Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper
Amber Rudd campaigning in the town centre (photo: Amber Rudd's Facebook page).

Happier days: Amber Rudd campaigning in the town centre (photo: Amber Rudd MP Facebook page).

Rudd’s resignation gives Tories election headache

Amber Rudd’s surprise resignation from the government at the weekend bars her from standing in Hastings & Rye in the coming general election, leaving the Tories with a large hole to fill. Nick Terdre reports.

Amber Rudd’s resignation as work and pensions secretary and surrender of the Tory whip rules her out from standing as the Conservative candidate for Hastings & Rye in the forthcoming general election.

She remains an MP, sitting as an independent, but although she had been reselected to fight the seat, a new candidate will now have to be chosen, Cllr Rob Lee, leader of the Conservative group on Hastings Borough Council, told HOT.

“The decision for this matter would be made by the party board,” he said. “However the process has now been started by the association chairman and the board has been notified.”

Martin Clarke, chairman of the local association, said, “I am very sorry to hear this news from Amber.

“She is a great champion for Hastings & Rye…During the last nine years she has helped to achieve great improvements in many areas of life in the constituency, and her hard work up to the point will not be forgotten.”

At the weekend Rudd herself was reported as saying that she was thinking of standing as an independent, but elsewhere than Hastings. Having held the seat since 2010, and enjoying popularity in conservative quarters, the party will be left with a large hole to fill and no obvious local replacement.

Slow to react

The MP, who voted Remain in the referendum, was slow to make up her mind to resign, prompting the local Green, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties to demand last week an explanation of why she was still in the Cabinet when she had previously denounced the possibility of Parliament being suspended.

However, there was no mention of prorogation, which came into force last night, in her resignation letter. Instead she criticised Johnson’s “sacking of 21 talented, loyal One Nation Conservatives” who have opposed his leave-at-any-cost policy as an “assault on decency and democracy” and an “act of political vandalism”.

She also complained that government policy was focused on leaving with no deal, and that she no longer believed that “leaving with a deal is the Government’s main objective.”

Rudd’s chances of re-election might have been strengthened by the £25m of government funding for transport and infratructure in the constituency which she announced on Friday that she had secured from communities secretary Robert Jenrick.

Resignation welcomed

The MP’s resignation from the Cabinet was welcomed in different terms by the other parties. “Amber Rudd’s resignation provides further evidence that Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party is now a Trojan horse for the Brexit Party,” said LibDem candidate Nick Perry.

“With the Conservatives and Labour in the hands of political hardliners, the Liberal Democrats will continue to welcome voters who want an open, tolerant and socially progressive party, committed to economic competence and stopping Brexit altogether.”

Labour’s candidate, council leader Peter Chowney said, “I’m pleased that Amber Rudd has realised what many of us knew already: that the Tories are in utter disarray, and that Boris Johnson is not fit to be an MP, let alone Prime Minister.

“She once said that Boris Johnson was the life and soul of the party, but you wouldn’t want him to give you a lift home. Now she’s firmly slammed the door on him and decided to walk away, avoiding the car crash this government has turned into.  I look forward to other prominent Conservatives, both nationally and locally, taking the same honourable route.”

For the local Greens, campaign manager Chris Whitrow commented: “Hastings & Rye Green party welcomes the decision of Amber Rudd, MP, to resign from the cabinet and the Conservative Party following calls from her constituents to do so. She cited the Prime Minister’s ‘assault on decency and democracy’, as well as her belief that the government had no real intention of negotiating any kind of deal with the EU.

“We are surprised that it took her so long to understand that her Prime Minister, Mr Johnson, is a man whose word means nothing, but if she can now see it then so can everyone. Brexit is a project driven by rich elitists and liars, with the aim of swindling the rest of the country. To leave the EU with no deal would be catastrophic for the people of Hastings, as Rudd belatedly acknowledges.”


This article was amended by Nick Terdre on 11 September 2019.

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Posted 13:54 Tuesday, Sep 10, 2019 In: Politics


Please read our comment guidelines before posting on HOT

  1. Bolshie

    So sorry you object to people using sobriquet’s on these comments Ms Kramer, it is not unusual and often done by people on say the BBC comments among others.
    In the 70’s I partnered with another journalist at The Guardian on a column called “Open File” no names. Just the column title. You are probably a G. reader so if your old enough you might remember the column. Some people said that was one of the main reasons they bought the paper. Due to what we covered.
    Later I wrote a column for a London business magazine called “Overheard in the Wardrobe.”
    I cannot ever remember anyone griping about no names on the columns.

