Theresa May didn't know about deportation targets which brought down Amber Rudd, suggests Chris Grayling

'All roads lead back to Theresa May and her tenure as home secretary', Labour claims - as focus switches to the prime minister

Theresa May didn't know about deportation targets which brought down Amber Rudd, suggests Chris Grayling

Theresa May did not know about the deportation targets for illegal immigrants which brought down Amber Rudd, a Cabinet colleague has suggested.

Chris Grayling sought to deflect Labour demands for the prime minister to set out her knowledge of the controversy – and whether she knew the departing home secretary had misled parliament.

The transport secretary said Ms May would not – as Labour wants – take Ms Rudd’s place in the Commons later today to answer questions in her place.

And, asked if she had known that Ms Rudd’s denials about targets were “not true”, he replied: “The current prime minister has not been home secretary for an extensive period.

“She will not know exactly what is happening in the home office today.”

Diane Abbott is leading calls for the prime minister to face MPs today, saying: “All roads lead back to Theresa May and her tenure as home secretary.”

Ms Rudd quit late on Sunday, after realising her defence that she had not known about the targets would not withstand a fresh barrage of criticism in the Commons.

An audit of documents is believed to have thrown up several memos to her discussing targets for 2018-19 – including one she wrote to Ms May, setting out her intention to increase deportations by 10 per cent.

The revelation has sharpened the focus on the role of the prime minister, the architect of the “hostile environment” policy that ended up persecuting the Windrush generation.

Crucially, it is believed that any members of the Windrush generation detained for deportation – or prevented from returning to the UK – would have counted towards the now-revealed forced removal target.

Ms Abbott told the BBC: “We all need to turn our attention to Theresa May because it was in her tenure as home secretary that many of the worst aspects of the so-called hostile climate were pushed through.”

Specifically, the prime minister should answer questions in the Commons about her knowledge of migrant removal targets, the shadow home secretary said.

“We want to talk to her about the aspects of the so-called hostile environment which she was responsible for and led to the Windrush fiasco,” she added.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Grayling dismissed calls for an inquiry into the Windrush scandal, arguing it was wrong to “delay or distract” from government efforts to help them.

And he rejected an appearance by Ms May today, saying: “She is going to be back in the House of Commons on Wednesday. The opposition will have an opportunity to question her then.”

Asked if home office officials had been “carrying out wishes” in targeting the Windrush generation for removal, Mr Grayling insisted it was “the system” which had failed.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in