Britain's interior minister Amber Rudd resigns

London (AFP) –


Britain's interior minister Amber Rudd resigned on Sunday amid claims she misled lawmakers over whether her department held targets for removing illegal immigrants in the country.

"The prime minister has tonight accepted the resignation of the home secretary," said a spokesman for the office of premier Theresa May.

Rudd telephoned May to inform her of the decision following a week of intensifying pressure over an immigration scandal and increasing calls for her to quit.

Her decision to step down will come as a major blow to Conservative leader May, who publicly declared her "full confidence" in Rudd as recently as Friday and faces potentially bruising local elections across England this Thursday.

Rudd was forced onto the defensive after this week telling a parliamentary committee the Home Office did not keep targets for the number of illegal immigrants removed from Britain.

Despite maintaining she was unaware of the existence of such lists, mounting evidence about the extent of the knowledge within the Home Office of the targets made her position increasingly untenable.

Rudd was also heavily criticised over the treatment of the so-called Windrush generation, which came to light earlier this month.

Commonwealth citizens primarily from the Caribbeam who came to Britain in the post-World War II decades were wrongly threatened with deportation due to a "hostile environment" immigration policy pioneered by May when she was interior minister between 2010 and 2016, and then continued by Rudd.

The opposition Labour Party had accused Rudd of being a "human shield" for May.

She had been due to make another appearance before parliament on Monday, but instead opted to resign late Sunday.

Rudd, who had led the Home Office since 2016, was seen as a moderate on the European Union and a balancing force in a cabinet made up of several big-name pro-Brexit figures, such as Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Environment Secretary Michael Gove.