Amber Rudd: Theresa May’s saviour… or her successor?

31 May

One leader who had turned up, albeit at the last minute, was Mr Corbyn. At least, we were told he’d turned up – but at times it was easy to forget. He so frequently struggled to make himself heard above the others that I almost wished the producers would give him a game show-style buzzer, so the poor man could get a word in edgeways. The dominant progressive voice was Ms Lucas, who spoke with the confidence and coherence Mr Corbyn lacked. Persistent Remainers, meanwhile, may have been more impressed by Mr Farron. 

Outshone by Ms Lucas, Mr Corbyn was often little more than a grey smudge on the edge of vision. When he did speak up, though, his supporters in the studio audience gave him noisy encouragement. As is often the way in TV debates, Labour voters tend to be louder than Tory ones. Whether they’re more numerous, however, we shall soon find out.

Ms Rudd had two sticky moments. One, when she invited the studio audience to “judge [the Government] on our record” – and several of them laughed. The second was the final question: about political leadership. There was no satisfactory answer the Home Secretary could have given here – and she certainly didn’t think of one. It was a curious experience, watching her attempting to trumpet the fearlessness of someone who’d ducked the debate. Perhaps Mrs May is so convinced of her excellence as a leader that she feels no need to prove it.

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