Friday, September 20, 2019

Home Secretary Amber Rudd quits

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Sky News:-  Amber Rudd has resigned as Home Secretary after being accused of misleading Parliament.

Ms Rudd, who had been under pressure over what she knew about deportation targets for illegal immigrants, phoned Prime Minister Theresa May to tell her she was quitting.

She had faced intensifying calls to quit over claims she misled Parliament over the targets – as well as the Windrush scandal.

This has seen Commonwealth citizens who came to Britain after the Second World War being wrongly threatened with deportation.

In a letter to the PM, Ms Rudd said she “inadvertently misled” a committee of top MPs, adding: “Since appearing before the select committee, I have reviewed the advice I was given on this issue and become aware of information provided to my office which makes mention of targets.

“I should have been aware of this, and I take full responsibility for the fact that I was not.”

The PM said Ms Rudd had answered questions from the committee and MPs in the Commons “in good faith” and she was “very sorry” to see her leave her job.

Ms Rudd’s departure is a major blow for Mrs May, who publicly declared her “full confidence” in her ally as recently as Friday.

Having told the Home Affairs Select Committee earlier this week that her department did not have targets for deporting illegal immigrants, a 2015 report swiftly emerged contradicting her evidence.

Ms Rudd was hauled before MPs and admitted they did exist. However, she claimed she was not aware of them and had not signed them off.

The pressure on the MP for Hastings and Rye increased further on Friday when a memo – copied to her – talking about targets emerged.

Ms Rudd insisted once again that she did not know about them and claimed to have not read the memo.

Sky’s Political Editor Faisal Islam said: “My understanding is this is about what was and wasn’t said to Parliament rather than the handling in general of Windrush.

“If there’s some connection between a crackdown, which was certainly not aimed at the Windrush generation but in which they were caught up, then I think the Government may well have further questions to answer and clearly the opposition will try to point that towards Theresa May’s tenure at the Home Office.”

The resignation of Ms Rudd is the fourth Cabinet departure in six months, following the exits of Sir Michael Fallon, Priti Patel and Damian Green.

Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson said Ms Rudd was “carrying the can for the person originally responsible for this scandal – Theresa May”.

Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Sir Ed Davey said: “It’s clear that Amber Rudd has ended up, at least partly, being the fall guy to protect the Prime Minister.

“Theresa May must face questions now given these dreadful failures largely took place under her watch as Home Secretary.”

Michael Gove paid tribute to his one-time Cabinet colleague, with the Environment Secretary tweeting: “I’m so sad about Amber’s departure from government – she was a huge asset – brave, principled, thoughtful, humane, considerate and always thinking of the impact of policy on the vulnerable – I hope Amber will be back soon – we need her.”

Backbench Tory MP Anna Soubry said Ms Rudd was a woman of “great courage and immense ability”, adding: “Amber will be missed in many ways. We’ll give her a huge welcome on to our back benches.

“If there is any justice she will soon return to the highest of office. Proud to call her my friend.”

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