Amber Rudd Announces Resignation from Commons

Amber Rudd, the former Conservative Party Home Secretary, has confirmed that she will not be standing at the 2019 General Election. Rudd, who was Work and Pensions Secretary under Theresa May and Boris Johnson, quit the party in September 2019 in protest about the new Prime Minister’s Brexit policy.

Dominic Raab Says he Would Shut Parliament if it Opposed Brexit

Dominic Raab

Dominic Raab, one of the candidates for the Conservative leadership, has said that he would shut down Parliament if it opposed his Brexit plans. The move was fiercely criticised by John Bercow, the current Speaker of the House of Commons, and Betty Boothroyd, the former Speaker of the House of Commons, as well as other senior Conservatives.

John Bercow, the current Speaker, rejected any move to prevent the House of Commons from stating its will on any Brexit deal saying:

“Parliament will not be evacuated from the centre stage of the decision-making process.”

Boothroyd said:

“I have a message for this ambitious young man: you don’t treat our Parliament, our democracy or our people that way. If you even try to impose your No Deal Brexit on us by cancelling Parliamentary proceedings, you won’t survive as Prime Minister for five minutes, you will be booted out of office and you are not worthy of your seat in Parliament which should be reserved for those who deserve the title of democrats.”

Other candidates criticised Raab’s plan, with Matt Hancock saying that it would “undermine parliamentary democracy and risk a general election” and Rory Stewart posted on Twitter:

“We live in a parliamentary democracy. You can try to lock the gates of parliament. But to do so for this purpose would be unlawful. This plan is unlawful, undemocratic, and unachievable. And the idea itself is profoundly offensive to our liberty constitution and traditions.”

Raab’s threat was also criticised by Amber Rudd, the Work and Pensions Secretary, who said that “I think it’s outrageous to consider proroguing Parliament. We are not Stuart kings.”

Mel Stride, the Leader of the House of Commons, also rejected Raab’s suggestion, saying that “I do think Her Majesty should be kept out of the politics of our Parliament.”

Amber Rudd Makes Changes to Universal Credit

Amber Rudd, the Work and Pensions Secretary, has indicated that she intends to make some changes to the controversial universal credit programme. She confirmed that a pilot to support 10,000 people on ‘ legacy benefits’ will go ahead, and she added that the two-children limit on universal credit will not be back-dated to before April 2017.

Amber Rudd also made a speech about the future of universal credit, although there was some controversy amongst MP that Parliament wasn’t informed first of the changes which were proposed.

In a statement Rudd said:

“There is wide support for the principles we advocate – helping people into work, making work pay, and providing support in times of need. I want Universal Credit to gain further support as we roll it out in practice. This means delivering it in a way that meets the needs of claimants, who come from every conceivable background and who have incredible potential to achieve their ambitions”.

Margaret Greenwood, the Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, said in a statement:

“It’s a disgrace that four single mothers have had to take the Government to court because of the impact that Universal Credit has had on their lives. The rigid assessment system cannot cope with something as basic as incomes that fluctuate from month to month. The High Court’s ruling confirms once again that Universal Credit is failing people on low pay and pushing many into hardship simply because of when their payday falls. The Tories must stop the roll out of Universal Credit to ensure no more people are plunged into poverty and deprivation”.

Amber Rudd Resigns as Home Secretary

Amber Rudd has today resigned her role as Home Secretary following the Government’s treatment of what has become known as the Windrush generation. Theresa May, the Prime Minister, is expected to complete the reshuffle later today.

Rudd wrote to the Prime Minister:

“Dear Prime Minister,

It is with great regret that I am resigning as home secretary. I feel it is necessary to do so because I inadvertently misled the Home Affairs Select Committee over targets for removal of illegal immigrants during their questions on Windrush.

Since appearing before the select committee, I have reviewed the advice I was given on this issue and become aware of information provided to my office which makes mention of targets. I should have been aware of this, and I take full responsibility for the fact that I was not.

The Windrush scandal has rightly shone a light on an important issue for our country. As so often, the instincts of the British people are right. They want people who have a right to live here to be treated fairly and humanely, which has sometimes not been the case. But they also want the government to remove those who don’t have the right to be here. I had hoped in coming months to devise a policy that would allow the government to meet both these vital objectives – including bringing forward urgent legislation to ensure the rights of the Windrush generation are protected. The task force is working well, the residence cards are being issued well within the two weeks promised, and the design of the compensation scheme is making good progress.

The Home Office is one of the great offices of state and its job is to keep people safe. It comes with the responsibility to fight terrorism, support and challenge the police and protect people against the abuse, as well as manage migration.

It has been a great privilege to serve as your home secretary. I have seen first-hand the second to none commitment and bravery of our police, fire and intelligence services, they truly are the best in the world and we should rightly be extremely proud of them.

