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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 June 2018

Windrush scandal: pressure mounts on Amber Rudd to resign

Home Secretary asked three times to step down during an emergency parliamentary session called to explain why she wasn't aware of immigration targets set by her own department

<p>Britain&#39;s Home Secretary Amber Rudd called to answer emergency question in parliament. Tolga&nbsp;Akmen / AFP PHOTO</p>
<p>Britain&#39;s Home Secretary Amber Rudd called to answer emergency question in parliament. Tolga&nbsp;Akmen / AFP PHOTO</p>

Home Secretary Amber Rudd faced calls to resign on Thursday after a scandal in which Caribbean immigrants who have lived legally in Britain for decades were being labelled illegal immigrants.

The "Windrush" scandal overshadowed the Commonwealth summit last week in London and has raised questions about Theresa May's six-year stint as interior minister before she became prime minister in the wake of the 2016 Brexit referendum.

For nearly two weeks, British ministers have been struggling to explain why some descendants of the "Windrush generation", who were invited to Britain to plug labour shortfalls between 1948 and 1971, had been labelled illegal immigrants.

Ms Rudd on Wednesday told lawmakers that Britain did not have targets for removals of immigrants.

But the BBC and the Guardian said that a Home Office inspection report from December 2015 showed that targets for the voluntary departure of people regarded as having no right to stay in the UK had been used.

"I have never agreed that there should be specific removal targets and I would never support a policy that puts targets ahead of people," Ms Rudd told parliament on Thursday.

"The immigration arm of the home office has been using local targets for internal performance management," Ms Rudd said. "These were not published targets against which performance was assessed. But if they were used inappropriately then this will have to change."

But the Labour Party's home affairs spokeswoman, Diane Abbott, and other Labour MPs called for Ms Rudd to resign.