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In better days: Amber Rudd campaigning in Hastings in 2015.

In better days: Amber Rudd campaigning in Hastings in 2015.

Sudden halt to Rudd’s meteoric rise

Local MP Amber Rudd’s resignation as Home Secretary brings her hitherto meteoric rise to the top of British politics to a sudden halt. While opposition parties in Hastings welcome the widespread condemnation of the ‘hostile environment’ policy for immigrants which Ms Rudd was in charge of implementing, they have different takes on its wider significance and her political future. Nick Terdre reports.

Amber Rudd telephoned prime minister Theresa May to offer her resignation last Sunday, 29 April. She had “inadvertently” misled the Home Affairs select committee over targets for the deportation of illegal immigrants, she said, though leaked Home Office documents suggest she was better informed than she indicated.

Her departure was the culmination of a media storm that began slowly but during April built up a considerable head of steam as a stream of revelations brought to light the harrowing treatment by Home Office officials of members of the Windrush generation, denying their British citizenship, refusing them access to benefits and free NHS treatment, threatening them with deportation and in some cases making good on the threat.

“Amber Rudd has been responsible for the appalling treatment of the Windrush generation, who came to this country legally and have made their lives here,“ Andrea Needham of the local Green Party told HOT.

“Hastings is a diverse and multicultural town and Amber Rudd does not represent the majority view. We welcome her resignation but believe that now it is time for Theresa May to be held to account for her role in creating the ‘hostile environment’ towards immigrants which led to the Windrush scandal.”

Honour and responsibility

Nick Perry, the Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate in recent years, sees Brexit calculations entering into the matter. “As an opposing candidate to her for the last three general elections, I am surprised that this matter of honour, and responsibility to the Windrush generation, did not result in her going much sooner,” he said.

Amber Rudd speaks while Jorge Labbe Herrera behind her helps with the sounds - her department would later attempt to deport him.

Amber Rudd speaks while Jorge Labbe Herrera behind her helps with the sound – her department would later attempt to deport him.

“But as an ardent pro-European, I understand that there will have been pressure from many in her own party for Amber still to have ‘remained’ around the Cabinet table.

“Sadly, the government’s cack-handed appoach to Brexit and immigration policy has given the institutional racism that still exists in British society a shot in the arm.”

For council leader Peter Chowney, Ms Rudd’s replacement as Home Secretary by Sajid Javid – himself the son of immigrants – “is a shift to the right in the Tory Cabinet and is going to be bad news for anyone looking for a more compassionate approach from the Home Office.”

Universally despised

“As Communities Secretary, [Javid] was universally despised by councils throughout the country, of all political colours, especially after he tried to blame all councils for the Grenfell Tower fire, and shifted all responsibility away from government,” Cllr Chowney said.

“His unapologetic support for austerity and huge cuts to local government and adult social care in particular has made him few friends, and local government generally will be glad to see the back of him.”

Since she was elected MP for Hastings and Rye in 2010, Ms Rudd had risen rapidly through the Tory ranks, becoming a protegee first of George Osborne, chancellor in David Cameron’s coalition government, and then, after a spell heading the Department of Energy and Climate Change, of Mrs May when she became prime minister in 2016.

Having conceived the ‘hostile environment’ policy, it seems Mrs May was keen for her successor to carry it on, which Ms Rudd did, though she is taken as a liberal Tory. Now there have been calls for Mrs May to acknowledge her own responsibility in the affair.

Future unclear

The future for Ms Rudd, once spoken of as a possible party leader, is unclear. “Her reputation is now damaged, more because of her admitted lack of ‘competence’ rather than for not telling the truth or for her attitude to immigration (which is enlightened compared to most Tory MPs),” said Cllr Chowney.

“But will she stand for parliament again at all? My guess is that will rather depend on whether she’s rehabilitated quickly and ends up back in the Cabinet after a pause for reflection on the back benches.”

The Hastings and Rye Conservative Party was asked for a comment but has not responded.

See Alex Ntung on the Windrush crisis and reports on Home Office attempts to deport two local residents, Jorge Labbe Herrera and Iranian orphan Javad.

Posted 17:08 Wednesday, May 2, 2018 In: Politics

10 Comments


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  1. David Stevenson

    Keith. No, morality is superior to intelligence. Many serial killers Have high intelligence but would you want them running the country? I am not going to identify an alternative to Amber Rudd. That is for local people to decide. After all, we are supposed to be a democracy.

    Why have you brought up the economy? That is not the subject of this discussion. You have clearly fallen into the trap set by shallow politicians who reduce everything to the level of the lowest common denominator.

    Comment by David Stevenson — Thursday, May 17, 2018 @ 06:59

  2. Keith Piggott (Icarus)

    High standards indeed aught to be the gold standard in every profession, politics too if that not be a vocation. However, pure intelligence is above ethics and social morals. Intelligence is able to illuminate, or obfuscate, according to circumstances. One sees it daily in political statements and in TV interviews. What counts more is a sincere dedication to public service, Amber Rudd has demonstrated that in spades. Do identify the “local politician capable of standing in her shoes, or even in her shadow”. (That excludes the shadow Home Secretary).

