On social media this morning we’ve highlighted a piece from our archive asking ‘whatever happened to Amber Rudd’?
Keep reading and we’ll tell you at the bottom of the story, safe to say Ms Rudd has not become an unemployment statistic.
A year ago the Member of Parliament for Hastings and Rye was seen as at very least a kingmaker in any Conservative party leadership election and there were those who tipped her for the top job herself
In The Daily Telegraph Charles Moore said she was ‘…unlike the average politician.’ and also reported there was ‘private anger’ among Brexiteers over Ms Rudd’s ‘increasingly active campaigning’ to block the UK’s exit from the EU.
In September Ms Rudd stood down from cabinet and renounced the Conservative whip in parliament. It took some time before voters in Hastings and Rye found out whether their MP would stand for election in the constituency again and if she did would she be a Conservative or an independent.
Come election it was clear Ms Rudd was in no mood for staying around and she said she would not been standing for election in any seat – Rother councillor Sally-Ann Hart won the Conservative nomination and went on to be elected at December’s general election, massively increasing the Conservative majority in the constituency.
So what’s our new MP been getting up to in that time?
Well this morning she was addressing Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce saying: “Small business is the heartbeat of the Hastings economy, I was pleased to share my priorities with local business leaders and look forward to working with them to help our community!”
From her first two and a half months in the job it’s very clear that Mrs Hart intends to be a very different kind of MP to her predecessor. Throughout her campaign and since she regularly points to her ‘localness’. She stresses the point that her family has lived in the area for more than 20 years – two of her children were born here – and with her husband she has brought up her children in the constituency she now represents in parliament.
It’s has been very clear from day one that Mrs Hart’s style is very different, she published a video from her phone, from inside the Palace of Westminster during her first days in Parliament and last week she was photographed (see above) on a visit to the Parchment Trust wearing a silly homemade hat – we doubt whether her predecessor would have allowed herself to be snapped that way or would have made such a casual ‘selfie’ video.
And Mrs Hart’s press team is very keen to promote her as being down to earth with a real interest in the community. This week they have been talking about the time she spent with the Tidy Up St Leonards group last weekend, helping them clean up the streets and open spaces around the town. The press release is accompanied by a photograph that shows what is described as when, “Sally-Ann rolled up her sleeves and spent her morning with volunteers, led by Richard Wesley.”
She still has some way to go to achieve the name recognition of her predecessor. At Hastings In Focus any mention of Amber Rudd’s name had the graphs showing numbers of visitors to the website heading for the skies. And while Mrs Hart sets out to be the epitome of a ‘local’ MP she is still dogged by the controversies of the election campaign when her remarks about the disabled during a pre-election hustings saw her catapulted to national notoriety.
In addition to the photo opportunities locally Mrs Hart has also used social media to post her now regular input into the commons chamber where she regularly quizzes ministers and she has not been shy about publicising her meetings with senior members of government where she says she regularly raises issues that impact on her constituency from fisheries to homelessness.
When you meet Mrs Hart in person it is difficult not to be infected by her enthusiasm for the job she has taken on and she repeats her intention to ‘get stuck in’ and represent Hastings and Rye
It has been a fast paced first couple of months for Mrs Hart as MP for Hastings and Rye, is it a pace she can sustain?
And in answer to the question ‘whatever happened to Amber Rudd’? well according to PR week she has recently joined a company called Teneo as a ‘senior adviser’.
Teneo’s website says its London team: “…advises business leaders, enabling them to achieve goals faster by earning trust, navigating disruption and removing barriers.”
She joins a number of former senior politicians as senior advisors at Teneo, including former Conservative Party leader Lord Hague and ex-US Middle East peace envoy George Mitchell. Last year Sally Osman, a former communications director at the Royal Household, also joined the senior advisory group.
When Sally-Ann hart spoke to Hastings In Focus, follow the link below.