Profundity of the Punditry: Amber Rudd Edition

Some absolute classics from Fleet Street’s finest over the weekend. The usually sagacious John Rentoul’s Saturday column for the Indy declared Amber Rudd to be in a “surprisingly strong position”:

Dan Hodges at 5:13pm yesterday evening was almost onto something with his view that the latest Guardian story “supports Rudd”:

Top prize however goes to Paul Mason, who confidently tweeted at 9.56pm: “It’s become easier to imagine the end of the world than a Tory minister resigning for probably lying.”

News of Rudd’s departure broke just minutes later. Mason immediately fired off another 20 tweets to bury the take and cover his modesty. Peak neoliberalism? Peak punditry…

Rudd Audit Revealed She Missed Operational Targets

Worth noting that it isn’t the Guardian’s leaked memo from yesterday afternoon that brought down Amber Rudd. That referred only to the government’s overall ambition for increasing removal targets.

What Rudd missed was the fact that there were specific operational on the ground targets for deportations – and she knew nothing about them. Guido is told an audit ordered by Rudd over the weekend found numerous mentions of specific operational targets in documents she should have seen.

She missed them, knew they would be leaked, and, despite efforts from Number 10 to keep her in place for obvious reasons, decided she had to go…

Rich’s Monday Morning View

Rudd Resigns

At 10pm on a Sunday, after the first editions have gone and after the news bulletins…

Rudd Was Aware of Migrant Removal Targets

Amber Rudd on Friday claimed she was never aware of migrant removal targets:

A letter from Rudd to the PM in January last year, published by the Guardian tonight, reveals she was:

Worth noting the Guardian quoted from this letter on Friday 20 April and are now claiming today’s story is “breaking news”. Cheeky…

Lewis: I Told Rudd About Migrant Removals “Ambition”

So Rudd knew of an “ambition” to increase migrant removals, but Brandon Lewis claims that is different to a “target”. You’d have thought she might have mentioned that to the Home Affairs select committee last week…

Rudd Farce: I Didn’t See It

Amber Rudd is not resigning tonight. Home Office statement:

“I will be making a statement in the House of Commons on Monday in response to legitimate questions that have arisen on targets and illegal migration.

I wasn’t aware of specific removal targets. I accept I should have been and I’m sorry that I wasn’t.

I didn’t see the leaked document, although it was copied to my office as many documents are.

As Home Secretary I will work to ensure that our immigration policy is fair and humane.”

May’s human shield remains in place, but what a farce…

Did Rudd Lie to Home Affairs Select Committee?

Amber Rudd told the Home Affairs select committee on Wednesday: “We don’t have targets for removals… if you’re asking me are there numbers of people we expect to be removed, that’s not how we operate.”

Today the Guardian reveals a memo sent to Rudd last year referred to the Home Office’s “target of achieving 12,800 enforced returns in 2017-18″ and that they were on a “path towards the 10% increased performance on enforced returns, which we promised the home secretary earlier this year”.

Either she didn’t read the memo and doesn’t have a grip on her department, or she deliberately misled the committee…

Vaizey Brillo’d After Claiming Rudd Handling Windrush “Very Well”

Amber Rudd’s Remain ally Ed Vaizey last night somewhat stretched credibility by claiming the Home Secretary is handling the Windrush scandal “very well”. Andrew Neil challenged Vaizey five times to give an example of how Rudd was indeed managing the scandal “very well”. Alas he unsurprisingly couldn’t give one…

Rudd Drops Customs Union Bombshell

Amber Rudd has extraordinarily refused to say Britain will leave the customs union in what comes close to a breach of collective responsibility. Asked at today’s Press Gallery lunch if the UK would stay in the customs union, Rudd replied: “I won’t be drawn on that – we still have some cabinet discussions to have”. It seems pretty clear that Rudd is deliberately putting a bomb under the UK’s negotiating position in an attempt to distract from the Windrush scandal. Every crack in the UK line on the customs union encourages the EU to give us a bad deal. Rudd is putting her own career ahead of Britain’s negotiating position. Might work for a few hours, but she will still be lucky to survive the week…

Rudd admitted to the Lobby that she is fighting for her political career, conceding: “I’m just thinking about staying in the game.” She also ruled out a chicken run to another seat to improve her leadership chances ahead of the next election: “I will definitely fight the next general election in Hastings and Rye”. That’s surely a moot point, her leadership chances are close to zero at the moment…

UPDATE: Rudd clarifies:

Her tweet does not address whether she thinks we will be remaining in a customs union…

Diane Abbott on Rudd

Diane Abbott on Amber Rudd:

Who can have confidence in Amber Rudd to make far-reaching changes to the Home Office if she doesn’t seem able to get basic facts right?”

