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  1. ITV Report

Home secretary Amber Rudd faces repeated calls to resign over Windrush scandal

  • Video report by ITV News Political Correspondent Libby Wiener

Amber Rudd has faced numerous calls to resign from opposition politicians over the Windrush scandal.

The home secretary was accused on Wednesday by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn of inheriting a failed policy and making it worse, as he called for her resignation.

And speaking to MPs in the Commons on Thursday, she admitted regional targets for immigrant removals were used by the Home Office but she did not know about the use of them, having previously told a Committee that no targets existed.

Numerous MPs including Diane Abbott, David Lammy and the SNP's Alison Thewliss all questioned whether Ms Rudd should continue in her role. The home secretary rejected the suggested that she should hand in her resignation.

Ms Rudd responding to the calls for her to resign by saying: "I do take serious my responsibility but I do think I am the person who can put it right.

"I understand the House will want to hold me to account for that but I am confident that the changes I am putting in place and the transparency that will go with that will deliver the changes that are expected."

The Windrush scandal has resulted in many people who have lived in the UK legally for decades being threatened with deportation due to a lack of proof that they are in the country legally despite them being perfectly entitled to live here.

Due to this, there has been a greater focus on immigration policy with many questions whether the Home Office had targets to reduce the number of illegal migrants in the country, which may have led to them trying to deport those from the Windrush Generation. Something she originally denied but it then came to light that targets were indeed in place.

Ms Rudd has previously emphasised her commitment to tackling illegal immigration but admitted that these steps have had an "unintended and sometimes devastating" impact on people from the Windrush generation who are here legally but have struggled to get documentation to prove their status.

"The immigration arm of the Home Office has been using local targets for internal performance management.

"These were not published targets against which performance was assessed, but if they were used inappropriately then I am clear that this will have to change.

"I have asked officials to provide me with a full picture of performance measurement tools which are used at all levels, and will update the House and the Home Affairs select committee as soon as possible."

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott also called on Ms Rudd to quit, saying: "When Lord Carrington resigned over the Falklands, he said it was a matter of honour.

"Isn't it time that the Home Secretary considered her honour and resigned?" Ms Rudd said: "I believe I have addressed the issue of targets, referring to the fact that there are some offices which are working with them.

"Unfortunately I was not aware of them and I want to be aware of them, which is why I'm now putting in place different measures to ensure that that happens."

The SNP's Alison Thewliss added to the calls for Ms Rudd to resign, claiming she was presiding over a department "out of control".

Ms Thewliss said: "There is a litany of callous incompetence in this department and it is a problem of deliberate policy: cruel hostile environment policy by the former home secretary now Prime Minister and continued unabated by the current Home Secretary."

She added: "This Home Secretary is presiding over a department out of control, marked by cruelty and chaos.

"Will she stop shielding the Prime Minister, will she do the honourable thing and resign?"

Labour former minister David Lammy also questioned if Ms Rudd was the right person to be Home Secretary, telling MPs: "I asked the minister at the last urgent question how many people had been deported, she said she didn't know.

"I asked her how many people have been imprisoned in her own country, she said she didn't know.

"There are impact statements that have been ignored, there are letters from MPs and she said she wasn't aware of a pattern.

"We now understand people have been removed because of targets and she said she didn't know.

"I say with all conscience is she really the right person to leave this office of state?"

Labour's Yvette Cooper, chairwoman of the Commons Home Affairs Committee, said it was "deeply disappointing that the Home Secretary did not know the facts" when she gave evidence to the committee on Wednesday.

She asked: "The Foreign Office have said that in April 2016 as part of regular ministerial dialogue with Caribbean partners, Foreign Office ministers were made aware of concerns about some immigration deportation cases.

"Were those concerns passed to Home Office ministers and what did they do?"

Ms Rudd replied: "(Ms Cooper) raised that with me yesterday and I have said to her then as I repeat here I will look into that and I will come back to her with an answer to that question as soon as I can."