The next time Theresa May bumps into Amber Rudd, she should buy her a large drink and promise her a promotion if the Conservatives win next week’s general election. The Home Secretary took one for the Tory team, becoming a human punch-bag as her opponents rained blows on her government’s record, cheered on by an apparent majority of the audience in the usually sedate surroundings of Cambridge’s Senate House. Her lowest point came as she drew instant laughter with an appeal to voters to “judge us on our record”.
If that wasn’t enough, Ms Rudd endured repeated scorn for the failure of her boss to turn up for the seven-way debate. In a candid admission of her predicament, she said: “Theresa May is not here but I hope to make a good fist of setting out Conservative Party policy.” ‘Magic money tree’ attack Her main line of defence was to accuse the other parties of wanting to shake a “magic money tree” to pay for “shiny election promises”. The Tory Party would not, she vowed, “duck the hard challenges”, which led to ridicule for a succession of recent U-turns by Mrs May. Despite fresh accusations from Ms Rudd over his record on terrorism, Jeremy Corbyn won’t have regretted his last-minute decision to appear for Labour in Cambridge.