First the good news. Amber Rudd has resigned, principally over her mishandling of the Windrush affair, and evasion concerning the existence or otherwise of targets for expulsions of illegal immigrants. It need hardly be said that a man in the same would have resigned earlier. We’ll be seeing less of the woman whose every appearance on TV had me thinking, “Should’ve gone to Specsavers”.
Last week she was quizzed by Labour MP Yvette Balls (nee Cooper), chair of the Home Affairs Committee. Had the Home Secretary been a man, Balls would have torn into her like a rottweiler. But because Rudd is of the female persuasion – and Minister for Wimmin & Equalities, to boot – Balls treated her with kid gloves.
Now the bad news. One feminist has been replaced by another – Sajid Javid MP. In 2015, as Business Secretary, he failed to respond to the public challenge by Campaign for Merit in Business to halt the government’s threats on major businesses to increase female representation on their boards, despite knowing it would lead to financial performance decline. He duly won our Toady award, the award certificate is here. I urge you to download it, if only to enjoy the image.
A piece by Sam Coates, Deputy Political Editor, about Rudd’s resignation, in today’s Times:
Amber Rudd resignation: Alarm bells were ringing before Windrush
In the end it looks like Amber Rudd’s failure to get a grip on the Windrush scandal, and to show her mettle as a true reformer in the mould of her Labour predecessor John Reid, cost her the government’s most-challenging job.
While Tory MPs were ready to fight her corner, a string of fatal leaks came from inside the Home Office, from the same officials whom Ms Rudd had sought to blame when first getting into difficulties two weeks ago.
Alarm bells about Ms Rudd were already ringing after the Home Office’s serious crime strategy, released about a week before the Windrush scandal exploded into the news, highlighted faultlines.
This strategy, nearly a year in the making, contained little substance, was poorly presented in the media and was overshadowed by silly rows about budgets and police funding. Some guessed then that all was not well, and began to wonder whether Ms Rudd was right for the job.
Ms Rudd, one the 2010 generation of Tory MPs, enjoyed an ascent more rapid than most. Her pugnacious, assured performance during the 2016 EU referendum campaign on behalf of Remain put her in contention for one of the top jobs when Mrs May came in. It also created political enemies among Brexiteers. Given the need of the incoming prime minister to balance her cabinet between Brexiteers and Remain supporters, few stopped to evaluate her record — jumping to a great office of state after a year at the department for energy and climate change.
Behind the scenes friends revealed that she was shocked to get the home secretary role in July 2016. Knowing of its toxic reputation, she decided her best course of action was to keep her head down, and continue the path of her predecessor rather than risk a confrontation with the prime minister.
Cabinet ministers described how Ms Rudd would never challenge Mrs May in cabinet, despite her fundamental disagreement on key elements of her brief. Ms Rudd may have been more liberal than her predecessor on immigration and uncomfortable with the “hostile environment” rhetoric she inherited but she did not want an overt clash even in the inner sanctum of government.
Another Tory minister was more blunt: “She’s a great communicator but not a great doer. The Windrush affair would not have happened under Theresa.”
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