Embattled British Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, has resigned after a leaked letter undermined her claim that she did not know about targets to deport immigrants while in office.
In the letter, written more than a year ago, Rudd set out her plans to increase removals by 10 per cent, contradicting her earlier denial to British politicians in parliament last week.
The home secretary had faced mounting pressure in recent days over her role in setting the culture and policies that led to long-term residents of the United Kingdom from Caribbean countries being denied healthcare, pensions and benefits – and in some cases the threat of deportation.
The British government last Monday, April 23, had indicated that Commonwealth nationals, including those from the Caribbean, who came to Britain between 1948 and 1973 on the ship, ‘Empire Windrush,’ would have their status formalized.
Rudd had then told parliament that the information to be gathered in a helpline would not be used to remove people from the country.
She instead assured that its purpose was to help and support Commonwealth nationals. She also was adamant that it had never been the intention for a crackdown on illegal immigration to affect those who were British in all but their legal status.
However, in her resignation letter to the prime minister, published by British newspaper, The Guardian, Rudd said she had “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 that I was not.”
In accepting her resignation British Prime Minister, Theresa May said Rudd had answered questions during a select committee about the Windrush scandal “in good faith” and added she was “very sorry” about her decision to leave.
May added that Rudd had led her department with “great integrity, compassion and selflessness – notwithstanding the personal and political challenges you have faced during this period”. She is expected to announce Rudd’s replacement on Monday.
Before her resignation, Rudd had promised to speed up the compensation for anyone who had “suffered loss” during the targeted operations.
She had pointed out that the citizenship offer would apply not just to the families of Caribbean migrants, who came to the UK between 1948 and 1973, but anyone from other Commonwealth nations who settled in the UK over the same period.
It is not clear if the offer will still stand following her departure as home secretary.
Rudd’s resignation also comes just days before the local elections in which the ruling party has already feared it may be impacted by the Windrush scandal and how conservatives may now be viewed by minority ethnic communities.