Amber Rudd, U.K. home secretary, arrives for an emergency Cabinet meeting at number 10 Downing Street in London, U.K. (Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg)

May Loses ‘Human Shield’ Ahead of Big Brexit Week

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The shocking thing about the U.K. premier losing her sixth cabinet minister in as many months is how normal it’s become. It’s just another day in the life of Theresa May.

Yet the scandal over deportation targets that claimed the scalp of Home Secretary Amber Rudd is particularly problematic for May given that many of the policies under attack were set when she oversaw that department.

It was she who created the “hostile environment” for illegal immigrants, a legacy that is coming apart with stinging revelations that an older generation of Caribbean migrants brought in during the postwar reconstruction was threatened with deportation for not being able to prove their residency status.

For two weeks, Rudd acted as May’s human shield. Her departure will now make the premier the direct target. But she also served a bigger purpose. As the U.K. prepares to leave the European Union, she was a key voice countering pro-Brexit heavyweights.

Rudd’s departure upsets a delicate balance at the top of May’s team. Her successor, Sajid Javid, is a euroskeptic and that could tip the scales in favor of a harder Brexit.

Global Headlines

Kim’s charm offensive | In his latest diplomatic gesture, North Korea’s 34-year-old leader Kim Jong Un plans to invite foreign journalists to witness the closure of his country’s nuclear test site, widely reported to be damaged beyond use. The move adds to pressure on President Donald Trump to ease sanctions ahead of any substantial concessions from Pyongyang. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told ABC’s “This Week” he believes a deal is possible after meeting Kim over Easter, while adding “we have our eyes wide open.”

Clock ticking | On a swing through Riyadh, Tel Aviv, and Amman in his first trip as the top U.S. diplomat, Pompeo said the U.S. will exit the Iran nuclear deal if the “flawed” accord can’t be fixed to its satisfaction. French President Emmanuel Macron and his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, spoke for an hour yesterday, and agreed to work together to preserve the agreement. The flurry of diplomacy comes as a May 12 deadline approaches for the U.S. decision.

Italy’s governing options diminish | The two-month search for a new government was thrown into disarray as leaders of the anti-establishment Five Star and the center-left Democratic Party said dialogue was impossible, extending the gridlock in the euro area's third-biggest economy. The center-right coalition might now ask President Sergio Mattarella for a minority-government mandate.

Tariff exemptions | The U.S. Commerce Department is wrestling with a backlog of some 3,500 requests to exclude products from Trump’s steel and aluminum import tariffs. Trump must decide by tomorrow whether to extend temporary exemptions for Canada, Mexico, the European Union and others. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told Bloomberg on Saturday the administration would grant relief to some but not all of the countries.

Buying likes | Facebook Inc. may find itself drawn into a dispute between Cambodia's ruling and opposition parties. So far it’s resisted requests by Sam Rainsy — a political opponent of Prime Minister Hun Sen — to turn over information that will help him fight what he calls trumped-up claims brought by the regime. Hun Sen calls his request “stupid,” but Rainsy’s lawyers say it’s a “test case for Facebook’s professed interest in transparency and helping to deter malignant actors.”

And finally... These days, running a large U.S. city isn’t just about potholes, collecting garbage and parking fines. Democratic mayors now have jobs that include dealing with immigration, police violence and other national issues that may boost their prospects as the party seeks a candidate to try and unseat Trump in 2020. Henry Goldman and Elise Young take a closer look at contenders including New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu - who’s promoting a book about his 2017 decision to take down Confederate monuments.

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