Emily Thornberry calls on Amber Rudd to quit over Windrush scandal

Posted On: 
22nd April 2018

Labour's Emily Thornberry has urged the Home Secretary to step down over the Windrush migration scandal.

Amber Rudd should quit as Home Secretary over her department's handling of the Windrush generation, Emily Thornberry has said
PA Images

Speaking on the Andrew Marr Show this morning, the Shadow Foreign Secretary called on Amber Rudd to quit over the Government's treatment of Windrush generation, who have been hit by an overhaul of migration rules during Theresa May's time at the Home Office.

Changes to the rules meant that some of those who came to Britain from the Caribbean in the 1950s and 60s to help with the post-war rebuilding effort have been threatened with deportation unless they can prove their immigration status.

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As part of the Home Office crackdown, people have lost out on jobs, benefits and access to vital healthcare - with some even being forced into homelessness.

Ms Thornberry said: “I think in many ways we are quite old fashioned. We think that if you are a politician in charge of a department, and a department does its job as badly as the Home Office has clearly been doing, then you should resign. That is the way it always used to be. And how much worse can it get?

"People have died, people have lost their jobs, people have lost their futures, and people working in the National Health service all their lives lose their jobs and they can’t go to the NHS anymore."

She added: “It could not be worse and yet the Home Secretary thinks: ‘I can apologise and it’ll be alright’, but it won’t be... I really think she should quit."

Ms Thornberry said that the creation of a “hostile environment” policy could have affected the way that Home Office officials approach their work. But she was forced to concede that the term had first been used by Labour Home Secretaty Alan Johnson in a 2010 speech.

“It is right that we should have rules, and they should be enforced, and they should be done fairly and done fast and it should be firm. I have no problem with that,” she said.

“But to lift that phrasing and embed it and strengthen it, and make it so much sharper and nastier, that was the difference.”

“The words were used [under Labour], but the culture was not.”


The SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford has also called on the Home Secretary to resign, saying that her position is “untenable”.

"The Windrush situation has been nothing short of a disgrace," he said. "That people who have lived here lawfully for up to 50 years were being told their presence in the UK was illegal says so much about the approach of this Tory government. It is now time for the Home Secretary who has presided over this appalling mess to consider her position."

But pressed on whether the Home Secretary should resign, Ms Rudd’s cabinet colleague David Gauke said the “implementation” of the policy was to blame rather than the policy itself.

“I think it is right that Home Secretary and PM have apologised for this,” the Justice Secretary told the same programme.