Theresa May steps down as Prime Minister on June 7. As the nation wonders what comes next, Professor of Law and Government and Dean of Durham Law School Thom Brooks looks back at her legacy.

SINCE serving as David Cameron’s Home Secretary, Prime Minister Theresa May has supported the Conservative Party’s policy of reducing net migration to the tens of thousands.

Her bungled handling of immigration is a useful analogy for better understanding her poorly managed handling of Brexit– and how it has all gone badly wrong.

May’s announcement that she will step down conveniently came at the same time the latest net migration statistics were revealed.

Originally earmarked for release the previous day, the new figures show little has changed with net migration at over two and a half times the Government’s target.

A good day for her Government to bury unwanted news.

May’s staunchly ideological commitment to cutting immigration has overseen the largest net migration in recent UK history, far outstripping any time under Labour.

The more she promised to reduce numbers, the less this target was in sight.

And why?

A belief that those concerned about migration halted would be satisfied with tens of thousands instead of none. This was never true, never going to happen under the immigration system she was overseeing and not addressing the main issues driving concerns about immigration.

People rightly worry about longer A&E queues but fewer migrants don’t make that better– as migrants are most likely to be in A&E as a doctor or nurse than a patient.

But May never let such facts get in the way of an ideological commitment to deliver on promises that would not address the main concerns.

This was not due to a lack of trying.

May introduced a hostile environment that brought in tighter checks on opening bank accounts or renting private accommodation. These checks led to the Windrush scandal with lawful residents and citizens threatening with deportation because they did not have the correct identity papers. Not only did these new checks ensnare the wrong individuals, these measures have not actually uncovered a single person previously unknown to the Home Office. Not one. Tough sounding rhetoric, but lacking substance and driven more by partisan politics than practical reality.

May's migration clampdown extended to students which she refused to remove from her net migration target. There had long been concerns about making sure foreign students had sufficient English ability. Sure enough, some problems were certainly found. Yet again May's Home Office's overreacted leading to legitimate students being removed from their courses and their visas through no fault of their own in a scandal that is only now coming to light.

All these wrongs from Windrush to students and beyond were as heart breaking as they are predictable.

Theresa May’s immigration problems– promising numbers will go down while driving them up, sticking with ineffective policies that were often counterproductive– are all set against a politician that rarely compromised and put partisanship above the public good. Facts were never allowed to get in the way of an ideological commitment.

All of these vices resurface with a vengeance when we consider Brexit.

Promising to deliver a Brexit that her critics seek, is in name only. Or making the recommendation to Brussels that it should agree an Irish backstop to keep an open border in Northern Ireland that becomes her Brexit deal's biggest stumbling block.

At each stage, May’s key contribution was her biggest undoing.

This is especially true with her insistence that No Deal is better than a Bad Deal.

Whatever the merits of keeping No Deal as an option, it is difficult to imagine a more damaging outcome of Brexit than No Deal which is precisely why so many MPs who support Leaving the EU have blocked the damage No Deal would do to their constituencies. May was happy to keep No Deal an option that she refused to utilise– and a phrase that haunted her since she first said it.

Planning each part of her Brexit deal without any discussion with senior Cabinet ministers and disrupting negotiations at a crucial early stage so she could call a snap election, seeking to increase her majority which spectacularly backfired.

May will surely be most remembered for her failing to deliver Brexit.

But her failure to deliver in other key responsibilities like immigration leading to the Windrush scandal and more are a part of the same narrative that will stain what should have been a distinguished career in politics, as Britain's second woman Prime Minister.