Amber Rudd has denied she sold her “soul” and abandoned her opposition to a no-deal Brexit in order to keep her job in cabinet.
Asked on Tuesday morning if she was a “sell out”, the work and pensions secretary said: “I don’t think so, no.”
Rudd was one of the leading voices in Theresa May’s government opposed to the UK leaving the EU without an agreement.
But she shifted position during the Tory leadership contest in July and accepted no-deal had to remain an option.
Boris Johnson required ministers to be willing to support no-deal if they wanted a place in his cabinet.
Rudd, who initially backed Jeremy Hunt in the leadership race, kept her job after Johnson became prime minister.
Other Tories opposed to no-deal, including Philip Hammond and David Gauke, quit government in order to argue against it from the backbenches.
Speaking to ITV News today, Rudd said she was “comfortable” with her decision.
“In this job everybody will launch some sort of criticism at whatever decision you’ve made,” she said.
I made a decision to back a candidate in the leadership race, which initially was Jeremy Hunt, who was very clear we needed to have no-deal as part of the armoury.
“And having done that I made my own decision not compromise on that basis and to go ahead. Prime Minister Boris Johnson put his own cabinet together.”
Rudd added: “I think everybody has to think very carefully about what they can add to a cabinet and what they can support and I am comfortable with what I have decided to do.”
Johnson has promised to take the UK out of the EU by October 31 “no ifs, no buts”.
The pledge has set the stage for one final battle in parliament as MPs opposed to no-deal try to prevent the PM forcing an exit.