Windrush senior tories defend amber rudd in memo row uk news the guardian gas 66

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The six-page memo, revealed on Friday by the Guardian, says the department had set “a target of achieving 12,800 enforced returns in 2017-18”, boasts that “we have exceeded our target of assisted returns”, and adds that progress had been made on increasing enforced removals by 10%.

The issue has become particularly toxic because of coverage of the Windrush generation of migrants from the Caribbean. Many have been left destitute or homeless, and denied benefits and healthcare because of the Home Office’s “hostile environment” policies targeting migrants.

Backing Rudd’s own claims on Twitter that she had simply missed the document, Gove said: “What we are witnessing is an example of government not functioning as it should have done, and that’s something for which the home secretary has taken responsibility.

“There does seem to be a series of leaks, or sharing with the Guardian in particular, that is designed to serve a particular agenda … There’s a campaign against the government and against the home secretary. What’s not surprising is that this happens at the same time as the Labour party is mired in allegations of it’s failure to deal with antisemitism.”

“This is about politics,” Gove said. “And the focus on whether or not a particular document that was cc’d to a particular address was then put in a particular box at a particular time – and we know it wasn’t – is intended to distract from the difficulties that the Labour party faces with handling prejudice in its own ranks.”

But the shadow home secretary, Diane Abbott, said Rudd should have been prepared to accept responsibility for what had happened. “I am just surprised that she doesn’t seem to take the issue seriously enough to offer her resignation,” she told Today.

The decision to set a “broad numerical target” could have contributed to the Windrush fiasco, Abbott said. “It wasn’t saying, for instance, we have to have a target for deporting former criminals. The danger is that that very broad target put pressure on Home Office officials to bundle Jamaican grandmothers into detention centres.”

Rudd is to be recalled to give evidence to the Commons home affairs committee, after she responded to the leaked document in a series of tweets late on Friday night insisting she had not seen the leaked memo, “although it was copied to my office, as many documents are”.

The Labour chair of the home affairs committee, Yvette Cooper, told Today: “We have obviously been given inaccurate information to parliament twice now. This is a serious concern and I am calling Amber Rudd to come back and give further evidence to the committee.”

“There has been target figures put up in offices all over the country of what staff should achieve, and she’s telling us that there were no targets,” he told Sky News on Saturday. “This is more than odd. And so when she makes her statement on Monday I hope she’s going to say that because of all this she is going to offer her resignation.”

“That was ignored, and now the government is having to offer compensation to the Windrush generation. But they should think for a moment of the stress that often older people have gone through, who have worked their whole lives in this country, consider themselves to be full British citizens – which is exactly what they are – and they should be treated with the [same] dignity and respected as every other citizen should be treated.”