Amber Rudd has had a torrid few weeks thanks to the Windrush scandal and her department’s failure to get a grip on the issue. Matters weren’t helped on Wednesday when Rudd told the Home Affairs select committee that her department doesn’t ‘have targets for removals’ of illegal immigrants – only to have to today admit that ‘the immigration arm of the Home Office has been using local targets for internal performance management’.
Now it looks as though Rudd has risked the wrath of both No 10 and the Brexiteers. Speaking at today’s Press Gallery Lunch, Rudd was asked whether the UK would stay in the customs union after all. Her reply:
‘I won’t be drawn on that – we still have some cabinet discussions to have.’
Given how deftly Rudd avoided and dodged other tricky questions from the lobby, it’s striking that she didn’t just re-iterate the Downing Street line that the UK will leave the customs union.
The Home Secretary has said nice issued a tweet to ‘clarify’ her comments -Rudd says the UK will leave the customs union after all. However her comments have already irked Brexiteer MPs with some taking to social media to voice their unhappiness at her answer. The blip is something Rudd really could have done without given her fragile standing right now. Asked today whether she harboured leadership ambitions, the Home Secretary responded that she was currently just trying to stay on the pitch. That seems rather apt – if also rather honest.