Amber Rudd resigned as Home Secretary on Sunday night after admitting she had “inadvertently misled” Parliament over the existence of deportation targets. The Conservative MP was said to have been preparing to tough it out after a week of calls for her to resign over her handling of the Windrush scandal but decided to step down late last night, alerting the Prime Minister by telephone.
Amber Rudd was forced out of the government last night after she admitted that she misled parliament over Home Office deportation targets in the fallout from the Windrush scandal. Hours before she was due to appear before MPs to deny that she had set targets to remove illegal immigrants, Downing Street announced that Theresa May had accepted her resignation as home secretary. In her resignation letter Ms Rudd admitted that her office had been alerted to the targets and added: “I should have been aware of this and take full responsibility for the fact that I was not.”
Amber Rudd finally bowed to massive pressure last night and quit saying she had to ‘take responsibility’ for misleading parliament over deportation targets for illegal migrants. With no sign of the scandal blowing over, the Home Secretary decided to fall on her sword rather than face more humiliation. ‘I feel it is necessary to do so because I inadvertently misled the Home Affairs Select Committee,’ she said – admitting she ‘should have been aware’ the targets existed. The dramatic departure will be a huge blow for Theresa May – and potentially leaves her personally vulnerable.
Amber Rudd has resigned as home secretary amid increasing pressure over the way the Home Office handled immigration policy. Her resignation came after leaked documents undermined her claims she was unaware of the deportation targets her officers were using. Downing Street confirmed Theresa May had accepted Ms Rudd’s resignation on Sunday night. She is the fifth cabinet minister to have left their position since the Prime Minister called the snap election in June 2017.
There is now nothing standing between the PM and a reckoning for her own part in the Windrush scandal. When Amber Rudd sent a series of four tweets on Friday evening, it was clear she intended to tough out the furore over the Windrush scandal and immigration removal targets. Writing on Twitter, the Home Secretary insisted she was not aware of specific targets, in line with her evidence to the Home Affairs Committee last week, despite the leaking of a memo suggesting otherwise.
The role of Home Secretary is one of the great offices of state – and widely coveted by politicians. The manoeuvring is now under way to replace Amber Rudd after her dramatic resignation. But Theresa May faces a major headache to maintain the delicate balance between Brexit and Remain in her Cabinet. The new incumbent will also need to be able to hit the ground running with the Windrush crisis still raging. Here are the main runners and riders to take over at the Home Office, together with the odds from Ladbrokes.
Sajid Javid – Evens
Michael Gove – 5/1
Jeremy Hunt – 6/1
Karen Bradley – 6/1
James Brokenshire – 8/1
Having already lost her right-hand man Damian Green, Rudd’s departure leaves her without any close allies in her own top team. In choosing Rudd’s replacement, May needs to strike a tricky balance – particularly in 2018. She needs to keep roughly even numbers of Remainers and Brexiteers to keep the warring factions in her party from scratching each other’s eyes out for most of the time. She also needs to keep half an eye on people who could potentially challenge her increasingly precarious leadership.
THERESA May has been warned she will face a vote of no confidence in her leadership if she fails to stand firm on immigration and customs arrangements in a crunch week for Brexit policy. Senior Tory backbenchers have told the Daily Express that they are preparing to trigger a challenge of the Prime Minister’s leadership if she adopts soft policies on EU immigration and the EU customs arrangements at a key Brexit cabinet sub-committee meeting this week. It comes amid fears that Mrs May’s senior adviser, Whitehall mandarin Olly Robbins, has persuaded her to push for a customs partnership which could tie Britain to the EU and support proposals to give EU citizens preferential immigration treatment after Brexit.
Theresa May has been warned she could be ousted as Prime Minister unless she reins in the unelected adviser pushing for Britain to remain tied to the EU Customs Union after Brexit. The Prime Minister has repeatedly assured voters she will stick to her manifesto pledge to take Britain out of the Customs Union, which prevents the country from making its own trade deals or choosing how to cast its vote on global bodies like the World Trade Organisation independently. But this Wednesday rumours emerged she could adopt recommendations to propose a so-called customs partnership with the bloc, which would see Britain collect EU tariffs on behalf of Brussels — in line with previous hints at a “partial” customs union with the bloc.
Theresa May’s chief of staff and the government chief whip took the unusual step of publicly rebuking ministers for briefing against civil servants working on Brexit. In a sign of acute tension inside Whitehall before a cabinet meeting this week, Gavin Barwell and Julian Smith said that “attacking” officials was “deeply unfair”. Their comments came after two Sunday newspapers reported that David Davis, the Brexit secretary, had complained about Mrs May’s chief EU negotiator, Oliver Robbins. Mr Davis had told Mr Barwell that Mr Robbins had too much power and that Mrs May was failing to listen to cabinet concerns over the strategy he was pursuing, according to the reports.
