Amber Rudd 'let down by officials' over Windrush claim that cost her her job - report

Posted On: 
2nd November 2018

Former Home Secretary Amber Rudd was let down by her aides before her resignation over the Windrush scandal, an official report has concluded.

The report blamed 'crossed wires' for a failure to brief the-then home secretary properly.
Credit: 
PA

The Hastings and Rye MP quit the Home Office in April after "inadvertently" telling MPs that the department did not use targets for deporting illegal immigrants.

But an internal report launched after her resignation concludes that Ms Rudd was badly briefed by civil servants, who gave her the wrong information before, during and after the crucial committee hearing that cost her her job.

Ex-Home Secretary Amber Rudd backs treason laws update to prosecute terrorists

Civil servant blamed for Amber Rudd’s resignation is demoted

Senior civil servant accused of ‘costing Amber Rudd her job’

According to The Times, the report by Sir Alex Allen, Theresa May's independent adviser on ministerial standards, finds that Ms Rudd "was not supported as she should have been" by her Home Office team and outlines a catalogue of failings in briefings to the then-cabinet minister.

Sir Alex writes: "In preparations immediately before the hearing, the home secretary asked ‘Are there removals targets?’ and was told ‘no’. This led to her denial in the hearing.”

He adds: "I cannot establish how she was given this reply: the most likely explanation is crossed wires between her special adviser and her private office."

The inquiry also highlights "confused email exchanges" among Home Office staff after Ms Rudd told MPs that the department did not use removal targets - a line that Sir Alex says "was undermined when it emerged there had been a target until a few weeks earlier".

Ms Rudd was, the report adds, "never" given a briefing that would have allowed her to "put the correct position on the record".

Despite the scathing findings - which were shared with the Home Office's Permanent Secretary Philip Rutnam in May and are set to be published today - the PM's ethics adviser stops short of recommending that any official faces a misconduct investigation.

However, he says the then-director general for immigration enforcement Hugh Ind offered a "less than satisfactory performance".

Sir Alex also singles out the Home Office's then-second permanent secretary Patsy Wilkinson, who he says should have played a "more proactive role".

Both civil servants were was moved to new roles outside the department in May after the report was handed to ministers.

'WAKE-UP CALL'

Ms Rudd said she hoped the report would act as "an incentive and a wake-up call" for sweeping changes at the Home Office, which she said were needed to avoid a repeat of the "appalling" treatment of some members of the Windrush generation.

Asked if the report could pave the way for her return to frontline politics, Ms Rudd told the Today programme: "That's going to be up to the Prime Minister. It's important to me that people know, if anybody's interested, that there are changes that needed to take place at the Home Office.

"And I think that this report will go a long way to making sure that that takes place."