Rudd Case Shows Sedwill Wrong to Put Civil Servants Above Criticism

Amber Rudd levelled some remarkable accusations at her former civil servants in the Home Office this morning following the publication of a report into the events surrounding her resignation over the Windrush Scandal. Sir Alex Allan’s report, which was completed on May 23rd but not published until today after being leaked to The Times, pointed the finger of blame at civil servants for not providing Rudd with correct briefings which led her to misleading MPs about the existence of removals targets.

Rudd herself went further on Today, effectively accusing senior civil servants of politically-motivated leaks against her:

JW: You were leaked about at the time as well – do you have a sense that this was just incompetence or was there something political as well – was there an attempt to embarrass you?

AR: It certainly felt like the latter as well… yes, there were a series of leaks during the past year at quite a high level that were definitely intended to embarrass me.

The two civil servants singled out for criticism in Allan’s report, Director General for Immigration Hugh Ind and Permanent Secretary Patsy Wilkinson, have simply been moved to other high level jobs within the civil service. Ind is now Director General at the Cabinet Office while Wilkinson has moved into a national security role. Classic civil service promotion for failure.

The whole affair makes a mockery of Mark Sedwill’s protestations only two weeks ago that civil servants should not be subject to scrutiny from the press. It is a basic fact of politics that individual civil servants have agendas and leak to the press for political reasons. It is a basic fact of life that civil servants are not infallible and sometimes make mistakes when carrying out their jobs.

Yet the notion still persists in some quarters that civil servants should be immune to political criticism despite carrying out political attacks of their own, while politicians take the flak for officials’ mistakes even as the Whitehall gravy train ensures that the officials responsible still have a cushy job at the end of it all. Funny how many of those rushing to defend Robbins now want officials’ heads to roll over Rudd…

May Won’t Apologise for Windrush Policy

Theresa May repeatedly refuses to apologise for her “hostile environment” policy which led to the Windrush Scandal. Her only apology is for “the fact that some people who should not have been caught up in that were caught in that”…

Sajid Apologises Again to Windrush Victims

The Home Secretary apologises to “everyone that was affected” by the Windrush Scandal, saying “it was wrong in every way and I will do everything I can to put it right”. He tells Marr that people affected will be “properly” compensated “in the coming weeks”.

Tories on Three Line Whip to Vote Against Windrush Transparency

Labour has used its opposition day debate to put the government’s back against the wall over Windrush, tabling this motion which attempts to force the effective publication of all internal discussions about the Windrush cohort over the past eight years. That would mean we could find out what happened inside the Home Office when May was in charge…

Tory MPs were put on a three-line whip this morning to vote against the motion, which looks like a vote against transparency, all the more awkward the day before the local elections. Labour are already gearing up to call “cover up”:

What could they possibly have to hide…

UPDATE: A Labour Party source said:

“If the architect of this cruel farce, the Prime Minister, is ordering her MPs to vote to keep her role in this mess hidden from the public, it exposes the Tories’ crocodile tears on the Windrush scandal as a sham.  We need answers, not further cover ups to save Theresa May from facing up to her involvement in the removal of rights, detentions and possible deportations of British citizens.  After letting Rudd take the fall for her decisions, how can the public have any trust in the Prime Minister?”

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…

Gauke: Rudd Shouldn’t Resign

May: Minister Responsible For Immigration Fiasco Should Resign

An old clip has surfaced of Theresa May calling for Labour immigration minister Beverley Hughes to resign: she quit Tony Blair’s government in 2004 after a visa scam scandal. May says:

“We’ve made it absolutely clear and I agree, I do think that Beverely should resign as minister on this particular issue… she blamed officials in her department for this decision being taken, I find it extraordinary that a minister isn’t willing just to step up to the plate and take the responsibility.”

After a dire month for Labour on anti-semitism, Russia and Syria, the Tories somehow manage to shoot themselves in the foot with Windrush…

May: Labour Took Decision to Destroy Windrush Landing Cards in 2009

Corbyn unable to think on his feet as May delivers this blow. Bercow comes to his help. Jezza somehow manages to miss this own goal in one of the government’s worst weeks…

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