These latest revelations ought to finish Amber Rudd’s career

The Home Secretary hasn’t got a leg to stand on.

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Taxi for Amber Rudd? The Home Secretary’s bad week has just got a whole lot worse after the Guardian got hold off a Home Office memo, sent to her, the then-immigration minister Brandon Lewis, and her special advisors laying out in specific detail the targets set by the Home Office for the number of people to be removed from the United Kingdom.

It suggests that Rudd misled MPs on at least one occasion. She told the home affairs select committee that the Home Office had no targets for removals, then that she was unaware of these targets and that they would be scrapped. Now it emerges that she saw the relevant targets herself.

Lying to parliament is usually a resigning offence. Adding to Rudd’s woes, she has compromised herself on what should be a minor issue. The Home Office already has a nationwide immigration target: to reduce net immigration to “the tens of thousands”, so it of course will have a series of micro-targets that it has to meet that. And the question of Home Office targets is incidental to the problem of the hostile environment ensnaring Commonwealth Britons: this group will still face difficulties accessing healthcare, financial services and social security, and will ultimately then end up in the same position they are in now, in fear of deportation, regardless of whether or not the Home Office has a target or not.

The question of targets was a pure and inexplicable gift from the home affairs select committee that Rudd ought to have been able to deal with comfortably and easily. And that will only add to her political woes: because as well as being inconsistent in her remarks to MPs she has also been thoroughly incompetent.  

Stephen Bush is political editor of the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics.

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