Amber Rudd has resigned as Britain’s home secretary for “inadvertently” misleading legislators about the existence of deportation targets for undocumented immigrants.
Rudd’s resignation on Sunday evening came after weeks of scrutiny over her handling of a scandal centred on the treatment of immigrants of mostly Caribbean descent who arrived in the UK after World War II to address labour shortages.
The former home secretary apologised to parliamentarians earlier this month after a multitude of reports revealed how members of the so-called Windrush generation – who have been residing in the UK for decades – were being denied services, losing their jobs and even facing deportation due to a tightening of immigration rules.
Rudd on Wednesday told MPs that removal targets for undocumented immigrants did not exist. But a day later, she was forced to climb down from that statement and said that “local” targets for “internal” use did exist, but that she had not been aware of them.
The cabinet minister came under fire again after The Guardian reported a six-page leaked memo prepared for Rudd and other senior ministers which said the Home Office had set “a target of achieving 12,800 enforced returns in 2017-18”, though Rudd said she had not seen the document.
But on Sunday, another report by the British daily suggested she had written a letter to UK Prime Minister Theresa May in January 2017 which mentioned an “ambitious, but deliverable” target of increasing the number of enforced removals by more than 10 percent.
May responded she was “very sorry” to receive Rudd’s resignation, the fourth from a cabinet minister in six months’ time.
On Monday, she appointed Sajid Javid as new home secretary.
The prime minister has been under scrutiny herself for the Windrush row over the strict rules she had introduced during her time as home secretary, requiring employers, health services and landlords to demand evidence of people’s immigration status.
“The architect of this crisis, Theresa May, must now step forward to give an immediate, full and honest account of how this inexcusable situation happened on her watch,” Diane Abbott, shadow home secretary for the Labour opposition party, said in a statement.