Steve Hilton Calls For Amber Rudd To Be Sacked Over Plan To List Foreign Workers

David Cameron's ex-strategy man joins line-up of critics.

11/10/2016 10:37 | Updated 12 October 2016
Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Steve Hilton, right, said the 'correct' way to tackle controversy over the plans was to sack Amber Rudd

David Cameron’s ex-director of strategy has called for Amber Rudd to be sacked over her plan to “name-and-shame” companies who hire foreign workers. 

Steve Hilton said the scheme’s announcement had had a “big impact on Britain’s reputation around the world” and would be a “mistake” if implemented.

“Theresa May needs to send a really clear signal to the world that this idea, that has been noticed around the world of forcing companies to name and shame foreign workers, was a mistake,” he said on ITV’s The Agenda.

“A powerful way to do that would be to move the minister who made the announcement... I think it’s important to correct this mistake because it has had a big impact on Britain’s reputation around the world.”

BEN STANSALL via Getty Images
Rudd came under heavy fire for her plan to force companies to reveal how many foreign workers they employed

Hilton later clarified his comments, saying he believed the policy was Downing Street’s, not Rudd’s, but that she needed to be replaced as home secretary to show the government had understood it made a “mistake”.

Hilton inflamed the row that has been brewing in Westminster, after several minister appeared to water down how tough the policy would be on business.

It was originally touted as a way to identify and improve skills shortages in parts of the country where Britons made up less of the workforce.

But both Justine Greening and Michael Fallon came out a week after Rudd’s Conservative conference address to suggest her plan would change.

The education secretary said the scheme would run on a voluntary basis, while the defence secretary said any attempt to force firms to list or name their foreign workers was “not going to happen”.

PA/PA Wire
Fallon, left, and Greening, centre, appeared to row back on the original plans

A Home Office spokesman previously said: “This is not about listing foreign workers or so-called naming and shaming of companies.

“The proportion of international workers in a company is one of the pieces of information that companies may be asked to provide to the Government.

“This information will not be published. This already happens in the US and is one of several proposals we will be consulting on as part of our work to ensure that companies take reasonable steps to recruit at home before looking to bring in workers from abroad.”

Hilton, who campaigned to leave the EU, also warned last night that Theresa May was heading for a “closed Brexit”.

He described her actions in the run up to triggering Article 50 early next year as “dangerous” and “pessimistic, negative and dark”.

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