This week on Meet Your MP, we’ll be taking a look at Amber Rudd, the current Home Secretary in Theresa May’s government.
She’s a woman so intrinsically part of the posh upper crust 0.1% that she was even hired as an “aristocracy coordinator” by the filmmakers who produced Four Weddings and a Funeral.
Let’s dive in and have a look at Rudd’s murky connections with big business and her present day policies towards both UK citizens and immigrants.
Who is Amber Rudd?
Rudd has been the Conservative Home Secretary since 2016 and has served as MP in the East Sussex constituency of Hastings and Rye since 2010. She was Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change between 2015 – 2016 and is considered one of the “rising stars” of Conservative politics.
She has been one of the biggest claimants for MPs expenses, claiming the princely sum of £173,367.16 in 2014-15. She also made sure to put in a claim for 27p for travel expenses on a 900 metre journey, just to make sure that she wasn’t out of pocket. Times can be tough for an ex-venture capitalist.
And whilst the former JP Morgan banker is pro-big business, she has experienced problems keeping her own companies afloat. Indeed, an excellent investigation by The Mirror found that:
…she was the director of a city firm which went bust in 1992, owing £537,581 – including £67,977 to the Inland Revenue.
Mrs Rudd was also a “corporate advisor” at a biodegradable plastics firm during a failed “major expansion” that was later criticised as being “too swift”. That firm went into liquidation owing £4.8million, mostly to shareholders.
And she also set up a financial services company which was shut down in the High Court over its £1.2million debts, including to the taxman.
And this record of failure and abandoned businesses is complemented by the fact she is director of “two firms registered in a tax haven”.
I would suggest there are two reasons for this unremitting affiliation with failure: either the Home Secretary is incompetent and unable to run any business successfully or that she is an exploitative individual who let her companies die and then walked away laughing whilst British taxpayers footed the bill.
What does Rudd stand for?
Rudd’s time as Home Secretary has been defined by calls for greater crackdowns on immigrants, reducing rights for foreign workers and alienating students from other countries.
She famously called her Hastings constituency “a little depressing”, while slandering her own constituents for their supposed degeneracy and moral failings, calling them:
people who are on benefits, who prefer to be on benefits by the seaside… moving down here to have easier access to friends and drugs and drink.
This typical Tory approach to compassion and understanding has extended to her authorisation of more powerful tasers for police on Britain’s streets, a policy that is expected to increase the deaths and injuries resulting from violence by the police. This is a policy that is inherently racist, according to Home Office statistics:
…figures released under freedom of information legislation in 2015 showed that black people were three times more likely than white people to be involved in Taser incidents… Black people were the target in 12% or 4,582 cases despite the fact they make up only 4% of the population.
The ludicrous proposition to bring more powerful Taser weapons onto the street will increase violence against black, asian and other POC. It is already used to recklessly, to inspire fear and submission amongst an intimidated populace.
Nowhere was this more clearly demonstrated than the recent electrocution in Bristol of the local police force’s own Race Relations Advisor for the “crime” of trying to get into his house. He is a 63 year old black man, prominent within the local community. He was profiled in a racist manner, needlessly stopped on the street and the police then aggressively forced their way onto his property before using their Taser on him. The video below shows the incident in full and the sheer brutality and barefaced brutality of the police when using this powerful weapon.
Without this stark evidence, who knows what the police (and by extension, Rudd’s Home Office) might have claimed about what really happened during the incident? These omissions are how the powerful justify even more powerful weapons on the streets.
Before Rudd became Home Secretary, Parliament voted to allow safe passage for unaccompanied child migrants who were already within European camps. 30,000 children are currently unaccompanied in Europe and yet only 200 have been accepted to the UK under the scheme.
However, in a particularly cruel rebuff of even theoretical assistance, Rudd announced that the scheme was to be dropped, meaning that there was no legal commitment to shelter the most vulnerable children throughout Europe. This is a totally shameless and callous bit of politics that will undoubtedly lead to many of these children being abused in the most heinous ways.
Additionally, Rudd’s Home Office runs an asylum system which would be consider a blight in any sane society. A hugely critical report into conditions in Home Office accommodation for asylum seekers discovered that the system was chronically underfunded to a dangerous level.
Characterised by children sicked by damaged housing, rat and insect infestations, almost non-stop moves with no notice, trafficked or abused women placed into accommodation with known abusers and traffickers, virtually no support for pregnant women or mothers… The list could go on forever.
Rudd’s compliance regime was labelled “unfit for purpose” by the assessing Home Affairs Committee:
“Home Office inspections are infrequent and the low number of penalties appear at odds with the persistent criticisms of the standard of asylum accommodation.”
The report spells out that the Home Office is inefficient, deliberately cruel and vicious in cutting funds for those most vulnerable. Even worse, the Home Office is aggressively ensuring that many people are unnecessarily refused asylum, with the British court system then overturning the Home Office decision. This is deliberately racist, as the report shows:
“around 30% of decisions to refuse asylum are overturned in the courts, and this figure is much higher for certain nationalities such as Eritreans and Iranians. This is an unacceptable rate of error on the part of the Home Office.”
The 30% of people stuck in this situation remain in limbo whilst going through this protracted process. That means more time in appalling conditions unfit for human habitation as their appeals are heard. This is completely unnecessary and targeted to discriminate against and ruin the lives of certain nationalities who have every reason and right to be allowed asylum.
