How Amber Rudd simultaneously misled MPs and told the truth

In her resignation letter, Amber Rudd said she felt she had to quit because she had 'inadvertently misled' MPs. Credit: PA

There is a residual mystery about the resignation of Amber Rudd as home secretary.

In her resignation letter, as you know, she told the Prime Minister she felt she had to quit because she had “inadvertently misled” MPs on the home affairs select committee by saying there are no targets for the expulsion of illegal immigrants.

But what is really odd is that her senior immigration official, Hugh Ind, the Director General of Immigration Enforcement, was emailing the Home Office’s press office and assorted officials in the late afternoon of Wednesday - which was precisely the moment Rudd was denying the existence to MPs of targets for expelling illegal aliens - exactly corroborating her version of government practice and policy.

He was instructing the press office to brief people like me that “there are no removal targets for immigration enforcement officers, regional or national”.

And in an email sent a few minutes earlier he said “neither I nor HS [Home Secretary] recognise the description of targets” that had been given to the select committee in the immediately preceding session by the Immigration Service Union.

So if the senior non-political official was saying on the record “there are no targets”, it makes sense that for quite some time Rudd was denying she knew about targets.

Now here is the mystery.

Rudd has paid a substantial career price for getting it wrong.

But I am told that the Home Office and its official boss, the permanent secretary, do not think Ind’s emails were misleading or erroneous.

There is bound to be a way of making sense of this, but I have no idea where to start. Help!