett asked about Brexit and what it was like be part of a Government that has ‘failed to achieve its core purpose’.
Ms Rudd said: “The core purpose of this Government is to run a strong economy and to look after the communities that we come from and are elected to look after.”
She added: “I think that when people elected us they elected us for different reasons and the core reason for having a Conservative Government is having a strong economy that supports people, supports public services and makes sure that people can keep more of their money to invest it as they see fit.”
On Brexit specifically, she said: “Leaving the European Union is harder than a lot of people thought it was going to be. It’s more complicated, its untying 45 years of arrangements and we are going to make sure as a Government that we do it carefully, that we commit to doing it in a way that protects the economy and make sure that we do not do anything that would endanger our security. So it is right that we have decided to delay.”
She felt Mrs May had ‘done the right thing’ to reach out to Labour.
On people having to use foodbanks she said: “I agree that we don’t want to have foodbanks but sometimes when I discover when I go to foodbanks there are people there who do not know what access to benefits they had which is why it’s important that there’s a good relationship between us and the foodbanks, which generally there is.”
Ms Rudd said their focus was on ensuring people are getting the benefits they need, but she also highlighted the current high employment rates and how wages are rising faster than inflation.
She added: “At the same time I recognise we need to do more to help people keep their money which is why we’ve raised the threshold before you start paying tax [and] we have raising the living wage.”