Theresa May has had to face her fourth government crisis in six months, caused this time by the policy of “hostile environment” against the immigrants that she promoted before her arrival in Downing Street. The resignation as Secretary of the Interior of Amber Rudd (relieved a few hours later by the son of Pakistani immigrants Sajid Javid) has left the premier in an extremely weak position.

May tried to distance herself from the political turmoil on Monday, claiming that Amber Rudd had simply resigned “because the information she provided to Parliament was not correct”. The conservative leader had to fit three times the awkward question – “And you do not plan to resign?” – as she passed through Trafford, in a campaign for the local elections on May 3, in which her controversial leadership will be at stake again.

The premier acknowledged the existence of “quotas” of deportations, something that Rudd herself denied in her appearance before Parliament last week. May however justified the immigration policy sponsored by herself, between 2010 and 2016, when she was in charge of the Home Office: “What we did was to respond to the need of the people to see the Government taking measures against illegal immigration”.

“Amber Rudd has served as a human shield to Theresa May”, said Labor opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, who asked the premier to assume his responsibilities. “Now that Rudd is not here, Theresa May will have to answer for herself the questions about what she did while she was secretary of the Interior, she was the one who presided over, on her own terms, the creation of the “hostile environment”.

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