Rudd also reneged on the Vote Leave campaign promise to devolve immigration controls to Scotland, enraging politicians north of the border, with many MSPs livid at her “arrogance and complacency” over the broken promise.
The Scandal of Orgreave
Rudd has shut down inquiries into notable incidents of police brutality, such as the Orgreave incident. The Home Secretary:
did not look at evidence held by South Yorkshire police on its operation at Orgreave during the 1984 miners strike and the subsequent collapsed prosecutions against 95 men before she turned down an inquiry into the events…
The Home Office has refused to say what documents Rudd and its officials considered, but South Yorkshire police said they had not sent the materials they held to the home secretary.
Campaigners said they felt let down and that Rudd had made a superficial decision “without bothering to look at the evidence”.
To not even bother to look at the evidence over this famous abuse of police power suggests a deeply blinkered approach to her work or a deliberately corrupt cover up for the police, as well as the Thatcher era politicians who commanded them.
Dennis Skinner, the famously combative and principled MP for Bolsover, demanded that Rudd be honest about her previous promises to victims to open an inquiry into the scandal:
Having demanded on more than one occasion that people shouldn’t “call me a racist!“, she shot herself in the (racist) foot by proposing a law that would force companies to publish the proportion of foreign staff on their books, in an attempt to “name and shame” businesses which employ foreigners.
Secretly lending her lobbyist brother a hand as Secretary of State
Rudd infamously failed to declare that she was the sister of the boss of the large financial PR and lobbying firm Finsbury during her time in charge of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
This was even more significant than a simple omission from official parliamentary records, however. Her brother, Roland Rudd, should have been declared as a potential conflict of interest. Instead, Rudd kept it quiet and sneakily pushed through something controversial:
[Rudd’s confirmation of permission was] particularly controversial as this week DECC granted planning permission to a controversial gas storage facility in Lancashire. The gas storage company, Halite Energy Group, is represented by Roland’s Finsbury.
Her brother and his company directly benefited from her lack of transparency and honesty.
And what’s more, it turns out that the gas storage scheme had been refused permission barely two years before by previous Energy Secretary Ed Davey who said that Halite (the company Roland Rudd represented) had “failed to demonstrate the suitability of the geology at the site.” and that there was “a clear gap” between the geological data and what Halite proposed.
So she lied about being connected to a lobbyist, pushed through a confirmation for a facility that would likely be an expensive failure and did so behind closed doors, with barely an acknowledgement of responsibility. This is shady stuff at best and naked nepotism at worst. As Tamasin Cave, director of the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency, put it:
“Did having the brother of the energy secretary on the payroll help Halite’s cause? We will probably never know, but secrecy inevitably leads to suspicion. By breaking the rules, Amber Rudd gives the impression she’d rather we didn’t know about her brother’s lobbying business, or his many clients in the energy business.”
Like father, like son
And the Guardian recently revealed that Amber Rudd’s father had allegedly been helping her run a business after being personally declared unfit, due to:
The home secretary’s father [being] the subject of an excoriating 1988 Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) report, which dealt with his management of a separate company that ceased trading in 1981. The report said he was “either unaware or chose to ignore” the duties of a company director and was unfit to direct “any company whether private or public”.
Rudd knew this, was fully aware that her father could not legally help in any capacity with the business she was running and yet:
Her business almost certainly profited from her father’s insider knowledge and “Old Boy’s network”. This was a clear violation of the law. When questioned about this by the Guardian, both Rudd and her father declined to comment, instead ultimately releasing the following farcical statement:
“It is a matter of public record that Amber had a career in business before working in politics.”
The “Snooper’s Charter”
Rudd has made clear her support for the invasive total acquisition of citizen’s private data through the Investigatory Powers Bill, otherwise known as the Snooper’s Charter. This sinister bill has huge ramifications for privacy in the UK, as Liberty put it:
“The Government’s new Snoopers’ Charter (also known as the Investigatory Powers Bill) will allow the bulk collection of all our personal information. Who we talk to; what we say; where we are; what we look at online – everything.”
Rudd’s enthusiastic support for this viciously invasive legislation was palpable. She declared that Britain had every right to be proud of the “world-leading legislation” that offered “unprecedented transparency and substantial privacy protection, a classic piece of Orwellian doublespeak.
She continues to support invasions of British citizens privacy and rights in her role as Home Secretary, a state of affairs that is unlikely to change, even as her own utter hypocrisy over transparency and privacy has been exposed throughout her time in office.
Amber Rudd is an untrustworthy, privileged right winger, with extremely harsh views towards those less fortunate than herself. She has engaged in deception on multiple recorded occasions in her career, as well as being directly linked with many business failures and brutal treatment of immigrants under her care.
She is actively seeking a UK where the average citizen has less privacy than ever, all whilst she secretly helps her family to a larger slice of the economic pie. She has covered up the Orgreave scandal to save fellow Tories and the police from embarrassment, whilst denying the victims justice. It appears that she believes that the rich and powerful should be allowed carte blanche to act in any way they feel, whilst those of us who are poorer must make do with being spied on, denied our legal rights and treated ever more shabbily.
As the Tories constantly savage welfare programs and impoverish the working and middle classes, ask yourself this: if you end up poor and vulnerable, would you really want Amber Rudd in charge of you?