It’s often their own words that gets them. Inevitably they catch up to politicians in an embarrassing display of ferocious backpedalling. Words like “we don’t have targets for removals” for example…
It was that statement that caught up with now former Home Secretary Amber Rudd this week. For a week she had been furiously denying the existence of any targets for the number of illegal migrants deported. The Windrush scandal was at its peak but it looked for a second as though this was one storm she may just weather. But then came the leaks. It culminated in the Guardian publishing a letter written by Rudd to the Prime Minister referencing the targets. Cue resignation.
It is unlikely that Rudd meant to intentionally mislead Parliament but the issue then becomes, how could she be so unaware of what was going on within thedepartment she was meant to be leading, much less what was being written in her own name. It very publically revealed a catastrophic failure on her part to stay on top of her brief which ultimately cost her her place in Cabinet.
Her resignation is sure to have important consequences both for Prime Minister Theresa May and for the wider Party. May faces the loss of another loyalist in her Cabinet and yet another Cabinet reshuffle. Rudd’s replacement Sajid Javid will be much more inclined to challenge May on policy and ever so slightly tips the Cabinet balance in favour of Brexit. Javid, in his third day on the job, pushed a vote in the Cabinet Brexit Sub-Committee 6-5 against the Prime Minister over the customs union. Rudd’s resignation leaves May facing thewolves in her Cabinet yet another powerful ally down.
For the Party, this is the fall of another moderate in the Conservative ranks as British politics becomes increasingly polarised. She joins Justine Greening and Damian Green, two other moderates that have recently fallen from Cabinet to land on the backbenches. Her loss will be sorely felt by progressives amongst the Conservatives who fear the rise of extremes within both parties.
As for Rudd, this won’t be the last we see of her. Moderate Remainers may be out of fashion but we’re sure she’ll be back in vogue soon.