    Comment by Bolshie — Friday, Sep 13, 2019 @ 09:19

  2. Ms. Doubtfire

    Well spoken Heather Grief and well spoken Keith Piggott. One has to wonder whether the prospective Labour candidate will correct his manifesto whereby he claims that his party ‘achieved’ the saving of Robsack Meadow. This untrue statement has upset the many campaigners who strove for years to save this unique habitat and it was the Local Plan inspector who decreed that no development should take place on this special habitat which sits between the two ancient woodlands of Robsack Wood and Churchwood. This council did everything within their power to thwart campaigners battle to save this site and it was only due to the independent government inspector’s critical report that this little gem of a habitat was saved and incorporated into the existing Local Nature Reserve of Robsack Wood and Churchwood…this was the residents achievement…nothing to do with this council at all.

    Comment by Ms. Doubtfire — Friday, Sep 13, 2019 @ 09:17

  3. Heather Grief

    I was pleased to read that Amber is now an independent MP and that she is thinking of standing as such in the next general election, but sorry that she is not planning to stand in Hastings. She has worked hard to do her best for the town, and her Jobs Fairs have helped many local people.
    She has avoided the ‘yah-boo’ of party politics that is such a turn-off for most people, and unfailingly turns out to support local events etc. come rain or shine.
    I wonder how many of the alternative prospective candidates for MP have spent a day working as a cleaner at the Conquest Hospital, as she did. I’m sure she’s the only person who’s been Home Secretary to have done so.
    She listens to what people think, and takes notice.
    I am well-known for my ‘out’ views on the EU. The further away from people the centre of power is, the less democratic government becomes. The Council of Ministers has the real power in the EU, and each country is unable to remove their representative on it, because they are not elected. So the ministers take no notice whatever of the problems they have created with the Common Agricultural and Fish Policies etc etc.
    I fail to see how a general election will solve the present impasse. I think the answer is to have a referendum listing every major aspect of ‘Project Europe’ and people vote Yes or No to each of them, e.g. the Euro (a thumping ‘no’ for anyone with any economic sense), all national armed forces combined into one (another big ‘no’) etc. Then we work out what is a reasonable price to pay for each thing that we want to be part of, and present the EU with the deal, then just iron out a few problems in detail.

    Comment by Heather Grief — Thursday, Sep 12, 2019 @ 17:34

  4. David Stevenson

    Well, whatever next. Amber Rudd gaining a conscience and abandoning the medieval Conservative Party. For the last 9 years she has been told what to think, say and do by the Party leader. Now as an independent she will have the freedom to do the job she is paid to do and represent her constituents.

    Comment by David Stevenson — Thursday, Sep 12, 2019 @ 12:19

  5. Ann Kramer

    Good grief, what vitriolic comments. I entirely second Peter Chowney’s view of Boris Johnson. The man is not fit to be an MP or Prime Minister. Extremely well evidenced is that Boris Johnson is a consistent liar: he lied as a journalist writing about Europe; he lied during the Leave campaign (£350 million to the NHS and his statement that Turkey was on the point of joining the EU); and, if the Scottish judgement is upheld, he would appear he has lied to the Queen. The man is lazy, narcissistic, bursting with a sense of entitlement and concerned about only one thing: himself. I am also somewhat taken aback by the eulogies for Amber Rudd. Her track record is appalling: in 2013, interviewed by the Financial Times, she gave a shoddy and deeply offensive description of Hastings; in 2018 she was forced to resign when her involvement in the Windrush scandal came to light. She tried to blame civil servants but to no avail. In January of this year she defended the two-child benefit cap on universal credit payments, and also the so-called “rape clause” under which women can claim exemption from the benefit cap only if they can prove they have conceived a third child via domestic abuse or rape, a deeply shocking stand given Ms Rudd describes herself as a feminist. I shed no tears for Ms Rudd; she jumped because she saw the way the land lies, not from any principled stand. Personally I think Peter Chowney would be an excellent MP for Hastings and Rye; he knows and loves this town and would work hard for us. Finally, I am always suspicious of people who are not prepared to sign their names to letters but prefer instead to hide behind pseudonyms.

    Comment by Ann Kramer — Thursday, Sep 12, 2019 @ 10:25

  6. Elaine Cuthbertson

    Amber Rudd wants to flee here as she was bound to lose with her tiny majority. And anyone who allegedly was overheard after a political meeting, as she was, saying “let’s get out of this shithole and get back to Chelsea” can go to anywhere else, including Mars to attempt to further her enormous ambitious.

    If you doubt me, look at the Financial Times interview she did early on after her first election victory where all she did was run out down our lovely town where people are fighting to get here now.

