Sajid Javid has been appointed Home Secretary following Amber Rudd’s resignation.
Rudd dramatically quit the government on Sunday evening after admitting she “inadvertently misled” MPs over targets for deporting illegal immigrants.
Javid’s promotion from communities secretary means the UK has its first BAME home secretary.
Speaking in the Home Office on Monday morning, he said his “most urgent” task was to make sure people caught up in the Windrush fiasco are treated with the “decency and fairness” they deserve.
James Brokenshire, the former Northern Ireland secretary and a close ally of Theresa May, has replaced Javid at the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government.
Penny Mordaunt, the development secretary, will take on Rudd’s other old job of equalities minister.
Javid, 48, takes over the job as the government struggles to get a grip on the Windrush scandal which brought down Rudd.
His parents arrived in the UK from Pakistan in the 1960s and were part of the generation of immigrants threatened with wrongful deportation.
In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph just yesterday he said he took the crisis personally.
“I thought that could be my mum ... my dad ... my uncle ... it could be me,” he said.
As she fought to cling onto her job as home secretary, Rudd announced that Home Office targets to remove illegal immigrants would be scrapped.
However speaking this morning May appeared to raise the prospect they would remain in place.
“When I was home secretary, yes, there were targets in terms of removing people from the country who are here illegally. This is important,” she told Sky News.
Diane Abbott MP, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, said Javid must not be another “human shield” for May over Windrush and the government’s immigration policies.
“The change in home secretary will mean nothing unless Theresa May’s ‘hostile environment’ policy is finally brought to an end,” she said.
“As the Windrush scandal has proven, and as some of us warned the Government four years ago, this policy has ripped lives apart, including the lives of British nationals and others who have the right to be here.
“The prime minister still has serious questions to answer about how this scandal was allowed to happen, and whether she knew Amber Rudd was misleading Parliament and the public last week. It’s time Theresa May finally takes responsibility for the crisis she created.”
Javid sided with Remain at the referendum just as Rudd did, although he is not seen as ardently pro-EU as his predecessor.
Baroness Warsi, the former chair of the Conservative Party and the first Muslim woman to serve in the cabinet, congratulated Javid.
Sadiq Khan also said Javid had to end the Home Office policy of a “hostile environment for migrants”. The Labour mayor of London had yesterday called for Rudd to resign.
Yvette Cooper, the Labour MP and chair of the Commons Home Affairs Committee, said Javid had an “urgent” task to handle the Windrush crisis.
It was Cooper’s questioning at the committee last week that led Rudd to mislead MPs over whether the government had deportation targets that led to her resignation.
Brokenshire said he was “honoured” to be back in the cabinet as communities secretary. “Looking forward to taking the Government’s agenda forward especially on building the homes our country needs,” he tweeted.
Mordaunt said she was “delighted to have this additional brief” of equalities added to her existing cabinet role.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling dismissed suggestions there was chaos at the heart of government given May has lost four cabinet ministers in six months. He told the BBC the churn was just “unwanted noise”.