Brexit secretary David Davis has sought to defuse tensions with No 10 by playing down reports that he might resign unless Theresa May sidelines Whitehall’s top civil servant working on Britain’s exit from the EU. After unexpected interventions from the cabinet secretary Jeremy Heywood and May’s close aide Gavin Barwell defending Oliver Robbins, an aide to Davis said on Sunday evening that no such threats had been made. The aide added that Davis considered Robbins to be “a fantastic civil servant”. Davis’s intervention comes in a crucial week for May who faces a tense Brexit inner cabinet meeting on Wednesday when she is expected to discuss a plan, backed by Robbins, to create a customs partnership with the EU. Another option on the table is the so-called “max fac” – or maximum facilitation – solution, using technology to minimise the need for border checks.
The radio silence surrounding Britain’s post-Brexit migration policy is worrying Brexiteers – and now rumours are swirling that the government could be about to totally sell-out and offer Brussels a migration policy similar to the current freedom of movement that the British people rejected so overwhelmingly. Now The Independent reckons that the policy on the table could involve visa-free travel for EU migrants, that they could have a distinct path for being able to stay and work, with some vague ability for the government to restrict migration. An EU source is even quoted as saying: “The British have said that this idea could get things moving again, and that it looks very similar to free movement. We will see.”
House of Lords
Ministers face a heavy defeat in the Lords today on a central plank of their Brexit strategy. Peers aim to give parliament the final say on what happens if there is no deal with the EU. An amendment to the withdrawal bill would remove Theresa May’s power unilaterally to pull Britain out if parliament refuses to approve any final Brexit deal. It would let the Commons decide what happens next if MPs reject the final deal — potentially sending the prime minister back to the negotiating table. The amendment is being backed by Labour and has significant support from Tory peers. It is expected to be passed with a three-figure majority.
SHAMELESS peers will launch their most flagrant bid yet to block Brexit tomorrow. They hope to derail the EU Withdrawal Bill with a deluge of wrecking amendments. Remainers see the crucial Lords vote as their biggest chance to halt the process or force a second referendum. They plan to bog down the government by erecting “roadblocks” to a swift and clean departure. Lord Newby, leader of the Lib Dem peers, wants to insert a clause in the Bill to guarantee a fresh in-out referendum if Britain fails to clinch a good Brexit deal.
Remoaners in Parliament are launching their last-ditch attack on the referendum result as they desperately try to stop Brexit. Europhile Labour Lords are pushing for a ‘no Brexit amendment’ that would remove power from government to negotiate with Brussels and give anti-Brexit forces in Parliament more sway. They are backed up by pro-EU MPs, who are plotting so that if they vote against the eventual UK-EU Brexit deal, Britain wouldn’t simply leave with No Deal but would be directed by those in Parliament who want to keep the UK in the Customs Union and Single Market.
Unelected peers will today launch their ‘most dangerous’ attempt yet to derail Brexit as they seek to snatch negotiating powers from ministers. Eurosceptics last night warned that proposed amendments to the Government’s flagship Brexit legislation would give MPs and peers the chance to call a second referendum before the country leaves the EU. A Government source said the votes in the Lords risked making it ‘the most dangerous day yet for Brexit’, with a raft of ‘very concerning’ motions. Ministers fear they will suffer defeat on a Liberal Democrat amendment requiring votes in the Lords and Commons on whether to hold a second referendum before Brexit is finalised after Labour last night said it would abstain.
Theresa May is facing another major rebellion over Brexit amid a cross-party move to kill off any attempt to crash out of the EU without a deal. A group of MPs and peers has been carefully crafting new laws that will hand parliament guaranteed powers to soften any deal and send the government back to the negotiating table. Tory sources already think there is enough support in the Commons for the plan, which they believe would end the threat of a “no deal” outcome. The move is being described by senior figures as one of the most significant amendments of the Brexit process. Ministers have previously warned that should the deal negotiated with the EU be voted down by parliament, Britain could simply leave the bloc with no agreement. However, the cross-party group’s proposal ensures that if the agreement were voted down, parliament could alter it and ask the government to reopen EU talks.
EU member states that fail to live up the European Union’s democratic values could find parts of their EU subsidies being “frozen” until they mend their ways, The Telegraph understands. Under proposals to be unveiled in Brussels this week by Guenther Oettinger, the EU’s budget commissioner, Eastern EU states like Poland and Hungary could feel a financial squeeze if they were deemed to have failed to live up to the founding values of the EU. The move comes after pressure from liberal groups in the European Parliament and leading western powers like France and Germany, who want to find a mechanism to put pressure on recalcitrant member states.
The European Union is set to step up its attempt to influence the decisions of democratically elected governments by withholding funding for governments who go against the wishes of Brussels. Guenther Oettinger, who is the EU’s Budget Commissioner, is set to reveal the move with the European Commission having already made clear that they want to see an increase in the EU’s budget – despite the fact that Britain leaving will leave a financial black hole in the organisation. There has long friction, with the EU having threatened the likes of Poland and Hungary with taking away voting rights over their refusal to accept migrant quotas.
