Amber Rudd should quit as Home Secretary over the Windrush scandal, leading Labour figures demanded today.
Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell called for Rudd to resign after Commonwealth migrants who had lived and worked in the UK for many years found themselves facing deportation.
Former Tory immigration minister James Brokenshire said he was “horrified” by the scandal, and Justice Secretary David Gauke said he was ashamed – but both supported Rudd’s position.
Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday morning, Thornberry said: “We think if you’re a politician in charge of a department and a department does its job as badly as the Home Office has clearly been doing then you should resign, that’s the way it always used to be.
“And how much worse can it get? People have died, people have lost their jobs, they have lost their futures.
“People who have been working in the National Health Service all their lives, suddenly they lose their jobs and then they’re not even entitled to go to the National Health Service.
“It could not be worse and yet the Home Secretary thinks ‘I can apologise and it will be alright’, but it won’t be.
She added: “I really think she should quit.”
Appearing on ITV’s Peston on Sunday, McDonnell said Rudd’s resignation was needed to restore integrity to politics, and also said Prime Minister Theresa May should consider her position.
He said: “For my view, I’d like them both to go but the Home Secretary who is the Home Secretary now should accept her responsibilities and just as Theresa May way back when we were in power and Labour was in government was calling on ministers to take their responsibilities and resign, I believe Amber Rudd should go.”
McDonnell was referring to an appearance by May on Question Time in 2004, where she called on Labour’s Immigration Minister Beverley Hughes to resign over a visa scandal.
May said: “I’m actually sick and tired of Government Ministers in this Labour government who simply blame other people when something goes wrong and are not willing to take responsibility for what is happening under this government and their decisions.”
That clip was played to Justice Secretary David Gauke on the Andrew Marr Show, who was then asked if Rudd should not heed the words of the now-Prime Minister from 14 years ago.
“I think it is right that both the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister have apologised for this,” he said, later adding: “The central policy is right but clearly there have been very significant failures in terms of how this is being implemented and it’s right to address that.”