A Conservative minster called Rudd’s resignation over Windrush ‘unwanted noise’ live on the BBC

Chris Grayling spoke on a BBC show about the Windrush scandal
Steve Topple

During an interview on BBC Radio 4‘s Today programme, a senior Conservative minister called Amber Rudd’s resignation over the Windrush scandal “unwanted noise” for the government. It was not just Rudd’s departure over Windrush he was referring to, though, but scandals involving other cabinet resignations too.

Sorry. What did you just say?

On Monday 30 April, transport secretary Chris Grayling was being interview on Today by Nick Robinson. The host put it to Grayling that:

Can I ask you… what this tells us about the state of the government? Since last year, Theresa May has lost her majority, she has lost her deputy, she has lost her defence secretary, she has lost her home secretary, she has lost her international development secretary, isn’t it a reality that she’s losing her grip on power?

Ouch.

But Grayling’s response was that resignations due to the scandals were “unwanted noise”:

This is a government that is delivering things. We’ve had some unwanted noise in the last few months, some unwanted loss of parliamentary colleagues, of cabinet colleagues. None of that… are things we would have wanted to happen.

Windrush. Sexual harassment. Lobbying. 

So, it seems that Grayling thinks the following scandals are just “unwanted noise”:

  • Rudd resigned on Sunday 29 April over the Windrush scandal.
  • Former first secretary of state Damian Green quit in December. He resigned after he misled parliament and the public over claims that porn was found on his Westminster computer.
  • Former international development secretary Priti Patel quit in November 2017. This was after it emerged that she failed to declare meetings with the Israeli government, business people, and a “senior lobbyist”.
  • Michael Fallon, former defence secretary, also jumped ship last year. He quit after sexual harassment allegations were made against him. His resignation came during a growing scandal over sexual harassment at Westminster.

It could happen to anyone

Grayling tried to shrug off the resignations and scandals as things that “happen to all governments”. He also implied that the four resignations were ‘unfortunate’, but that all governments have “ups and downs”.

So apparently, Grayling thinks scandals involving institutional racism, sexual harassment and unauthorised lobbying are ‘unfortunate’ “unwanted noise” that “happen to all governments”. It is unclear what it would take for Grayling to consider his government nefarious, out-of-control, pathological, and scandal-riddled.

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