Amber Rudd in dramatic Cabinet comeback as Theresa May shuffles pack after Brexit exodus
Amber Rudd has made a dramatic comeback to Government just months after resigning over the Windrush scandal as Theresa May sought to reassert her authority following a string of resignations over Brexit.
Ms Rudd - who stepped down at the end of April after accepting she had "inadvertedly" misled a parliamentary committee over deportation targets at the Home Office - will take on the job of Work and Pensions Secretary which was vacated by Esther McVey.
A Home Office report published last month concluded that Ms Rudd had been let down by her officials who gave her the wrong information before a crucial committee hearing that cost her her job.
But the appointment of a prominent Remain supporter to the key government post vacated by an arch-Brexiteer risks a fresh backlash from Tory eurosceptics, while Labour has already accused the Prime Minister of making "a desperate choice".
Confirming the appointment, Mrs May's spokesperson said: "She is a very experienced Secretary of State who has worked across a number of departments."
They added: "There is really important work to do at the DWP implementing the Universal Credit programme. The Prime Minister is confident she will do an excellent job."
Sajid Javid - who succeeded Ms Rudd at the Home Office - said he was "thrilled" at the appointment, while Conservative chairman Brandon Lewis said it was "brilliant" to see her return.
Ms McVey quit the DWP yesterday, tearing into Theresa May's Brexit deal and saying she had to be "true to the public".
She joined Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, two junior ministers and a string of ministerial aides in quitting over the EU agreement, which they say will leave the UK too closely bound to Brussels.
Ms Rudd - who has a slim parliamentary majority of just 346 in her Hastings and Rye constituency - will now take on one of the toughest jobs in Cabinet, responsible for overseeing the controversial Universal Credit welfare overhaul.
The new Work and Pensions Secretary, who voted to stay in the EU in 2016, has already publicly backed Mrs May's Brexit deal as the Prime Minister battles to regain the iniative amid expectations she could face a vote of no confidence in days.
The Hastings and Rye MP told BBC Radio 5 Live ahead of her appointment: “Unless there’s something I’m really upset about, I’m likely to back it."
Speaking on Wednesday she said: "I think it’s the right combination, it’s a compromise, everybody knew it was going to be a compromise and those who are throwing mud at it from either side are looking for something perfect and perfect was never going to be on offer."
But Labour tore into the Prime Minister's pick for the Work and Pensions Secretary job, blasting her handling of the Windrush scandal which saw longstanding British citizens who came to the UK from the Commonwealth decades ago swept up in an immigration crackdown.
Shadow Cabinet Office minister Jon Trickett said: "After enforcing Theresa May’s hostile environment in the Home Office, Amber Rudd will now be in charge of the DWP’s hostile environment for disabled people and the poorest in society.
"With Universal Credit in absolute shambles, appointing a disgraced former minister who was only recently forced to resign for her role in another scandal is a desperate choice by a weak Prime Minister.”
An official report in Ms Rudd's resignation concluded that the then-Home Secretary was "not supported as she should have been" by her aides around the time of a committee hearing in which she wrongly claimed the department did not work to targets for the number of people who should be deported from the country.
The top minister was, the report by Theresa May's adviser on ministerial standards said, "never" given a briefing that would have allowed her to "put the correct position on the record".