Amber Rudd implies government is unclear on EU customs union

Amber Rudd implies government is unclear on EU customs union

Friday, April 27, 2018

She's still at the centre of the Windrush controversy, and now Amber Rudd has indicated that the government is still divided over the EU customs union.

At a parliamentary lunch held for journalists yesterday, she responded ambiguously to a question over whether the UK would still be leaving the customs union.

“I'm not going to be drawn on that,” she responded.

"We still have a few discussions to be had in a really positive, consensual and easy way among some of my Cabinet colleagues in order to arrive at a final position.”

Yesterday, a non-binding debate was held in the House of Commons over whether to stay in the customs union, which ended with a motion that the country should stay in.

While the most vocal Brexit supporters didn’t attend, the debate showed that pro-EU conservatives were gaining support.

Rudd later attempted to clarify her comments on the customs union on Twitter, writing: “I should have been clearer - of course when we leave the EU we will be leaving the customs union.

“I wasn't going to get into ongoing cabinet discussions about our future trading relationship.”

The Home Secretary is finding herself under increasing pressure with calls to resign following the Windrush scandal.

Read more: 'Windrush makes us look like a bungling country'

On Wednesday she said the government had not set targets for voluntary departure – where foreigners without the right to remain in the UK leave of their own accord – but documents revealed that in 2015, a target of 12,000 departures was set.

Yesterday Rudd was called into the House of Commons for questioning about the targets.

Labour MEP Claude Moraes told Julia Hartley-Brewer this morning that he thought there was "a good case for her to go over Windrush" but that her resignation could be "conflated with everything else, Brexit, the whole political context".

“I have not approved or seen or cleared any targets for removals looking ahead, and looking ahead I will not be doing that,” she said.

She told MPs that she wanted to change the way the Home Office worked.

“I want to make sure we focus more on the individual. I’m confident that we will see a marked change in tone,” she said.

The Windrush generation arrived in the UK from the Caribbean Islands between 1948 and 1971 to work in the UK following the Second World War.

They are legally entitled to stay in the country, but were not issued with documents to prove it at the time of their arrival.

Rudd announced last week she was setting up a new taskforce to speed up the regularisation of the immigration status of the Windrush generation.