Home Office had migrant removal targets, report shows

27 April, 2018, 00:35 | Author: Lora Ball
  • James O'Brien in the LBC studio

Amber Rudd has also apologised for the Windrush scandal and blamed Home Office officials for not treating people with sufficient respect, saying they needed to "show a human face" and "exercise greater judgement where it is justified".

"These were not published targets against which performance was assessed".

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott called on Rudd to resign: "When Lord Carrington resigned over the Falklands, he said it was a matter of honour".

She admitted that she "had not been aware of the targets" and added that she had now asked for more information from officials to ensure targets were not being "used inappropriately".

The once hotly-tipped candidate to become the next Tory leader now seems to be running around like a chaotic hotel manager not dissimilar to Basil Fawlty, trying to plug holes, self-inflicted from the incompetent running of her Home Office department.

"I do take seriously my responsibility but I do think I am the person who can put it right", Ms Rudd said.

Rudd told a committee of MPs on Wednesday she was "not aware" of illegal immigrant removal targets.

Ms Rudd, however, did not bow to their demands.

Quoting Theresa May, when in opposition had said she was "sick and exhausted of ministers not taking responsibility", Lammy's colleague Paula Sherriff asked if Rudd would "do the decent thing and resign?" This morning the Home Secretary was summoned to the Commons for her fourth interrogation in two weeks on the Windrush scandal.

Lucy Moreton, general secretary of the Immigration Service Union, had told the MPs a national target, broken down regionally, had been set to remove people in the United Kingdom illegally, and staff were under "increasing pressure" to meet it.

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Baxter said she is now backing calls for the re-introduction of legal aid, which was cut for immigration cases in 2013, in order to help Windrush claimants to get the help they need to resolve their immigration status.

Labour's Yvette Cooper, chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said it was "deeply disappointing" Ms Rudd "did not know the facts" when she gave evidence.

Anyone who has dealt with the Home Office on immigration issues knows what a slow, bureaucratic, hostile culture exists within the department.

The immigration targets in question refer to the voluntary departure of people who can not not legally be in the UK. Those leaving in this way are able to approach the Home Office for financial assistance with their travel arrangements.

"The problem here is that people were not properly documented", she said. There are impact statements from MPs, there are letters from MPs, and she said she wasn't aware of a pattern.

Media captionWho are the Windrush generation?

On Thursday afternoon the Home Office scrapped those: "I would never support a policy that puts targets ahead of people", said Ms Rudd.

So far 3,800 calls have been made to the helpline, of which 1,364 were potentially Windrush cases, MPs were told on Wednesday.

Pressed on the point, she added: "I didn't hear the testimony, I'm not sure what shape that might be in, but if you ask me 'are there numbers of people we expect to be removed?', that's not how we operate".

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