Rudd Saga Continues

Amber Rudd corrects herself at the Home Affairs committee:

“… the whole Windrush saga, er, the Windrush sadness…”

Rudd on Home Office

Amber Rudd:

“The Home Office is a great department of state.”

Gauke: Rudd Shouldn’t Resign

May and Rudd Trying to Be ‘More Brexit Than Brexit’ on Immigration

Two pieces today express the unhappiness of Brexiters with Theresa May’s version of Brexit. Boris tells the Telegraph leaving will be “pointless” if we cannot diverge from the EU and strike trade deals with other countries, and makes the case for a “liberal” immigration policy that allows us to take “software people from Hyderabad” and “Australian paramedics” as well as skilled migrants from the EU. Fraser Nelson blasts May for pursuing “the wrong Brexit” in the Spectator, warning:

“Many Remainers genuinely believed they were engaged in a battle of ‘open’ vs ‘closed’ — and that ‘closed’ won. So as democrats, they ought to obey what they believe to be the demand of Brexit voters: clamping down on migration, sounding more tough and less liberal. This is a tragic misreading not only of the referendum result, but of public opinion today. Seeking to control immigration is not the same thing as being anti-immigrant…

Limits should be placed on unskilled labour, as is common in most countries, but skilled workers should be welcomed with open arms. There should be no more treating Australians or Indians as second class immigrants, and no more violinists deported to Massachusetts because they don’t earn enough.”

This is essentially the problem with two Remainers, May and Rudd, being in charge of the post-Brexit approach to immigration. In an effort to win the support of Brexiters, May and Rudd have overcompensated and tried to be more Brexit than Brexit, playing up to their caricature of what they think Leave voters want. A Leave Prime Minister would not have used EU citizens as bargaining chips as May did for so long. A Leave Prime Minister would not continue to favour EU migrants over non-EU migrants post-Brexit, as Brexiters fear May and Rudd will do to get a better deal. Polling by Open Europe found 56% supported continuing immigration “as long as there are controls to make sure they will contribute to our society, economy and way of life”. It is about control and fairness, not the cold approach exemplified by the Windrush scandal…

Rudd Allies Claim Brexiters Stoking Windrush Scandal

A brave intervention from ‘Cabinet allies’ of Amber Rudd in The Times, who have gone full Skwawkbox and suggested the Home Office’s recent woes are a part of a campaign by Brexit-supporting MPs to undermine the Home Secretary. Almost impressively tone-deaf to brief the papers that the Windrush scandal, Caroline Nokes’ car crash media round, soaring violent crime and the ensuing cock-up of the violent crime strategy launch have all been exaggerated by Leavers to do in Rudd. The Windrush revelations have been led by that famous Leave-supporting newspaper The Guardian and half of these fiascos are Theresa May’s fault anyway. To be fair to Amber, the Times piece does say halfway down that she “is understood to reject such conspiracy theories”. That other ministers are indulging such theories goes some way to explaining the cross-government handling of the Windrush fiasco…

Rudd v Nokes on Windrush Deportations

Amber Rudd tells the Commons “I do not have any evidence” that any Windrush immigrants have been deported. She blames “some media companies” for the reports.

Yet Caroline Nokes told Channel 4 earlier: “Potentially they have been [deported] and I’m conscious that it’s very much in error and that’s an error I want to put right.”

Rudd is rather pathetically blaming the media for accurately reporting Nokes’ words, and simultaneously dumping on Nokes from the despatch box. Nokes looking in trouble…

Rudd Attacks Home Office

“The Home Office has become too concerned with policy and strategy and lost sight of the individual.” A dig at her predecessor. This is looking pretty disastrous for both the current and former Home Secs…

Rudd on the Home Office

Amber Rudd on the Home Office:

“The Home Office has become too concerned with policy and strategy and lost sight of the individual.”

8 Home Office Fiascos Under Rudd

The Windrush fiasco has obviously been handled disastrously by the Home Office – immigration minister Caroline Nokes’ tone-deaf and unapologetic statement made a bad situation worse and she has now given what looks like a disastrous interview to Cathy Newman admitting some have been “deported in error”.[…] Read the rest

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