Independent school students question ex-home secretary Amber Rudd

Former home secretary Amber Rudd MP faced questions from Benenden pupils at a special event on Friday night

The ex Home Secretary spoke frankly at Benenden about her experiencesMs Rudd, the MP for Hastings and Rye who resigned her cabinet position last month over her department’s response to the Windrush scandal, answered questions on a range of subjects at an event called Benenden in Conversation with Amber Rudd.

In a packed Benenden School theatre, Ms Rudd spoke about issues including Jeremy Corbyn, the 2017 general election, Brexit, the role of women in politics and the Home Office’s handling of the Windrush generation.

Asked by a Sixth Form pupil if, in hindsight, she would have acted differently over Windrush, she said: “Yes and that’s why I resigned.

“I thought the fact that we hadn’t seen at the Home Office there was a cohort of people who should have been given much more assistance to get their citizenship papers in order – and instead were treated as individuals and weren’t recognised as a group that needed particular help – was a mistake, and I think we should have seen that. I think it had been going on for quite a long time.”

She added: “It was quite rightly referred to as a national scandal and the Home Office should have picked up on it much earlier.”

Asked whether she expected to return to the Cabinet, Ms Rudd said: “I hope that I might be considered in the future but you know what, it’s summer, I’ve got a little time on my hands, that’s no bad thing: I get to know my friends and family a little bit.”

Headmistress Samantha Price said: “A lot of what Amber Rudd spoke about really resonated with the pupils. She answered their questions with candour and spoke strongly about issues they talk about, such as resilience, career decisions, young people in politics and the role of women in the workplace.

“It was a pleasure to welcome her to Benenden and the pupils gained an enormous amount from hearing from a speaker with such a high public profile.”

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Mrs Rudd said of the evening: “It was a delight to have the opportunity to listen to some wonderful questions and comments and to hear their views and to give them some of my own.”

Pupils have enjoyed a week of prominent speakers at Benenden: Ms Rudd’s appearance came just seven days after a lecture from Dr Ben Broadbent, Deputy Governor for the Bank of England.

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