HOW TIMES change. A year ago yesterday, Theresa May called a snap election – arguably the worst decision of her life and subequently surrendered her House of Commons majority.
Yet, while she appeared broken as she tried to piece the Government together and come to terms with a wave of terror attacks and the Grenfell Tower blaze, it’s Mrs May who is now prospering in adversity.
For the third time in recent weeks, she has turned a political crisis to her advantage. First, the Salisbury nerve agent attack. Then the Syria airstrikes. And now the treatment of the Windrush generation migrants after announcing to Parliament that the relevant landing cards were destroyed in 2009 by the Border Force and, crucially, before she became Home Secretary.
Though this assertion was still being disputed last night, she’s been helped by the Tory party becoming more disciplined, and a very weak Opposition front bench under Jeremy Corbyn as Labour’s leader is condemned for failing to confront the anti-Semitism in his party.
Yet, while this country wants a tough line to be taken against illegal immigrants, it also expects the Government to respect the generation of Commonwealth citizens who live here quite legitimately and who have contributed so much to the prosperity and vitality of this country.
Though Mrs May’s apologies were heartfelt, Ministers should have foreseen this controversy and taken steps to reassure those citizens who, through no fault of their own, may not possess the necessary documentation to satisfy the whims of officialdom.
The Home Office now needs to work overtime to win back lost trust before it begins the small matter of processing the residency rights of EU nationals as part of Brexit. As for Mrs May, her biggest threats appear, for now, to be Brexit – and complacency – rather than Mr Corbyn.