LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s interior minister Amber Rudd resisted calls to quit on Friday, apologizing for not being aware of the use of deportation targets in her department and vowing to implement fair and humane immigration policy.
Following accusations that she had misled parliament over whether her department had targets for the removal of immigrants, Rudd said on Twitter: “I wasn’t aware of specific removal targets. I accept I should have been and I’m sorry that I wasn’t.”
Rudd has been under pressure to quit for more than a week. First after a scandal about Britain’s treatment of legal Caribbean migrants, and then over contradictory statements about whether her department did or did not have targets on the removal of immigrants.
The political controversy surrounding one of Prime Minister Theresa May’s closest allies coincides with Britain entering crucial negotiations on a future trade deal with the European Union and amid rising domestic tension over Brexit policy.
Rudd said she would make a statement to parliament on Monday “in response to legitimate questions that have arisen on targets and illegal migration.”
But, she continued to face down calls from the opposition Labour Party to resign.
“As Home Secretary I will work to ensure that our immigration policy is fair and humane,” she Tweeted.
Rudd told reporters on Thursday she had not seen or approved targets for deportation. However, the Guardian newspaper on Friday published an internal document discussing such targets which had been copied to Rudd’s office.
“I didn’t see the leaked document, although it was copied to my office as many documents are,” she said in response to that report.
That prompted a fresh call from Labour’s interior policy chief Diane Abbott for Rudd to resign.
“She failed to read crucial documents which meant she wasn’t aware of the removal targets that have led to people’s lives being ruined,” Abbott said in a statement.
“Another apology is not enough, she should take responsibility for chaos in the Home Office and resign.”
Reporting by William James; Editing by Catherine Evans and Grant McCool