Oh dear. Anyone who harbours serious hopes of becoming the next Conservative Prime Minister – or perhaps Opposition leader at this rate – knows that the first thing they must do is not make their ambitions known. This is why the main contenders are at pains to seem loyal to Theresa May.
So, spare a thought for Amber Rudd at last night’s Centre for Policy Studies ‘New Generation’ launch. The Home Secretary gave the keynote speech at the launch of a campaign which aims to provide ‘intellectual rescue’ to the Tories and remake the arguments for Conservative principles by giving a voice to younger MPs in the party. However, before she could get to the mic, Lord Saatchi gave Rudd a special introduction:
‘I’m going to introduce her like this. I’m going to read out five names and you’re going to tell me what they have in common: Palmerston, Asquith, May, Callaghan, Churchill…
These are the Home Secretaries who became Prime Minister.
So, may I present the Home Secretary.’
Rudd’s reply? ‘Thank you, I think.’
Although Rudd did manage to stay ‘on-message’ in her speech, sticking to her Home Office brief, she did find time to lead from the front by putting pressure on Philip Hammond over the Budget – telling attendees more must be done on housing. There’s a pledge for the 2022 manifesto…