'I'd fire all the men': Amber Rudd on why she'd have an all female Cabinet

Former home secretary Amber Rudd has said she'd "fire all the men" in government if she were prime minister and would instate an all female Cabinet.

The ex-MP told the Acting Prime Minister podcast "it's about time that we addressed the [gender] balance" in top government positions, because, she says, an all female Cabinet would tackle a new set of issues.

Asked by podcast host Paul Brand what she'd do as hypothetical prime minister if she inherited Boris Johnson's Cabinet, Ms Rudd replied: "I'd fire all the men. I've decided I would have an all female Cabinet."

Amber Rudd on why she'd have an all female Cabinet:

She added: "It feels to me that there's still very much a boys club and women get overlooked, so I'd set a completely new precedent by having an all female Cabinet. 

"And the point is that representation leads to policy changes. And I think that with an all female cabinet, we would address a lot of the issues that are being neglected at the moment."

The former MP for Hastings and Rye told the podcast she regrets the way the Conservative Party has changed since she left in 2019 along with a number of other pro-EU Tories.

She said: "The Conservative party used to be a place where you could have pro and anti Europeans, not always in harmony, but it was a home for both with Conservative values. "Every now and again they would start fighting and then go back to thinking about other things. But now there is no place for pro-European Conservatives."

Ms Rudd said anyone wanting to become a Tory MP must "show real Brexit enthusiasm" in order to be selected.

"I think that's a loss because I think there's a legitimate Conservative position, which is pro European, not trying to get back into the EU, but fundamentally pro European," she said.

Amber Rudd on her regret at how the party has changed since she left:

She added: "I regret the fact, the Conservative Party doesn't seem to be a welcoming place for conservatives who are pro-Europeans."

She urged the government to scrap its new policy to protect freedom of speech, despite her appearance at an Oxford University talk being cancelled in 2020.

"I would urge government to not [bring in a free speech champion], surprisingly," she said.

She added: "I didn't need a platform, so it didn't impact on me, but I have a slight horror at the idea of a free speech champion.

"I don't see the need for it. I think that universities make wise and unwise choices and the market can see that and students will respond. I don't feel there's actually a need."

Listen to the podcast below, or watch in the video at the top of this page