Britain’s new Home Secretary is the 48-year old son of a Pakistani bus driver who said during the Windrush wrongful deportations and withdrawals of rights that it could have been “me, my mum or my dad.
Investment banker Sajid Javid’s family came to the UK in the 1960s. Until today he had been Communities, Local Government and Housing Secretary whose responsibilities included Grenfell Tower.
He was appointed after Home Secretary Amber Rudd’s late night resignation after she said she had “inadvertently misled MPs” over what she knew about immigration removal targets which she had earlier denied existed.
Ms Rudd is widely seen to have been in an impossible position trying to defend her predecessor, Prime Minister Theresa May.
Her departure from Cabinet also removes one of the voices for a so-called ‘soft’ Brexit while his own attitude has been mixed.
Rudd resignation letter pic.twitter.com/RTcKgoTuw5
— Faisal Islam (@faisalislam) April 29, 2018
Mr Javid has nailed his colours firmly to the mast of the so-called Eurosceptics and it has helped his political progress within the Tory party since he first became an MP in 2010. Despite this he advocated remaining within the EU during the 2016 Referendum.
Mr Javid was a protégé of former chancellor George Osborne and is the first person from an ethnic minority to hold the post.
Mrs May is facing revolt by pro-Brexit MPs who oppose her plans to remain within some form of Customs Union with the EU after Brexit and Ms Rudd was a key cabinet ally against them.
The Prime Minister is such a weakened figure within her own Cabinet that she is unable to dismiss her rebels and faces a fractious, divided party.
Mr Javid’s old job will be taken up by former Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire who served in the Home Office with Theresa May.
At the weekend, Mr Javid told the pro-Brexit Sunday Telegraph that the Windrush scandal felt “very personal” to him as coming from a family of immigrants “it could have been me, my mum or my dad”. He has confirmed that Windrush will be his most important priority.
The 48-year old former investment banker and MP for Bromsgrove since 2010 had been communities secretary for about 18 months and led the government’s response to last year’s Grenfell Tower fire disaster.
Ms Rudd had been due to appear before MPs to deny that she had set targets to remove immigrants but The Guardian published a memo in which it became clear that both Mrs May and Ms Rudd were discussing targets for removal of immigrants. You can read the full letter here: www.theguardian.com
In her resignation letter Ms Rudd admitted that her office had been alerted to the targets and added: “I should have been aware of this and take full responsibility for the fact that I was not.”
Mrs May said that she was “very sorry” to see her leave but said she had little choice but to resign: “I understand why now that you have had a chance to review the advice you received on this issue you have made the decision you have made and taken responsibility for inadvertently misleading the home affairs select committee.”
— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) April 29, 2018
David Lammy, the Labour MP for Tottenham, who led the campaign over Windrush, said: “Amber Rudd resigned because she didn’t know what was going on in her own department and she had clearly lost the confidence of her own civil servants.
“The real issue is the ‘hostile environment’ policy that caused this crisis in the first place. That policy must now be reviewed, and the Home Office must move quickly to compensate and grant citizenship to the Windrush generation.”
Diane Abbott, the shadow home secretary, said this morning: “We want to understand from her what the basis of this hostile environment policy was and whether she’s prepared to accept that it led to the Windrush scandal.”
Ms Abbott said: “All roads lead back to Theresa May and her tenure as home secretary.”
Mr Javid will now have responsibility for planning for the post-Brexit immigration policy while Brexiteers are demanding that no concessions be made or advantages given to EU citizens.