United Kingdom home minister Amber Rudd brought down by immigration scandal

Britain's Home Secretary Amber Rudd has resigned after acknowledging that she misled lawmakers about targets for deporting immigrants.

"This is important. If you talk to members of the public they want to ensure that we are dealing with people who are here illegally".

She had faced criticism over the existence of UK Home Office deportation targets and her knowledge of them.

The Labour leader said Mrs May "now has questions to answer" about "what she actually did as home secretary". May accepted her resignation.

Penny Mordaunt had been named among the top favourites to take on the high-flying role, with bookies Ladbrokes giving her 16/1 odds.

The Daily Mail says Ms Rudd resigned after she "was repeatedly told of deportation targets despite denying any knowledge" of them.

Appointed home secretary in 2010, Theresa May oversaw the design of the Tories immigration strategy under David Cameron, before her ascension to 10 Downing Street in 2016.

With her Conservative Party split over Brexit, May will have to be careful to preserve the uneasy balance in the cabinet after the loss of such a senior pro-EU minister.

Mr Javid was previously Communities and Local Government Secretary, and will be replaced in that post by James Brokenshire.

However, on Sunday the Guardian published a letter Rudd sent to May past year in which she boasted about "ambitious but deliverable" targets for deporting illegal immigrants, suggesting she did know about the policy. He had spoken out forcefully on the plight of people from former British colonies who arrived legally in Britain in the 1950s and 60s, but who had struggled to prove their status amid a wider crackdown on illegal immigration.

"Today [Javid] walks into a department that has slashed police budgets and police numbers, presided over a rise in serious violent crime and cultivated an obsession with hardline policies on immigrants, personified by the Windrush scandal".

In her resignation letter, Rudd admitted that sometimes people with a legal right to be in Britain had not been treated "fairly and humanely".

Javid will now take Rudd's place on May's Brexit committee, a cabinet sub-grouping balanced between those who supported staying in the European Union and those who wanted to leave.

The bloc's Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said on Monday this would require rapid progress, and that a real risk remained of Britain leaving the bloc without an overall deal on future relations.

"A fine colleague who did a great job during last year's terrorist attacks and cares deeply about the people she serves", he tweeted.

He wrote: "The Government just got a bit less human". "The former Home Secretary, Theresa May MP was informed of the intention to pilot this campaign".

  • Carolyn Briggs