Amber Rudd says she will end deportation targets amid calls to resign


The Home Office is now set to scrap performance targets for removals, the BBC's Laura Kuenssberg has reported this afternoon.

She said she never agreed to use removal targets for migrants, adding that the regional targets used by the Home Office "were not published targets against which performance was assessed".

"I don't know what you are talking about".

Upon questioning, Ms Rudd replied: "We don't have targets for removals. I'll be approaching having removals in terms of illegal immigration put in place but I wont be doing it with individual targets, for the regions or wherever".

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

"The Home Secretary is working hard to address the concerns that have been raised in relation to Windrush to ensure they are addressed and put right", the spokesman said.

She added: "If it's true that posters were displayed to remind staff of these targets, how is it possible that the home secretary and the director general of borders, immigration, and citizenship were not fully aware of this?"

The issue of removals targets was raised as part of the Home Affairs Committee's inquiry into the Windrush children, who came to the United Kingdom legally in the 1950s and 60s but have since been threatened with deportation or denied access to public services because of uncertainty about their immigration status. Cabinet ministers Michael Gove and Sajid Javid sat beside her on the front bench for her statement.

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Her Labour frontbench colleague, Dawn Butler, said Theresa May was "presiding over a government that has policies that are institutionally racist". I say with all conscience: "is she really the right person to lead this office of state?"

Asked if the Prime Minister retained full confidence in Amber Rudd, despite the ongoing controversies over Windrush and immigration removal targets, the spokesman said: "Yes".

In her evidence to the committee, Ms Rudd rejected suggestions that the Conservatives' goal of reducing net migration below 100,000 had contributed to the Windrush problem.

An inspection of removals by the borders and immigration watchdog said targets were set in 2014/15 and for 2015/16, which were then split between 19 Immigration Compliance and Enforcement (ICE) teams across the UK.

Following her evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee, a 2015 report came to light showing the Home Office set targets for voluntary departures of people who could not lawfully stay in the UK. It is not clear whether the target is still in force.

Yvette Cooper, the Labour chair of the Commons home affairs committee, said it was "deeply disappointing that the home secretary did not know the facts" when she spoke to the committee on Wednesday.

Yet even one of Prime Minister Theresa May's most loyal lieutenants has been left clinging to office by the outrage surrounding the U.K.'s treatment of Caribbean migrants, who arrived after World War II to take up jobs during a labor shortage. The Home Office subsequently issued an apology to the Windrush generation and said they are highly-valued members of society.