Boris Johnson tried to get Amber Rudd into the back of his car after his famous TV jibe that she wouldn’t trust him to drive her home, she revealed.
Former home secretary Ms Rudd said she declined an invitation to join Mr Johnson in his chauffeur-driven official limousine as they left a cabinet meeting.
She said the police who witnessed the incident were “laughing with laughter” as she mocked Mr Johnson, who was foreign secretary at the time.
To add insult to injury, she told him she meant it when she first made the comment in 2016. In a wide-ranging interview, Mr Rudd, who opposed leaving the EU, said:
Senior Conservatives who privately backed Brexit – “after a drink or two” – admit Brexit is a “disaster”
It was “impossible” for her to be an active Tory because “you have to say Brexit was a success”
When she married the late food critic AA Gill, he was broke and the first thing he did was get her to settle his £120 butcher’s bill.
Mr Rudd sparked outrage in a televised debate ahead of the EU referendum in June 2016, when she told Mr Johnson he was “the life and soul of the party… but he’s not the man you want driving you home at the end of the evening. “.
She has now indicated that she was true to her word when they later served together in Theresa May’s cabinet.
“We were both at a ministerial meeting and our cars were outside,” Miss Rudd told Sir Craig Oliver, director of communications for No. 10 David Cameron, in his new series of podcasts. Desperately seeking wisdom.
“He said, ‘Come on, I’m going to give you a lift home.’ I said, ‘No, I’m sorry, I haven’t changed my mind, Boris.'”
Mr Rudd suggested that Mr Johnson’s offer to ride in his car was an attempt to avenge his TV snub, and recalled that police protection officers who witnessed the incident were “laughing with laughter” when he got away .
“Obviously he told them he was going to say ‘Come on, get into my car,’ hamming it up,” she said.
Ms Rudd said she had no regrets about the dig at Mr Johnson during the referendum debate.
She said she planned the embarrassing description from the start: “I don’t think it’s surprising to say. I heard a sharp gasp from the TV audience – but it landed for a good reason.”
Mr Rudd claimed that the Tory Brexiteers have now indicated that leaving the EU has failed. “If you discuss Brexit after they’ve had a drink or two, they’ll admit it was a disaster,” she said. “It was an act of self-harm.”
Ms Rudd said she had been “abandoned” by the Conservatives: “I’m not in politics because I can’t stand up and say Brexit is a success. You have to do that to be a Conservative spokesperson,” she said.
She also spoke fondly of her ex-husband, the late food writer AA Gill, who died in 2016, saying she married him without realizing he was a penniless recovering alcoholic.
“He didn’t have a woman to his name. After we got married he gave me his butcher’s bill for £120.
“When I started seeing him he kept going to meetings. I had no idea what they were, I thought he was working hard. Then I realized it was Alcoholics Anonymous. A smarter person might have worked out what the meetings were at six o’clock in the evening.
“I’ve never met anyone so provocative, interesting and confident – despite having no bank account or driver’s license in his mid-thirties.”
She was determined not to be bitter when Gill left her for former model Nicola Formby after catching them out at Heathrow airport on her way back from a honeymoon.
“A friend of mine told me that her mother was toxic about her father, and the problems he caused her. She told me, ‘Don’t let them hate their father.’
“It was painful. And it was hard to let go of the love I felt for him. But the love I felt for my children was more important.”
Mr Rudd also said she was right to resign as home secretary in 2018 over the Windrush immigrant deportation scandal because the mistreatment was a “heinous sin”.
Sir Craig Oliver’s podcast, ‘Desperately Seeking Wisdom’, is available from Monday on Globalplayer and other podcast apps