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UK home secretary resigns following immigration scandal

UK home secretary resigns following immigration scandal

Hours before she was due to make statement to MPs, Rudd, one of the Cabinet's leading soft Brexiteers and a possible future Conservative leadership contender, quit as home secretary following fresh allegations she had misled the public over her department's targets to remove illegal immigrants.

Government sources insist May did not consider sacking Rudd on Friday evening, nor had Rudd offered her resignation, after the Guardian provided details of the memo contradicting Rudd's claims there was no policy of immigration targets.

The Windrush scandal overshadowed the Commonwealth summit in London and has raised questions about May's six-year stint as Home Secretary before she became prime minister in the wake of the 2016 Brexit referendum.

She has faced criticism over the existence of government removals targets, and her reported knowledge of them.

"Brandon Lewis's attempt to save the Home Secretary's career by hiding behind semantics is insulting for the people who have been affected by the Tories' heartless policies", she said.

The MP for Hastings on England's south coast, who had led the Home Office since 2016, was seen as a moderate on the European Union and a balancing force in a cabinet made up of several big-name pro-Brexit figures, such as Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Environment Secretary Michael Gove.

The PM said Ms Rudd had answered questions from the committee and MPs in the Commons "in good faith" and she was "very sorry" to see her leave.

Labour said the letter proved there were removals targets and Ms Rudd was aware of them - something she has previously denied.

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Writing in the Sunday Telegraph before Ms Rudd's resignation, a senior Tory minister urged ethnic minority voters not to abandon the party over the scandal.

In the letter, from January 2017, leaked to the Guardian, Ms Rudd tells Theresa May - her predecessor as home secretary - about plans to restructure the department to focus on the "aim of increasing the number of enforced removals by more than 10% over the next few years, something I believe is ambitious, but deliverable".

April 2018 - Allegations that Windrush immigrants are being threatened with deportation break. Amber Rudd knew of the targets she pretended didn't exist. "It's time for Rudd to go and for the government to rethink its whole approach".

Downing Street confirmed the development with a No 10 spokesman telling the BBC: "The Prime Minister has tonight accepted the resignation of the Home Secretary".

Lewis today contrasted "targets" with "ambitions", saying Rudd was aware only of the latter.

"I didn't see the leaked document, although it was copied to my office as many documents are", she said in response to that report.

"She is a woman of great courage & enormous ability", Soubry said.

"There's a big difference between the two things", he said.