The new home secretary waited just six hours after starting his job on Monday to distance himself from the “hostile” immigration rhetoric Theresa May championed for six years.
Sajid Javid said use of the word “hostile” – repeatedly deployed by Ms May – had been “incorrect” and “unhelpful”, and did not “represent our values as a country”.
The shift in language sets Mr Javid on a collision course with the prime minister, who has used the term “hostile environment” since 2012 to describe what she wants illegal immigrants to experience in the UK.
I wonder if Princess Theresa was expecting that? She may not care for the explicit criticism from her new Home Secretary at all. It’s too soon to say whether the new Home Secretary has a heart, intellect and decency, he’s a Tory after all, and you’d need an electron microscope to detect those properties in the party elite. But if he has, May surely won’t like it.
It’s one thing to distinguish between legal and illegal immigrants, though clearly it’s not a task the Home Office has been historically proficient at. It’s quite another to rail against illegal immigrants and creating an atmosphere where even legal immigrants get shafted.
If Amber Rudd felt she had to resign for lying to Parliament, why not May herself? Rudd, in the end, did the decent thing, and held herself accountable for government mistakes. She accepted the chop. May doesn’t have the same courage and decency to accept responsibility But that’s what Tories habitually do – dodge responsibility for their actions.