I have been particularly pleased that we were able to set up the first Global Internet Forum for Counter Terrorism which has led the way with encouraging social media sites to go further and faster in taking down radicalising and terrorist material, which plays such a dangerous part in increasing extremism.

Setting out new laws to tackle the scourge of knife crime and acid attacks and helping to steer our young people away from a life of crime and violence by providing them with credible alternatives have been particularly important to me.

Opportunities to work on issues that safeguard the vulnerable, champions women and make a lasting impact on people’s lives particularly stand out for me. New policies to fight domestic violence and abuse against women are out to consultation, and will lead this country to taking a new approach. Helping to bring thousands of refugees, including child refugees from both Calais and the Middle East region, and meeting some of the families who fled the terrible situation in Syria and have now been given a chance to rebuild their lives here in the UK in safety and security is something we can be proud of.

It has been an honour to work on a new security treaty with the EU as part of our new partnership going forward and to participate in your Brexit sub-committee helping to ensure that we have the best possible EU deal for our economy, businesses, jobs and people across the UK.

The new Economic Crime Centre that i launched with the first use of unexplained wealth orders will be important to the confidence of London as a financial centre.

I will continue to support the Home Office ministerial team whenever possible on all these important subjects, supporting the government from the back benches and continuing to work hard for my constituents of Hastings and Rye.

Best wishes,

Amber Rudd”

The Prime Minister replied:

“Dear Amber,

Thank you for your letter of this evening tendering your resignation as home secretary. I was very sorry to receive it, but understand your reasons for doing so.

When you addressed the House of Commons and the Home Affairs Select Committee last week on the issue of illegal immigration, you answered the questions put to you in good faith. People who have entered the United Kingdom illegally or overstayed here should expect to face the full force of the law and know that they will be removed if they will not leave this country voluntarily. Just as importantly, people who have come here legally and enriched the life of our country should not expect the state unreasonably to challenge their presence here; rather, it should help them prove their right to continue living here and contributing to the life of our nation.

Under your tenure, the Home Office has been working to enforce a firm but fair immigration policy – working to increase the number of illegal migrants we remove, while ensuring that we continue to recognise the huge contribution of everyone who has come to the UK legally, and remain open to the brightest and best from across the globe.

When you spoke in the House of Commons, you said that you had not agreed specific removal targets, but that the Home Office’s Immigration Enforcement command had been using local targets for internal performance management. You also said that you were not aware that those operational targets had been set.

I understand why, now that you have had chance to review the advice that you have received on this issue, you have made the decision you have made and taken responsibility for inadvertently misleading the Home Affairs Select Committee.

I am very sorry to see you leaving the Home Office, but you should take great pride in what you have achieved there – working with internet service providers to set up the first Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism and take extremist and terrorist content offline; countering the cyber threat to British families and businesses; standing up for the victims of crime, abuse and domestic violence; offering shelter to refugees from Syria and elsewhere; and advancing the cause of equality as minister for women and equalities.

This comes on top of the considerable contribution you have made to Government since 2012 – first as a whip, then as minister and subsequently secretary of state at the department for energy and climate change – as well as the devoted service you have always given, and will continue to give, to your constituents in Hastings and Rye.

As a former home secretary myself, I appreciate the particular demands of that great office of state. You should take great pride in the way you have led the Home Office and its dedicated public servants through a number of serious challenges, including five terrorist incidents and other complex national events. You have done so with great integrity, compassion, and selflessness – notwithstanding the personal and political challenges you have faced during this period.

I know that you have a great contribution still to make to national life, and look forward to seeing you do so.

Yours,

Theresa.”

Government Updates Salisbury Health Warning

The Government has issued updated guidance for those in the Salisbury area who may have been affected by the use of a nerve agent. Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, has said that the investigation is continuing and that the Government is “committed to bringing the perpetrators to justice”.

Public Health England said in a statement:

“The immediate risk to the general public remains low and this has not changed. Rigorous scientific analysis has been ongoing and we have learnt that there has been some limited contamination in both The Mill pub and Zizzi restaurant in Salisbury. Anyone who visited The Mill pub or Zizzi restaurant where the 2 affected individuals were can be reassured that this limited exposure will not have harmed their health to date. However, there may be a very small health risk associated with repeated contact with belongings which may have been contaminated by this substance. We therefore recommend that a precautionary approach is taken and advise people to clean the clothes they were wearing and any possessions they had with them.

Those who were in either location should:

 – wash clothing they haven’t already in the washing machine
 – any items which cannot be washed, and which would normally be dry cleaned, should be put in two plastic bags tied at the top and stored safely at home (we are currently reviewing the best way of cleaning these clothes and will provide further advice on our website)
 – wipe personal items such as phones, handbags and other electronic items with cleansing or baby wipes and dispose of the wipes in the bin
 – wash other items such as jewellery and spectacles which cannot go in the washing machine with warm water and detergent and rinse with clean, cold water
 – wash their hands thoroughly after cleaning any items

We want to reiterate that the immediate risk to those affected is extremely low and this is a precautionary measure”.

