Image via Chris McAndrew / Wikimedia Commons
Amber Rudd has admitted on BBC 5 Live that she wouldn’t be averse to the idea of running for PM…however timidly.
“I don’t have a plan for that,” the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions told Emma Barnett this morning, saying she has “kept the door slightly ajar”. “I am choosing my words carefully…I’m not particularly working on it.”
Kind of relatable, Amber.
But it’s also concerning – today we find ourselves a year on from her apology for the role she played in the Windrush scandal – with many victims still saying not much has changed. With Theresa May announcing her upcoming resignation, what would Britain look like with Amber as PM? We looked into the former Home Secretary’s history to assess just how clean her record is. Here’s everything you need to know:
The Windrush Scandal
- In Amber’s time as Home Secretary she oversaw the Windrush scandal, which led to former commonwealth citizens being denied legal rights, detained and deported from the UK.
- During the scandal, it was revealed that the Home Office had set removal targets – despite Amber previously claiming there had been no targets.
- When the targets were revealed, Amber denied prior knowledge of their existence.
- This was later revealed by the Guardian to be untrue, when the paper published memos that demonstrated Amber had knowledge of a target figure of 12,800 enforced returns in 2017–18.
- Amber admitted in the wake of the scandal that she had “lost sight of the individual”.
- When she apologised, she said that cases would be resolved within two weeks.
- Amber resigned as a result of the scandal.
- On Monday, the Guardian reported that many Windrush migrants’ cases are not entirely resolved. It’s said that some of those affected are still in serious debt, struggling to open bank accounts and continue with their daily lives.
- In terms of Amber’s voting record, she has consistently voted for cuts to benefits, including:
- A vote in favour of introducing the bedroom tax, which was reported to particularly affect disabled people
- Consistently voting against raising welfare benefits, and voting for a reduction in spending on benefits
- Amber voted to increase university tuition fees to £9,000 a year, for stronger enforcement of immigration rules, and generally against measures to prevent climate change.
- At the 2016 Tory party conference, Amber announced proposals that companies should be forced to disclose how many foreign workers they employ – as part of the government’s plan to reduce net migration.
- In response to criticism of the proposals to force companies to disclose, she said “don’t call me a racist.” David Mitchell pointed out, if anything, this probably further cemented the idea in people’s minds.
- The same month that the Windrush scandal broke, Amber Rudd described the new residency application process for EU nationals as “as easy as setting up an online account at LK Bennett”. To contextualise, here’s an LK Bennett jumpsuit that costs £450.
- As Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, in January Amber oversaw a stealth change to benefits changes that could cost pensioners thousands per year.
- Also in January, Amber suggested that widespread reports of the negative effects of universal credit affect “one or two people”.
- Last month in a live interview on the Jeremy Vine Show, Amber came under widespread criticism for referring to Diane Abbott, MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, as “coloured”.
Amber has been described as a rarer breed of “liberal Conservative”. But in light of both Windrush, and her record more broadly, we fear the government would be largely rudderless with Amber at the helm.