Deportation targets will be scrapped, Rudd vows

By Alan McGuinness and Aubrey Allegretti, Political Reporters
Amber Rudd has hinted she will scrap the deportation targets she first claimed did not exist and then admitted did.
The Home Secretary promised that "looking ahead" she "will not" be approving any more targets for forced removals of illegal immigrants.She confirmed they already existed in a statement after being hauled to Parliament by MPs.Ms Rudd said that she never agreed to use them and that the numbers "were not published targets against which performance was assessed".The targets emerged in a 2015 report and the disclosure has piled further pressure on the Home Secretary over the Windrush scandal and the Government's immigration policy.
Deportation targets will be scrapped, Rudd vows

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Ms Rudd has been accused of misleading Parliament after telling a committee of MPs on Wednesday: "We don't have targets for removals."Downing Street said the Prime Minister has full confidence in Ms Rudd and she is "working hard to address concerns which are raised in relation to Windrush and is working to put them right".The PM's official spokesman said the idea of governments setting removal targets was something that had happened for "a number of decades".
Deportation targets will be scrapped, Rudd vows

Ms Rudd said on Wednesday the targets did not exist
Ms Rudd later told a press gallery lunch in Westminster: "I have not approved or seen or cleared any targets for removals looking ahead, and looking ahead I will not be doing that."The Windrush furore has seen long-term residents of the UK, who came to Britain in the decades after the Second World War, wrongly stripped of benefits and threatened with deportation.Responding to an urgent question from Labour in the Commons, Ms Rudd said: "I have never agreed that there should be specific removal targets and I would never support a policy that puts targets ahead of people."The immigration arm of the Home Office has been using local targets for internal performance management.
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"These were not published targets against which performance was assessed, but if they were used inappropriately then I am clear that this will have to change."I have asked officials to provide me with a full picture of performance measurement tools which are used at all levels, and will update the House and the Home Affairs select committee as soon as possible."
Ms Rudd said Home Office staff should not go after "low-hanging fruit", amid concerns people were detained if they were seen as easy targets.
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Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott repeated her call for her opposite number to resign, telling MPs: "When Lord Carrington resigned over the Falklands, he said it was a matter of honour."Isn't it time that the Home Secretary considered her honour and resigned?"Ms Rudd responded by saying: "I believe I have addressed the issue of targets, referring to the fact that there are some offices which are working with them."Unfortunately I was not aware of them and I want to be aware of them, which is why I'm now putting in place different measures to ensure that that happens."SNP MP Alison Thewliss claimed the Home Secretary was leading an "out of control" department.Labour's Yvette Cooper, chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said it was "deeply disappointing" Ms Rudd "did not know the facts" when she gave evidence.
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But the Home Secretary insisted she was the right person to sort out the issues identified."I do take seriously my responsibility but I do think I am the person who can put it right," Ms Rudd said."I understand the House will want to hold me to account for that, but I am confident the changes I am committed to putting in place and the transparency that will go with that will deliver the changes that are expected."
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She also received backing from a number of Conservative MPs.Tory former minister Sir Nicholas Soames said she had the "total support of this side of the House in trying to resolve a very difficult legacy issue", while backbencher Philip Davies urged Ms Rudd "not to be knocked off course by the parties opposite on the issue of illegal immigration".
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