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Apr 30, 2018

The Guardian | Home secretary Amber Rudd quits as immigration crisis grows – as it happened | Politics on April 30, 2018.

theguardian.com

Home secretary Amber Rudd quits as immigration crisis grows – as it happened | Politics

Jessica Elgot


Hello, we’re closing this blog down now but you can follow the latest developments in the Windrush scandal and find out when Theresa May names the new home secretary in our new politics live blog here:

Summary

  • Amber Rudd has resigned as home secretary after repeatedly struggling to explain her role in the unjust treatment of Windrush generation migrants. In her resignation letter to the prime minister (see 11.33pm), she said she was quitting because, having reviewed the advice she received from officials, she now accepted that she should have been aware that the Home Office had targets for the removal of illegal immigrants. On Wednesday she told the home affairs committee that such targets did not exist. On Thursday she admitted they did exist, but claimed not to have known about them. On Friday, after the Guardian published evidence that her office had been told about the targets, she claimed that she had not seen the particular leaked document in question. Tonight, after a more thorough review of her ministerial paper trail, she accepted that she should have known about the information sent to her office mentioning targets.
  • May is expected to appoint a replacement to Rudd on Monday. She will want to appoint someone with the authority and ability to defuse the Windrush scandal, while being mindful of the need not to upset the cabinet’s delicate Brexit balance. (The home secretary sits on the cabinet’s 11-strong key Brexit decision making body, the EU exit and trade [strategy and negotiation] sub committee, and Rudd was one of the members pushing most strongly for a softer Brexit.)
  • Labour and the Lib Dems have called on May to come to the Commons to make a statement about Rudd’s resignation and the Windrush debacle. Rudd’s departure poses a significant threat to May because May herself when she was home secretary introduced many of the measures that have led to Windrush migrants losing jobs or benefits, or facing the threat of deportation, but until now Rudd has shouldered much of the blame.
  • Rudd has used her resignation letter to confirm that the Home Office is preparing emergency legislation to protect the rights of the Windrush generation. In a significant admission, Rudd also referred to it as “the Windrush scandal” in her letter. (See 11.33pm.)
  • May has used her reply to Rudd to suggest that Rudd could return to government in due course. “I know that you have a great contribution still to make to national life, and look forward to seeing you do so,” the prime minister wrote.
I am wrapping up now, but colleagues will be updating the blog if there are any significant developments.
Updated

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This is from the Financial Times’ political editor, George Parker.
George Parker (@GeorgeWParker)
Tory MPs asking where was Caroline Nokes, the immigration minister, during all of this? Also, friends of Amber Rudd wondering whether Mark Sedwill, former perm sec at Home Office and now nat security adviser, might have sorted this sooner. But they admit: "She should have known."
April 29, 2018

“It is bitter sweet. Rudd had to go to go because of her performance and because of her denials of the targets. But we all know that Theresa May is the architect of that 2014 migration policy. I feel like it is one down, one to go. My personal opinion is: Theresa May next. May should be looking over her shoulder now,” Cardlin Johnson said.
Johnson has spent years trying to help her brothers, Trevor and Desmond Johnson, solve catastrophic problems caused by the Home Office; Trevor, a widowed parent of teenage daughters was left destitute in London while his brother Desmond remains exiled in Jamaica and unable to return to the UK, and as a result has not seen his daughter in 16 years.
But she added that she was concerned that the resignation could slow down the process of trying to get practical problems solved for the Windrush victims. “More than likely this will slow up compensation,” she said. “But that’s a question for later. People now just need to get the papers they need so they can get their life back on track.”

This is from John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor.
John McDonnell MP (@johnmcdonnellMP)
You can smell the undoubted odour of a government decomposing. Amber Rudd’s forced resignation, increasingly bitter divisions over its Brexit policies & Lycamobile, a major donor to the Tory party, being prosecuted for a tax scam, all point to a government in terminal disarray.
April 29, 2018

Anthony Bryan, 60, who spent five weeks in immigration removal centres over the past two years, despite having lived in the UK for over half a century, was one of the first people interviewed in the Guardian last November about the Home Office’s brutal behaviour towards him. Subsequently he has spoken numerous times publicly and to politicians about his treatment, and he said he “nearly fell over” with shock when he heard the news of her resignation. He said:
It’s a shock. I feel like I helped bring down the home secretary. I wouldn’t say I am pleased; I feel sorry for her in a sense because it looks like she is taking the punishment for Theresa May.
But he acknowledged that Rudd had not handled things well in her answers on deportation targets. “Either she was lying or she didn’t know. I think she resigned because she didn’t want to face Monday.”
Bryan, who arrived in the UK when he was 8, and worked and paid taxes here for more than four decades until he was told that was illegal and had no right to work, welcomed the news as a sign that the Windrush scandal was finally being taken seriously. He said the scale of the problem had still not emerged; this evening he met a 67-year-old woman facing similar problems, who was still too scared to come forward to try to resolve them, he said.

