In a survey of 862 Conservative councillors across the UK polling organisation Survation has discovered that Hastings MP Amber Rudd is a popular choice as a future leader of her party.
While Home Secretary Sajid Javid tops the poll and former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnston is second Ms Rudd and Jeremy Hunt are virtually neck-and-neck in third place and the history of Conservative party leadership elections is that early front runners rarely win the top job.
Last night Ms Rudd became the first cabinet minister to speak publicly about the possibility of a second referendum over Britain’s future as part of the European Union. Speaking to ITV’s Peston she said: “I don’t want a people’s vote, or a referendum in general, but if parliament absolutely failed to reach a consensus, I could see there would be a plausible argument for it.”
Ms Rudd admitted her comments would ‘distress’ some of her Conservative colleagues and stressed she was fully committed to Theresa May’s bill. During the interview she repeated her faith in the withdrawal agreement negotiated by the Prime Minister and hoped that by the time parliament votes on it in January there might have been sufficient concessions made by the EU to allow MPs to support it, although she did acknowledge that would be ‘very difficult’.
“Parliament has to reach a majority on how it’s going to leave the European Union,” she said. “If it fails to do so then I can see the argument for taking it back to the people again, much as it would distress many of my colleagues.”