Amber Rudd says she COULD run to be PM despite wafer thin majority and Remain record as she brands Boris Johnson burka jibes as ‘inappropriate’ and refuses to back him as leader
- DWP Secretary said ‘I have kept the door slightly ajar’ to a leadership bid
- But she is cool on ‘Bamber’ joint ticket on a unity platform with Boris Johnson
- She said his remarks last year about women wearing burkas were ‘unacceptable’
- Remainer could be held back by her dangerously small majority in Hastings seat
Amber Rudd has suggested she could run to replace Theresa May, saying she has ‘kept the door slightly ajar’ to making a leadership pitch.
The Remainer Work and Pensions Secretary said that she was ‘not supporting anybody at the moment’ after reports that she could form an unlikely ‘Bamber’ partnership with ex-foreign secretary Boris Johnson.
She told the BBC’s 5 Live radio: I don’t have a plan to be leader. I am choosing my words carefully. I’m not particularly working on it … I have kept the door slightly ajar’.
And she said ‘I don’t rule it out’ when asked if she would run herself if none of the other candidates appealed to her politics.
In a slapdown to Mr Johnson she criticised comments Mr Johnson made about Muslim women in a newspaper column last summer.
He sparked fury after saying in the Telegraph that women who wear burkas and niqabs look like ‘bank robbers’ and ‘letterboxes’.
Ms Rudd told 5Live that she was a one-nation Tory who had formed a group with like-minded Conservative MPs and tackle ‘inflammatory language’.
Asked if this included Mr Johnson’s remarks she replied: ‘That was completely inappropriate, you are completely right’.
Ms Rudd refused to rule out running to Replace Theresa may as leader of the Conservative Party
Ms Rudd told BBC 5Live that Boris Johnson’s remarks last year about Muslim women wearing burkas and niqabs were ‘completely inappropriate’
Boris Johnson was said to have been considering a unity ticket – branded Bamber – with Remainer Ms Rudd to bring the Tories back together
The DWP Secretary added that Mrs May said she would only leave after her Withdrawal Agreement had been passed and ‘we can wait until then’.
The EU last week delayed Brexit until October at the latest.
Ms Rudd is seen as an outside bet to be leader because of her support for Remain but had been linked with a joint run with hardline Brexiteer Mr Johnson.
But her chances could be affected by the size of her majority in her Hastings and Rye constituency in East Sussex.
At 346 votes it is one of the smallest in Parliament, leaving her at risk of losing it if there is any sizeable swing at the next election.