British interior minister faces calls to resign over 'Windrush' scandal

British interior minister faces calls to resign over 'Windrush' scandal

The Home Secretary has told MPs she was "not aware" of illegal immigrant removal targets, as she again faced calls to resign.

For almost two weeks, British ministers have been struggling to explain why some descendants of the so-called "Windrush generation", invited to Britain to plug labour shortfalls between 1948 and 1971, had been labelled as illegal immigrants.

A 2015 report that came to light yesterday showed the Home Office did set targets for voluntary departures of people who could not lawfully stay in the UK.

"I have never agreed that there should be specific removal targets", Rudd told parliament on Thursday.

"The immigration arm of the Home Office has been using local targets for internal performance management".

On April 26, Rudd was asked to be present in front of MPs in the UK House of Commons so she could answer an urgent question from Labour's shadow home secretary Diane Abbott.

On Wednesday Ms Rudd denied targets were used, when she faced MPs investigating the problems faced by the Windrush generation. In June 1950, the Labour prime minister Clement Attlee set up a secret cabinet committee to review potential means "to check the immigration ... of coloured people from the British colonial territories".

The Home Office said it has never been policy to take decisions arbitrarily to meet a target.

Asked whether she regarded herself as a future leadership contender, she said: "I'm pretty much focused on what I have got to do now".

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

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?"

"I have not approved or seen or cleared any targets for removals", she said.

Asked by Labour MP Rachel Maskell who was running the department if Ms Rudd did not know about the targets, the home secretary said: "I accept the criticism on the issue. that's why I'm in the house today setting out the changes I'm going to continue to develop the confidence of everybody involved".

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".

The Windrush row erupted after it emerged relatives of migrants from Commonwealth Caribbean countries who settled in the United Kingdom from the late 1940s to the 1970s had been declared illegal immigrants if they could not provide a range of documentation which proved they had lived in the United Kingdom continuously.

Moreton had told the committee: "There's increasing pressure across the civil service as a whole to demonstrate value for money... and as that requirement to reduce public sector spending has begun to bite we've seen more and more challenging targets starting with the announcement of the net migration target [to reduce total migration to less than 100,000 a year]".

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.

Conservative MP Nicholas Soames said Ms Rudd had "the total support of this side of the house in trying to resolve a very hard legacy issue" to cheers from other Tory MPs.

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