The UK loses its fifth Equalities Minister in three years as Amber Rudd resigns

The Work and Pensions Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities Amber Rudd has sensationally quit both as a cabinet minister and as a Conservative in protest of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s handling of Brexit.

Since the UK voted to leave the European Union, and David Cameron resigned, five Equalities Ministers have been either sacked or resigned, including Ms Rudd twice. Nicky Morgan was sacked by Theresa May in 2016, Justine Greening resigned in 2018 after Theresa May tried to move her from the Department of Education, Amber Rudd resigned from her then joint role of Home Secretary and Minister for Equalities in April 2018, Boris Johnson sacked Penny Mordaunt when he became prime minister and appointed Amber Rudd in her place, who has today resigned.

In this time, the government has been intending to reform the Gender Recognition Act, but the results of public consultation on this issue have been continually delayed. The prime minister has yet to appoint a replacement to Ms Rudd.

In a video statement that she recorded for the Sunday Times website, the Hastings and Rye MP said: “I have been surprised, unfortunately, by the lack of work and preparation that is going into getting a deal with the European Union.

“I knew and I accepted that the prime minister should be able to leave no-deal on the table, but what I had expected to see was a huge government-centred effort to get a deal, and at the moment there is a lot of work going on to no-deal and not enough going into getting a deal.”

“On top of that I’ve seen 21 of my colleagues, good, strong conservative MPs with true moderate, progressive values, excluded from the party, indicating that the Conservative Party that is such a force for good in this country no longer has a place for people who have different views on the EU.

“I can’t stand for that, so, as well as resigning from cabinet, I have decided to surrender the Conservative whip and to join them.”

Amber Rudd’s resignation letter to Boris Johnson

It is with great sadness that I am resigning as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and Minister for Women and Equalities.

It has been an honour to serve in a department that supports millions of people and can be such a force for good. I would like to pay tribute to the thousands of people who work for the DWP across the country. They are committed public servants and I am proud of the work that we have done together over the last 10 months to create a more compassionate welfare system.

I would also like to thank you and the Chancellor of the Exchequer for your support in the recent Spending Review. I am so pleased that you committed to spend millions more supporting the most vulnerable in society, and I hope that the Government will stay committed to going further at the next fiscal event, building on the work the department has done.

This has been a difficult decision. I joined your Cabinet in good faith; accepting that ‘no deal’ had to be on the table, because it was the means by which we would have the best chance of achieving a new deal to leave on October 31.

However, I no longer believe leaving with a deal is the Government’s main objective.

The Government is expending a lot of energy to prepare for ‘no deal’ but I have not seen the same level of intensity go into our talks with the European Union who have asked us to present alternative arrangements to the Irish backstop.

The updates I have been grateful to receive from your office have not, regretfully, provided me with the reassurances I sought.

I must also address the assault on decency and democracy that took place last week when you sacked 21 talented, loyal One Nation Conservatives.

This short-sighted culling of my colleagues has stripped the party of broad-minded and dedicated Conservative MPs. I cannot support this act of political vandalism.

Therefore, it is with regret that I am also surrendering the Conservative whip.

Britain’s body politic is under attack from both sides of the ideological debate. I will now play whatever role I can to help return it to a better place.

I have been lucky to have had extraordinary support from my Conservative Association since I was adopted as their candidate in 2006. Three times they helped elect me as their MP, keeping Labour at bay through nail-biting campaigns.

I remain a proud conservative and will continue to champion the values of fairness and compassion, and to support my constituents of Hastings and Rye.

Yours Sincerely,

Amber Rudd