(Bloomberg) -- Ministers rallied to the defense of beleaguered U.K. Home Secretary Amber Rudd as she prepared to face lawmakers on Monday in a House of Commons appearance that could make or break her career.
Already under pressure over the status of post-World War II immigrants from the Caribbean, Rudd will defend her claim last week that she didn’t know about targets for deporting illegal immigrants when a memo leaked to the Guardian newspaper on Friday suggested she did.
“When Amber Rudd says she didn’t see something, I know she didn’t see it,” Conservative Party Chairman Brandon Lewis, who, as a minister in the home office, received the memo, said on the BBC’s “Andrew Marr Show” on Sunday. “Amber was always hugely focused on making sure we were doing the right thing and continue to do the right thing by some of the most vulnerable people in the world. That’s why she’s such a good Home Secretary.”
The appearance on Monday by Rudd, who issued a series of tweets on Friday apologizing and claiming not to have seen the emailed document, will be the first in a week of events that could add pressure on Prime Minister Theresa May and her strategy for Brexit. The premier faces further challenges in the House of Lords, talks on the Irish Border after Britain quits the EU and local votes that polls suggest will go badly for her party.
The opposition Labour Party, which hopes discontent with May’s government will help it in Thursday’s local elections, renewed calls for Rudd to go. It also accused May of using Rudd as a “human shield” to protect herself from allegations over the “hostile environment” for immigrants that she pursued when she was home secretary, a post she held before taking over as premier.
“That hostile environment strategy led to human suffering,” Labour economy spokesman John McDonnell told Sky News. “Amber Rudd either misled Parliament or was too incompetent to manage her own department. On either grounds she should go.”
Vince Cable, leader of the Liberal Democrats, said he had argued with May over the treatment of immigrants when he was in David Cameron’s coalition cabinet from 2010 to 2015. He said he will listen to what Rudd says before passing judgment.
“We should wait and see what she has to say,” he told the BBC. “I don’t believe in lynch mobs.”
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