Isabel Hardman Isabel Hardman

Robert Jenrick resigns as immigration minister

(Photo: Getty)

In the past few minutes, James Cleverly has confirmed that Robert Jenrick has resigned as immigration minister. He was asked repeatedly about the position of his minister of state in the Home Office during his statement on the emergency Rwanda legislation, and he has now said it ‘has been confirmed’ that Jenrick has left his role, which suggests the Secretary of State didn’t know the position when he entered the chamber.

Cleverly added: ‘Of course I speak with the ministers in the department regularly but ultimately the question of this session should be about the Bill but about the individuals in the House.’ This was swiftly followed by Mark Francois, who told the Chamber that it was ‘deeply worrying’ that Jenrick had gone.

The progression of questions shows Cleverly’s own surprise. From the start of his statement, MPs were shouting ‘where’s the minister?’ across the chamber. Normally the Commons complains when a junior minister comes instead of the Secretary of State, but this evening, the focus was on the fact the Home Secretary was giving a statement without his second-in-command sitting on the frontbench. Tory MPs were buzzing about with the rumour that Jenrick has quit as Immigration Minister, and Yvette Cooper asked directly whether he had on the back of those claims. Cleverly did not answer, but he did tell Home Affairs Committee chair Diana Johnson that he expected Jenrick would come before her committee next week as planned. Later, Cleverly was asked by Chris Bryant whether Jenrick had resigned and why. The Home Secretary replied: ‘The hon. Gentleman as always has an amusing turn of phrase… but his question is not one for me. If he wants to know what any particular member of this house is thinking, he should ask that member of the house.’

The session has been dominated by Jenrick, not the substance of the Bill, but for Tory MPs the resignation of the minister offers an assessment of what that legislation means: it does not go far enough for the traditional and right wings of the party.

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Isabel Hardman
Written by
Isabel Hardman
Isabel Hardman is assistant editor of The Spectator and author of Why We Get the Wrong Politicians. She also presents Radio 4’s Week in Westminster.

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