Not many Home Secretaries become Prime Minister. In the last century, only Herbert Asquith, Winston Churchill and James Callaghan made it to the top of Disraeli’s ‘greasy pole’ and very few Home Secretaries – such as Roy Jenkins, Callaghan and, arguably, RA Butler – found their reputations significantly enhanced while in office. Theresa May, the longest serving Home Secretary has become Prime Minister but is now facing the Windrush crisis and the consequences of decisions she participated in while at the helm of the Home Office.
Amber Rudd’s resignation is more in keeping with the reputation of the Home Office as being a difficult department to handle. Ostensibly, she was forced to go because of her unintended misleading of Members of Parliament during a Home Affairs Select Committee session but the reality is she was trapped by the contradiction between a policy designed to demonstrate toughness on immigration and its consequences as individuals, effectively, became less important than public perceptions.
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