This is from my colleague Nick Hopkins, the Guardian’s head of investigations, who wrote the stories (here and here) that seem to have triggered Rudd’s resignation.
Nick Hopkins (@nickhopkinsnews)
Our sources were telling us last week that the Home Office was littered with the sort of memos we published on Friday...documents that lay bare the target culture Amber Rudd denied existed
April 29, 2018

In a statement on the resignation of Amber Rudd, Satbir Singh, the chief executive of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, says the first thing her successor must do is order an inquiry into the Windrush scandal. Singh says:
The last two weeks have exposed the Home Office as arbitrary, chaotic, and cruel. Trust in the immigration system has been badly damaged among the people whose lives it has harmed and among the general public. The new home secretary will have to demonstrate an understanding of the mistakes that led us to this point, and commit to full and deep rooted reform in order to rebuild trust.
The list of areas in need of urgent attention from the incoming minister is too long to detail in full here. However, the first step must be an independent inquiry into the Windrush scandal and the hostile environment which enabled it. Then the upcoming white paper on immigration will be an opportunity for the new home secretary to set out a new approach to immigration post-Brexit. And the new minister must quickly offer new assurances to the 3 million European citizens resident in Britain that their rights will be protected more effectively than have been those of the Windrush generation.
Updated

These are from David Lammy, the Labour MP who has been a leading campaigner for the Windrush generation migrants.
David Lammy (@DavidLammy)
Response to Amber Rudd's resignation as Home Secretary:
The campaign for justice on behalf of the Windrush generation is not just about political scalps. At its heart this crisis is about a system that was allowed to dehumanise and victimise Windrush British citizens. (1)
April 29, 2018
David Lammy (@DavidLammy)
Amber Rudd resigned because she didn't know what was going on in her own department and she had clearly lost the confidence of her own civil servants. The real issue is the hostile environment policy that caused this crisis in the first place. (2)
April 29, 2018
David Lammy (@DavidLammy)
The resignation of the Home Secretary must not detract from the fact that this crisis was a direct result of the hostile environment policy. That policy must now be reviewed, and the Home Office must move quickly to compensate and grant citizenship to the Windush generation. (3)
April 29, 2018

Theresa May's letter to Rudd

And here is the prime minister’s reply. As Sky’s political editor, Faisal Islam, notes, the most pertinent line seems to be this:
As a former home secretary myself, I appreciate the particular demands of that great office of state.
Faisal Islam (@faisalislam)
PMs reply to response “as a former Home sec myself, I appreciate the particular demands of that Great Office of State” pic.twitter.com/zH8vq3by6Z
April 29, 2018
Faisal Islam (

April 29, 2018
Updated

Amber Rudd's resignation letter

Downing Street have released the text of Amber Rudd’s resignation letter. Here it is.
Amber Rudd resignation letter
Amber Rudd resignation letter Photograph: twitter
Amber Rud resignation letter page 2
Amber Rud resignation letter page 2 Photograph: twitter

Who are the contenders to be the next home secretary? Downing Street has said a new appointment will not be announced until later on Monday but these are the ministers and MPs who are in contention to replace Amber Rudd:
Updated

This is from George Osborne, the former chancellor. Rudd was his parliamentary private secretary for about a year and he is credited with helping to advance her career in government.
George Osborne (@George_Osborne)
So so sad to see Amber go - the Government just got a bit less human
April 29, 2018

Michael Gove, the environment secretary and (at least according to Ladbrokes - see 10.31pm) the favourite for next home secretary, has paid tribute to Rudd on Twitter.
Michael Gove (@michaelgove)
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
April 29, 2018
The Sun’s Tom Newton Dunn reckons Ladbrokes are way off the mark.
Tom Newton Dunn (@tnewtondunn)
One thing I'm pretty certain of is Michael Gove will not replace Rudd. He has a very different world view to May on immigration and security, and she still doesn't trust him as far as she can throw him.
April 29, 2018
Updated

This is from Nicky Morgan, who was sacked as education secretary by Theresa May and who is now one of the leading Tory campaigners for a softer Brexit from the backbenches. On Brexit, Morgan and her allies saw Rudd as one of their two leading allies in the cabinet (the other being Philip Hammond).
Nicky Morgan MP (@NickyMorgan01)
Very, very sorry to hear @AmberRuddHR has resigned. She is a talented & decent politician & Minister & it’s always been a pleasure to work with her.
April 29, 2018

From Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson
Tom Watson (@tom_watson)
I see Amber Rudd is carrying the can for the person originally responsible for this scandal - Theresa May.
April 29, 2018