Rudd said in a statement to Parliament:

“At approximately 4.15pm on Sunday afternoon, Wiltshire police received a call from a member of the public who was concerned for the welfare of two people in a park in Salisbury. Emergency services were called, and the two were admitted to the A&E department of Salisbury District Hospital. They were a man in his 60s and a woman in her 30s, with no visible signs of injury. They are understood to be Sergei and Yulia Skripal. Both remain unconscious, and in a critical but stable condition.

I regret to inform the House that a police officer has also fallen seriously ill. The officer was one of the first responders on Sunday, acting selflessly to help others. The latest update from the hospital is that the officer’s condition remains serious but stable, and that he is conscious, talking and engaging. Officers from Wiltshire police are providing support for the officer’s family and colleagues. Our thoughts are with all three victims, and their families and friends, at what will be an incredibly difficult time for them”.

Government Seeks to Take Action on Domestic Abuse

The Government has announced that it plans to undertake a series of measures in a bid to tackle domestic abuse. New laws will be introduced with a consultation being announced by Theresa May, the Prime Minister, alongside Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, and David Gauke, the Secretary of State for Justice.

Theresa May said in a statement:

“This year we celebrated the centenary of achieving votes for women in this country, and today we recognise International Women’s Day. But while we have made great strides towards equality and opportunities for women, the fact there are still thousands of people suffering from domestic abuse shows how much work we still have to do.

Domestic abuse takes many forms, from physical and sexual abuse, to controlling and coercive behaviour that isolates victims from their families and has long-term, shattering impacts on their children. The consultation we are launching today includes a number of proposals which have the potential to completely transform the way we tackle domestic abuse, providing better protection to victims and bringing more perpetrators to justice.

We know that domestic abuse affects those from all walks of life. Victims can be young and old, male and female, and I hope as many people as possible will come forward to give us their views and share their experiences, as we seek to put an end to this abhorrent crime for good”.

Amber Rudd said:

“It is appalling that in twenty-first century Britain, nearly 2 million people every year – the majority of them women – suffer abuse at the hands of those closest to them.

Through this Bill I want to fundamentally change the way we as a country think about domestic abuse, recognising that it is a crime that comes in many forms – physical, emotional, economic. This is about creating a society that protects individuals and families at the earliest opportunity, before such abuse has a chance to escalate.

This is a once in a generation opportunity to transform our entire approach to this terrible crime. I call on everyone, but especially those who have suffered abuse in any form, to speak out and help shape the way we approach this crime for years to come”.

Sara Khan Appointed as Commissioner for Countering Extremism

Sara Khan has been confirmed as the new Commissioner for Countering Extremism, a role which she will hold for three years. The appointment was confirmed by Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, and Khan’s role will be to challenge various forms of extremism.

Rudd said in a statement:

“The Commission for Countering Extremism will form a crucial part of this government’s work to stop the scourge of extremism in all its forms and Sara Khan is expertly qualified to lead its important work.

She will bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the Commission which will prove vital as it works to identify and challenge extremism and provide independent advice to the government.

Last century we challenged racism by uniting civil society and the state. We have the same ambition to confront extremism. This government will not stand by and allow the menace of extremism to undermine the fundamental, pluralistic values which underpin our society”.

Government to Introduce New Measures to Tackle Growing Problem of Violent Crime

The Government has announced new measures are being introduced in a bid to tackle the growing problem of violent crime. Legislation is planned which would require an individual to explain why they are carrying a corrosive substance in public and there will be an extension on the prohibition of knives.

Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, said:

“All forms of violent crime are totally unacceptable, which is why we are taking action to restrict access to offensive weapons and crack down on those who carry acids with the intent to do harm.

Acid attacks can devastate lives and leave victims with both emotional and physical scars.

By banning the sale of the most harmful corrosive substances to under 18s and introducing minimum custodial sentences to those who repeatedly carry corrosive substances to cause harm, we are sending a message that the cowards who use these as weapons will not escape the full force of the law”.

Home Secretary Launches New On-Line Hate Crime Hub

Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, has announced the launch of a new on-line hate crime hub. The measures have been introduced to attempt to counter-act the growing problem of on-line hate crime and the hub will be run by specialist police officers.

Rudd said in a statement:

“Online hate crime is completely unacceptable. What is illegal offline is illegal online, and those who commit these cowardly crimes should be met with the full force of the law.

The national online hate crime hub that we are funding is an important step to ensure more victims have the confidence to come forward and report the vile abuse to which they are being subjected.

The hub will also improve our understanding of the scale and nature of this despicable form of abuse. With the police, we will use this new intelligence to adapt our response so that even more victims are safeguarded and perpetrators punished”.