A pro-European among Brexiteers and a liberal at the Home Office, Amber Rudd has shown herself to be a flexible operator. If things go her way, could she be our next PM?by Gaby Hinsliff / September 13, 2017 / Leave a comment
Published in October 2017 issue of Prospect Magazine
The true test of character, Amber Rudd once said, is how one handles failure.
It’s not the successes that count, but the ability to “adapt and focus your life in the right direction” when fate turns against you. The advice she gave to girls at her alma mater Cheltenham Ladies’ College isn’t original, but coming as it did shortly after losing the European Union referendum, it was surely heartfelt.
The Home Secretary’s own life—privileged upbringing, meteoric rise to cabinet, apparently seamless transition from favourite of David Cameron to trusted ally of Theresa May—looks remarkably untroubled by adversity. But appearances can be deceptive.
In the space of a year, the socially liberal Tory tradition to which she belongs and in which she had professionally flourished has fallen from grace. Tipped as a future leader of her party, she is nonetheless in some ways out of step with it; a Remainer in a pro-Brexit administration, a moderate and a pragmatist in a world where “centrist” is an insult. At times she has visibly struggled with these contradictions.