Brexit: Amber Rudd shares Hastings Pier letter in perceived attack on Theresa May

Harry Cockburn
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This is the Tory minister who will decide the outcome of the longest political leadership battle I've seen

This is the Tory minister who will decide the outcome of the longest political leadership battle I've seen

Amber Rudd has been accused of making a not-so-subtle dig at Theresa May’s handling of Brexit in a letter about the uncertain future of Hastings pier.

The letter focuses on overshooting a March deadline for re-opening the seaside attraction. The work and pensions secretary said she “can’t support any scenario” in which the pier remains closed indefinitely.

While she is the MP for the area, Ms Rudd has little power to intervene as the pier is privately owned.

The letter has prompted numerous comparisons to the torturous Brexit negotiations between Theresa May, the European Union, and parliament.

Here is the letter:

It was described as “an ill-disguised jibe about Mrs May's habit of keeping her cabinet in the dark about her plans for Brexit” by one newspaper.

On Twitter many have expressed similar views.

“This entire letter is an absolutely masterful trolling of Theresa May,” journalist Thomas Colson wrote.

A genuine row has been unfolding in Hastings in recent months after the purchase of the pier which underwent a £14m lottery-funded facelift in 2017 and won it the prestigious Stirling Prize for architecture.

Despite a local group crowdfunding £750,000 to take control of the pier when it went into administration, it was sold to Sheikh Abid Gulzar, the owner of Eastbourne pier, for just £60,000, according to Land Registry documents.

Since then it has remained closed for “repairs and improvements”, but was supposed to re-open in March.

However, it now appears he is planning to keep the pier closed for longer due to structural concerns.

“I urge the owner of Hastings Pier to conduct these repairs as a priority so that the pier may open as soon as possible. Our town cannot keep experiencing delay after delay,” Ms Rudd wrote.

Last month Ms Rudd publicly criticised Ms May in an article demanding the prime minister ruled out a no-deal Brexit.

The Independent has contacted both Ms Rudd's office and Hastings Pier for comment.