    Without intending to be confrontational, Ms Fricker conflates local and national austerity. Both were necessarily imposed by a departing Labour finance minister’s note “there’s no money left” (only a £1.3 Trillion debt), and by a Labour PM’s relaxation of Bank regulation that led to sub-prime mortgages that led to collapse of banks bankrupt in all but name, the said Labour PM bailed out- instead of feeding grass-roots lending (such as credit unions). I met one bank trader promoted to head of investment department when he only lost £33 Millions on the day. If the nation suffers, local authorities suffer, and families suffer. Amber Rudd serves Hastings, as well as Rye, in a government that saved our economy, that the economic recidivists would squander tomorrow if given the opportunity.

    Comment by Keith Piggott (Icarus) — Saturday, May 12, 2018 @ 13:03

  3. David Alan Stevenson

    Keith, you say that I “set too high a bar for judging modern politicians.” I’m sorry but what is wrong with having high standards? The absence of any standards in present-day political parties allows people like Amber Rudd to get selected as candidates. You say that you “see no local politician capable of standing in her shoes, or even in her shadow.” Well, you haven’t looked very far. The issue is that people with ability don’t go into politics because they have more intelligent things to do with their lives.

    Comment by David Alan Stevenson — Monday, May 7, 2018 @ 14:31

  4. Jill Fricker

    Amber Rudd, the MP for the 13th most deprived local authority in the country (Index of Deprivation 2015), has served in a Government whose austerity policies have wreaked devastation on communities throughout the UK, none more so than places like Hastings. By what definition can she possibly be regarded as ‘a great local MP’?

    Comment by Jill Fricker — Monday, May 7, 2018 @ 10:14

  5. Keith Piggott (Icarus)

    David Stevenson sets too high a bar for judging modern politicians. Churchill indeed was unique, privileged and experienced in war, but as Home Secretary his PR appearance at The Sydney Street Siege of alien anarchists cannot match Amber Rudd’s unbroken vigilance against alien and domestic concerted IS-Daesh terrorism. It’s a tough assignment, giver her credit for not ‘debating on a pin-head’ each event but dealing promptly and directly with real attacks also with perceived threats. I see no local politician capable of standing in her shoes, or even in her shadow. KP

    Comment by Keith Piggott (Icarus) — Saturday, May 5, 2018 @ 14:49

  6. DAR

    Can we now drop the phrase “hostile environment” which has been ruthlessy exploited and deliberately applied incorrectly to “immigrants” rather than “illegal immigrants” for, largely, party political purposes or “virtue signalling” rather than anything else. Now such people have Rudd’s head on a plate, perhaps they’ll shut up.

    Comment by DAR — Thursday, May 3, 2018 @ 16:46

  7. David Stevenson

    Her appointment in 2016 as Home Secretary by Theresa May illustrates the gradual decline in the quality of politicians over the last forty years. You only have to compare Amber Rudd with Winston Churchill, an earlier incumbent of that role. He is still regarded as one of the greatest Britons of all time, irrespective of one’s political views. He was a talented artist and writer, being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. How many of our present-day MPs are deserving of a similar award?

    Comment by David Stevenson — Thursday, May 3, 2018 @ 12:51

  8. Ms.Doubtfire

    Excellent comments by Keith Piggott – Amber has been a great local MP – pity her colleagues in her deparment left her to be the sacrificial lamb. The Windrush scandal was not of her doing…and as pointed out, Labour bears the responsibility for this chaos.

    June Knight is correct when she says Labour in this town is a shambles. She won’t be voting for Labour and neither will many in this town. Chowney and his cohorts are bullies and whilst they hold the majority nothing will change here. We have to free outselves from this unwelcome majority.
    A vote for the Green Party would be my choice.

    Comment by Ms.Doubtfire — Thursday, May 3, 2018 @ 12:21

  9. June Knight

    Still not voting Labour especially if it is chowney

    And wont be voting Labour tomorrow due to the expulsion of Mark Wadsworth.

    Oldies and Goodies being pushed out and maligned and defamed for posh PR types.

    I stand by the likes of me who have worked and contributed for years and decades unlike Labour who likes to abandon, betray and kick in the face their own and long serving.

    A schizophrenic multi personality party that is berzerk at present. Machetting its own like Johnny in the Shining.

    LABOUR = NOT GOOD ENOUGH

    Local Labour a SHAMBLES.

    Comment by June Knight — Wednesday, May 2, 2018 @ 22:53

  10. Keith Piggott (Icarus)

    ‘A week is a long time in politics’ (PM Harold Wilson in 1960s). Who now would have thought that Tory implementation of Labour legislation, intended to redress the Blair government’s porous border chaos, would result in downfall of an excellent Home Secretary by her own honourable and prompt resignation for an inadvertent untrue response made in committee about expulsion targets generally, i.e. for expelling illegal immigrants?

    This is no time for ‘schadenfreude’, by anyone, of any persuasion. Amber had admitted and already had taken steps to correct her department’s wrongful handling of historic legal ‘Windrush’ citizens – wrongly treated as illegals – and had promised to recompense all affected. Would her shadow have done so?

    However there is a silver lining to this cloud. Hastings & Rye have now regained a full time MP who despite her former Ministerial and vital national security obligations always has devoted herself to our local causes with purpose. Fishermen and others now can press their Brexit needs and requirements with confidence in her total commitment to Hastings & Rye.

    Comment by Keith Piggott (Icarus) — Wednesday, May 2, 2018 @ 22:13

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