New blow for Johnson

Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd quits job and Tory party

Amber Rudd

Amber Rudd: ‘difficult decision’

Amber Rudd has quit the cabinet and Conservative Party saying she cannot accept Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s handling of Brexit and sacking of loyal MPs.

The work and pensions secretary said she believed a no-deal Brexit was now the government’s main aim despite Mr Johnson’s claims to want a deal before the 31 October deadline.

She admitted: “I have been surprised, unfortunately, by the lack of work and preparation that is going into getting a deal with the European Union.”

She described the sacking of 21 Tory MPs on Tuesday as an “assault on decency and democracy”.

The MP for Hastings and Rye, who supported Remain in the 2016 referendum, said her resignation had been “a difficult decision” but posted on Twitter: “I have resigned from Cabinet and surrendered the Conservative whip. I cannot stand by as good, loyal moderate Conservatives are expelled.

“I have spoken to the PM and my association chairman to explain. I remain committed to the one nation values that drew me into politics.”

Ian Lavery, Labour Party chairman, said: “The Prime Minister has run out of authority in record time and his Brexit plan has been exposed as a sham.

“No one trusts Boris Johnson. Not his Cabinet, not his MPs, not even his own brother.

“After nine years of austerity, we need a Labour government that will invest in our communities and public services.”

The SNP said Mr Johnson’s government is “on the verge of collapse”.

Westminster leader Ian Blackford said: “Boris Johnson’s Tory government is on the verge of collapse – with no majority, no mandate, and no right to pursue its reckless plans to impose an extreme Brexit.

“The unelected Prime Minister must now do the decent thing and resign – he has no support or credibility left. It would be completely undemocratic to remain in his Downing Street bunker plotting a No-Deal Brexit against the will of the people and parliament. 

“When so many senior Tories cannot abide the actions of this right-wing, extreme Brexit government – the question is why on earth should Scotland be expected to?

“Amber Rudd really has let the cat out of the bag. It’s clear the Tory leader’s real plan is to force a catastrophic no-deal Brexit, which we know would be devastating for Scotland – destroying jobs, and inflicting lasting harm on living standards, public services and the economy.

“Once the threat of No-deal is off the table, there must now be an election. The SNP will put Scotland’s opposition to Brexit and our right to choose our own future as an independent nation at the heart of that contest.”

It also emerged that Angela Smith, the former Labour MP, will join the Liberal Democratic party. Ms Smith was among the seven MPs to quit the Labour Party in February over leader Jeremy Corbyn’s approach to Brexit and a row over anti-Semitism.

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