It's nothing to do with appeal to authority. The claim was that she lacks intelligence. She certainly doesn't interview well, but not all intelligent people do. Getting into Cambridge, and competing a degree there is probably a better indication of intelligence. I gather she didn't come from a wealthy background. If she's not intelligent then I'd be really interested to know how she pulled it off.
Another comment was that she is unfit to be an MP. I simply pointed out that if there were more MPs like her we would have avoided the Iraq war one of the biggest mistakes in our lifetime. This observation does not require that Iraq is the be all and end it. It's an indication of good judgement, which is surely important. If Portillo was taken in by Blair's lies then that indicates poor judgement. And none of these observations necessitates viewing Lib Dems as a group as good or bad. From what I recall they opposed the war only because the UN didn't sanction it. I think that was one good reason but there were other good reasons as people like Alex Salmond, Diane Abbott, Claire Short, Robin Cook and others argued at the time.
if you are a regular viewer of The Week, do you remember the episode where Portillo came out backing the vote to leave the EU. He said that even if we vote to leave the EU it won't happen because they will negotiate a new settlement? Well it's not looking likely at the moment.