Amber Rudd: Don't ignore Parliament over Brexit

Amber Rudd

The Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd has told the BBC that unemployment "could go up" if the UK leaves the European Union without a deal.

She also said the prime minister and cabinet should remember parliament could not be ignored in a push towards what she said was a "far inferior" no-deal Brexit.

The cabinet minister said she was delighted with Tuesday's record employment figures, which showed wages rising faster than prices for nearly a year and a half.

But after her apparent U-turn on no deal ahead of rejoining the cabinet under Boris Johnson, Ms Rudd cautioned against both ignoring the Commons and setting an election date to avoid a parliamentary say on no deal.

Reminded that she had previously said shutting down parliament would be a ridiculous thing to do, Ms Rudd said she remained "a great admirer of parliament and of parliamentary sovereignty".

"I will continue to argue for the executive of the government that I'm part of to work with parliament, not against them," she said.

Asked if she could back a situation where an election was held on purpose so that parliament did not have its say on no deal, she said there had been a lot of speculation.

"I will play my part in cabinet and privately with the prime minister and with ministers in arguing strongly for respecting parliamentary sovereignty.

"And you know, I'm a member of parliament. The prime minister and all cabinet members are members of parliament. We need to remember where our authority comes from."

Ms Rudd was speaking to the BBC in her first full interview after rejoining the cabinet, on a visit to female engineers working on the Thames Tideway infrastructure project.

'Jealous'

She said she was "jealous" of "every single pound" of the £2bn of new money earmarked towards no-deal Brexit preparations and wanted to see more money going towards universal credit and ending the benefits freeze.

Last month, the Office for Budget Responsibility released a no-deal scenario that showed £9bn extra in welfare spending and a 400,000 reduction in employment.

Ms Rudd said she did not accept the specific numbers, and said the government was focused on putting in place measures to mitigate any job losses.

"Government is certainly aware that if we do have a no-deal exit, there will be adverse consequences. [Unemployment] could go up, yes. And I would much prefer to see us get a deal".

Asked why her cabinet colleagues were gung ho for an outcome that could hit workers' jobs, she replied: "I don't think people are gung ho - certainly not the people I sit with in cabinet. We know that no deal is a far inferior prospect than a deal".

Related Topics

More on this story