May 26, 2018

United Kingdom minister resigns over immigration scandal

04 May 2018, 10:44 | Marta Robbins

Michael Gove has been making regular appearances on radio and television defending the Prime Minister

Michael Gove has been making regular appearances on radio and television defending the Prime Minister

British Prime Minister Theresa May had appointed Mr Sajid Javid to replace Ms Amber Rudd, who quit the post of home secretary on Sunday after misleading lawmakers over deportation targets for illegal immigrants.

Javid is the son of a Pakistani immigrant bus driver and is one of the most outspoken members of May's cabinet to confront President Trump over his tweets about Muslims.

She faced mounting pressure after admitting she had "inadvertently" misled MPs over the existence of targets for removing illegal immigrants in her handling of the Windrush scandal.

The pressure had been building on the former banker ever since the emergence of the "appalling" treatment of Caribbean immigrants to the United Kingdom between the 1940s and 1970s - the so-called Windrush generation. Only last week she had denied any knowledge of such targets, but correspondence published by the Guardian on Sunday showed Rudd had told Downing Street past year of an "ambitious but deliverable" target for an increase in deportations.

The Prime Minister announced her choice this morning as she struggled to cope with the fallout from Amber Rudd's decision to step down from the role over the Windrush migrant scandal.

"She was presiding over, in her terms, the creation of a hostile environment", he said.

Highlighting his status as a second-generation migrant, the Home Secretary described how the row has "affected me greatly", adding: "I thought that that could be my mum, my brother, my uncle or even me".

Javid's primary job at the interior ministry, or Home Office, will not be an easy one either.

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Rudd became the fourth person forced to resign from the UK Cabinet in the last six months - following former defence minister Sir Michael Fallon, former global development minister Priti Patel and May's deputy Damian Green. Javid's "approach to migration is instinctively liberal - or, to put it more accurately, business-friendly", in contrast to that of the PM, says Conservative Home's Paul Goodman.

Javid will now take Rudd's place on May's Brexit committee, a cabinet sub-grouping balanced between those who supported staying in the European Union and those who wanted to leave.

"It appears that the Prime Minister, by asking the new Home Secretary to conduct an inquiry separately, without any of the clear processes and powers that we're talking about, is trying to avoid accountability", a Labour spokesman told reporters.

Both he and Mrs Bradley worked with Theresa May while she was Home Secretary.

Javid on Monday said his most urgent task was "to help those British citizens that came from the Caribbean, the so-called Windrush generation, and make sure that they are treated with the decency and the fairness that they deserve".

Giving evidence to MPs yesterday, Ms Rudd denied the Tories' immigration policy had fuelled the saga.

Mark Pritchard, MP for The Wrekin, said he was saddened by Miss Rudd's resignation, saying she should not be held entirely to blame for the Windrush affair.

But Rudd's position worsened after she told lawmakers last week that the government did not have targets for deporting people - only for a 2017 memo to emerge that mentioned specific targets for "enforced removals".

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