    As far as I am concerned the further she goes, the better. She appears to despise the area she represents apart from her nice house in Rye.

    Comment by Elaine Cuthbertson — Thursday, Sep 12, 2019 @ 02:38

  7. Keith Piggott

    I logged onto Hastings’ planning website to see if this arrogant council had withdrawn libellous disparagements of our property title, it has not. To assist a developer, in 2013 this council created an entirely false plan showing our N/W boundary moved 4.5m South to disect our historic garage buildings. In 2017 the council published the developer’s newest plans now showing our West boundary drawn 6m East – wide enough for a road through our Victorian arboretum.

    Logging-on revealled the face of the Leader of the Council, Mr Peter Chowney. It reasonably may be assumed that he the council’s political leader at least is cogniscant of these historic and recent offensive libels his planning officers repeatedly refused to retract and withdraw from their planning website; knowing we pensioners cannot afford to go to law.

    The Leader of the Council also may reasonably be assumed to be cognisant of all the historic and recent planning offences in and around Gillsmans Hill’s ‘Ancient Woodlands’ and buffer zones – that his enforcement officers allowed or ignored and took no action nor imposed meaningful sanctions. Namely, in March this year, the admitted unlawful demolition of the imposing derelict Spyway School building, pre-empting planning applications and consents; consequently the ecological vandalisms of unlicensed destruction of developer’s recorded bat roosts in that abandoned building; and unauthorised felling and burning trees in Ancient Woodlands buffer zone; the wanton destruction by JCB of slow worm habitats without prior clearance; etc.

    Was this Leader of the Council, prospective Member of Parliament, holding local political office during 1996/7 badger-baitings and night-shootings in those ancient woodlands? During 1997 fly-tipping into a rare archeological site’s collapsed ice-house? During 2000 digging out of badger-setts, or 2012 filling of new outlying sett in our garden? I could go on, but the point is made.

    Now that the sitting Member of Parliament has resigned her party’s whip, shall this Leader of the Council seize the change of election to parliament? Shall he be first to throw stones at the present incumbent? We shall measure this man.

    Comment by Keith Piggott — Thursday, Sep 12, 2019 @ 00:47

  8. Ms.Doubtfire

    If we end up with a Labour MP watch things go downhill here. House prices will drop, people will think twice before investing in the town…people will be very cautious about moving down here. It is bad enough with a labour controlled council but Amber Rudd kept things on an even keel and was always very amenable and available to her constituents. She was good for Hastings…don’t think anyone can say that about the labour council here. Frankly, I don’t know how she has put up with the snide remarks and rudeness she has received from a small minority here. I would have upped sticks and gone long ago. She definitely does not deserve the vitriol which is in abundance now.

    Comment by Ms.Doubtfire — Wednesday, Sep 11, 2019 @ 20:02

  9. Bolshie

    When the inevitable general elections descend on all, this borough will be at a rather decisive juncture as far as who is going to be the future MP. If it results in Cllr Chowney (currently the council leader ) becoming the MP it will mean more or less Hastings & Rye becoming a “totalitarian” enclave with the current Labour control of the council. My cynicism gives me a bad feeling of to much control and power that could develop out of one party ruling the roost.

    While I am no supporter of either party, I have to say how I find Cllr Chowney’s comment on Boris Johnson, “not fit to be an MP let alone a Prime Minister, ” really quite arrogant. In view of that particularly judgement Cllr Chowney must believe he has the abilities to run this country. It would be nice to hear how far better this councillor could do the job. Perhaps the Hottie might interview him so he can tell us how he can solve the issues before us.
    Talking about being fit to govern gives me cause for concern with this local Labour Party having discovered some fifteen months ago how there is a claim of an “Achievement” in their Manifesto which is clearly not true and where a substantial amount of evidence can be supplied to refute this political party’s claim as stated. Despite raising this with just about every official and councillor within this local branch all have totally ignored the protests and evidence submitted to prove they are seriously out of order refusing to accept there “Achievement” never happened.
    Hence going back to what I said, is total political control by one party for the borough good or bad. Over to you !

    Comment by Bolshie — Wednesday, Sep 11, 2019 @ 15:59

  10. Ms.Doubtfire

    Embarrassing to witness these three parties crowing over Amber’s resignation – she has always supported our town and I for one shall be very concerned if she no longer represents Hastings & Rye. Not good to witness the vitriol coming from some of those in opposition. Peter Chowney declares that Boris Johnson is not fit to be Prime Minister – there are those who are saying Chowney is not fit to be our MP.

    Comment by Ms.Doubtfire — Tuesday, Sep 10, 2019 @ 17:58

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