Home Secretary Amber Rudd is refusing to resign despite a series of damaging leaks relating to the Windrush scandal which has placed her record at the Home Office under heavy scrutiny.
On Twitter on Friday night, Amber Rudd wrote: “I will be making a statement in the House of Commons on Monday in response to legitimate questions that have arisen on targets and illegal migration.
“I wasn’t aware of specific removal targets. I accept I should have been and I’m sorry that I wasn’t. I didn’t see the leaked document, although it was copied to my office as many documents are. As Home Secretary I will work to ensure that our immigration policy is fair and humane.”
Her remarks came after a Guardian report this week had contradicted her claims that she had been unaware of controversial deportation targets set by the Home Office.
Rudd told the Home Affairs Select Committee this week that the Home Office did not have targets for removals. She then backtracked and claimed the department had local targets, but said she was unaware of them.
The memo leaked to the Guardian on Friday contradicted that claim, and showed that Rudd was sent a memo which said the department had “a target of achieving 12,800 enforced returns in 2017-18,” adding that “we have exceeded our target of assisted returns.”
The issue of deportations has become particularly toxic because of the Windrush scandal, which erupted following reports that numerous Caribbean-born UK immigrants had been harassed, threatened with deportation, and made destitute despite being legally resident in Britain.
In response to the scandal, Rudd told MPs that the Home Office had “lost sight of individuals” and “become too concerned with policy and strategy,” an apparent jab at May, who was her predecessor as Home Secretary.
Shortly afterwards, a leaked private letter sent by Rudd to May – which some suggested was leaked by Downing Street – revealed that the Home Secretary had privately boasted to May that she would give immigration officials more “teeth” to hunt down and deport thousands more illegal migrants and accelerate the UK’s deportation programme.
A bad week for the Home Secretary became worse on Thursday when she hinted that the government would consider keeping the UK in a customs union with the EU after Brexit, which would represent a dramatic shift in official policy. One Cabinet minister reportedly suggested it was evidence that Rudd had “thrown caution to the wind.”
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