With Operation Save Amber finally derailed after two weeks of fire-fighting the former home secretary’s failing memory – by the weekend she couldn’t even remember what targets she was meant to have forgotten – the Tory party’s attention turned to Operation Save Face. Aka Operation Save Theresa. With Amber Rudd out of a job, the prime minister has been left with no one else to take the blame for her hostile environment policy that caused the Windrush scandal.
First out of the blocks on Radio 4’s Today programme was the former cabinet minister Damian Green, a zen master of never saying anything interesting. It took a while for Green to even admit that Rudd had been forced to resign and even then he restricted himself to a laconic: “She had to go.” Which made one wonder why he and so many other Conservatives had spent the previous week saying she had to stay.
Next on the airwaves was Chris Grayling, which showed how much of a panic the government was in. The transport secretary is just about the only minister who makes David Davis look quick-witted and is the last person who should be sent out in a crisis.
Sure enough, Grayling self-destructed in 10 seconds. After demonstrating he had no grasp of the situation by insisting a fourth cabinet resignation within six months was merely “unwanted noise”, he went on to say that May wouldn’t have known about the targets letter Rudd had sent her in 2017. After all, if the home secretary couldn’t remember writing the letter, then why on earth should the prime minister be expected to recall having read it? Over in Downing Street, May let out a shriek as Grayling inadvertently tried to get her the sack as well.
The transport secretary pressed on. What it came down to was this: no one was really to blame for the Windrush debacle and Rudd was every bit as…