The home secretary Amber Rudd has resigned, saying she “inadvertently misled” MPs over targets for removing illegal immigrants.
Ms Rudd, who was due to make a Commons statement on Monday, was under pressure to quit over the Windrush scandal.
She faced criticism over the existence of Home Office removals targets and her knowledge of them.
Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott, who had repeatedly urged Ms Rudd to go, said she had “done the right thing”.
Ms Abbott added that the “architect of this crisis” – Theresa May – must come before the Commons to explain “whether she knew that Amber Rudd was misleading Parliament and the public last week”.
On Sunday, the Guardian published the full letter it had reported on a week earlier, in which Ms Rudd set out her “ambitious but deliverable” aim to deport 10% more illegal immigrants over the “next few years” to Theresa May.
Mrs May said she was “very sorry” to see Ms Rudd leave the Home Office and she should “take great pride” in what she has achieved.
This time the Tory party was fighting hard to keep her. But beyond the mess-ups, perhaps part of the issue was also that the was not necessarily in tune with her predecessor’s attitude on immigration – the Home Office’s most politically charged brief.
Former chancellor George Osborne sad it was “so sad”, adding “the government just got a bit less human”.
The newspaper also published a letter, from January 2017, where Ms Rudd tells Theresa May about plans to restructure her department and increase removals “over the next few years”.
Ms Rudd’s aim of increasing “enforced deportations” would not have affected Windrush migrants, as they were threatened with “voluntary departure”.
The term “voluntary” describes the method of departure rather than the choice of whether or not to depart – those leaving in this way are able to approach the Home Office for financial assistance with travel costs.
The former energy secretary was unable to put her stamp on any significant policy during her 21 months at the Home Office; much of her time was spent fire-fighting – dealing with the implications of Brexit, the rise in violent crime and last year’s terror attacks.
Presentationally, Amber Rudd was impressive. But she lacked a command of the detail, which her predecessor had mastered, and it proved to be her undoing.