The leaders of Germany, France and Britain are ready to push back if the Trump administration does not permanently exempt the European Union from new import taxes on aluminum and steel imports, German Chancellor said Sunday. Merkel said in a statement that she has spoken with French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May since returning from her Friday talks in Washington with U.S. President Donald Trump. The three European leaders “agreed that the U.S. ought not to take any trade measures against the European Union,” which is “resolved to defend its interests within the multilateral trade framework.” The chancellor’s statement did not outline specific steps the 28-nation EU might take.
THE EU is dragging Britain into a trade war with south east Asia which has put an estimated £7 billion of defence and aerospace contracts at risk. In the latest evidence that Britain needs to throw off Brussels rule as soon as possible, the EU’s proposed protectionist measures against palm oil have put at risk thousands of defence and aerospace jobs. Palm oil exports are a key part of the Malaysian, Indonesian and Thai economies. The three countries account for over 85 per cent of the industry due to be worth £65 billion by the end of the decade. But the EU is planning to ban the product claiming that it puts rainforests at risk. However, critics have pointed out that palm oil is a major competitor for Italian, Greek and Spanish olive oil producers.
President Donald Trump has blasted the European Union as an organisation “formed to take advantage of the United States”, and warned the U.S. is “not doing business” with the bloc if it does not change its ways. “Long-term you’re going to be so happy,” he told supporters at major rally in Washington, Michigan, promising to put an end to unfair trade arrangements which see EU exporters facing low or no tariffs while selling into the U.S., while the EU maintains far higher barriers against U.S. exporters. “We’re going to [these markets] opened up or we’re not doing business with these countries,” he vowed. He said that the European Union “sounds so nice” in theory, but imposes “tremendous blocks” on U.S. businesses, and was in fact “formed to take advantage of the United States”. “Not anymore, those days are over,” he promised.
Two former home secretaries are calling on the government to put national identity cards “back on the agenda” after the Windrush scandal. In a joint letter to The Times, Charles Clarke and Alan Johnson claim that if Theresa May had not abandoned plans to introduce ID cards as home secretary in 2010 then thousands of undocumented British citizens would have had their status regularised. They warn that unless the government reconsiders the policy, Brexit risks leaving thousands of EU citizens in a similar predicament. “Theresa May’s ideological and unwise decision to ditch the Labour government’s scheme immediately she took office as home secretary has left her and her beleaguered successor with no idea how to tackle the most pernicious form of immigration.
None of the five English boroughs taking part in a controversial trial of compulsory voter ID in local elections on Thursday has experienced a single instance of polling station impersonation in the past decade. Four boroughs told the Guardian they had no record of any offences, while one had a single allegation in 2006, which was dealt with by a police caution. It emerged after the Electoral Reform Society said the plan was deeply flawed and appeared a “calculated effort by the government to make voting harder for some citizens”. The Equality and Human Rights Commission has written to the government about the potential discriminatory impact of the trial, which charities have said risks disenfranchising more vulnerable people, such as older voters and the homeless.
Teenagers from disadvantaged backgrounds are being offered places at some of Britain’s top universities with lower grades than middle-class pupils, The Daily Telegraph can disclose. Fifteen universities including UCL, King’s College, Exeter, Manchester, Warwick, York, Newcastle, Leeds and Liverpool have launched formal schemes where the applicants can get an alternative offer reduced by up to two grades below the normal required tariff, which is generally at least AAB. Birmingham is prepared to lower offers by up to three grades for medicine where students are typically offered A*AA.
Hundreds of thousands of patients will not have to wait so long for treatment because the NHS has changed the colours on GPs’ computer screens. A traffic light system that encourages family doctors to send patients to quieter hospitals cut referrals to overstretched units by up to 38 per cent in pilot schemes. It will now be extended across the country. Hospitals with shorter waiting times appear in green at the top of GPs’ screens and red flags appear against those that are overwhelmed, after a tweak to IT systems by the Whitehall “nudge unit”.
Thousands of roadworks a year will be shifted on to pavements under government plans to cut congestion and prevent roads from being plagued by potholes, The Times has learnt. Utility companies will be ordered to put new pipes and cables under pavements or grass verges as a default position before seeking to dig up roads. Chris Grayling, the transport secretary, said that the change was needed because potholes were far more likely to appear on sections of roads that had been recently dug up.
Britain’s roads are worse than those in Chile, Cyprus and Oman despite motorists paying some of the highest taxes in the world. A report from the World Economic Forum ranked our roads 27th in the world in terms of quality in 2017-18. Our roads were worse than those in the United States, Japan and South Korea. It was the second consecutive year that Britain was ranked 27th. Yet motorists in the UK pay some of the highest tax rates, prompting claims that drivers are being short-changed. Fuel duty brings in almost £33 billion and vehicle excise duty £6 billion.