Amber Rudd didn’t pull her punches during the referendum campaign when she aimed her fire at Boris Johnson. During a heated ITV debate, she said this about Boris:
‘Boris? Well, he’s the life and soul of the party but he’s not the man you want driving you home at the end of the evening. This is a very serious choice you have to make.’
Of course, when Rudd said those words it would be difficult to imagine the events that would play out over the next few weeks. And now, just a month later, Britain is heading out of the EU, Theresa May is our new PM and Rudd and Boris are Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary. These vicious comments during the ITV debate made many at the time wonder whether the Tory party would ever be able to put itself back together again. The referendum campaign was certainly fractious for the Conservatives. But whilst it might seem illogical for May to have appointed two apparent rivals to such important positions within the cabinet, particularly after Rudd’s apparent judgement of Boris, it’s possible to argue instead that such a move is evidence of the PM’s desire to help the Tory party heal its wounds.
May based her leadership pitch on being the unity candidate. And though it’s possible to imagine Rudd might feel a little awkward about making a joke such as this one about Boris, the best way for Rudd and Boris – as well as the Tory party itself – burying the hatchet is working as closely together as possible.