SHE had to go. Amber Rudd’s resignation over what she herself described as “the Windrush scandal” became inevitable as the evidence mounted remorselessly against her. And now the pundits are asking whether this sorry story could trigger the prospects for an early general election, possibly in the autumn. Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has spoken about the odour of a decomposing Government.

This event has highlighted the inability of the Government to handle an internal problem – the way they did tackle it was shambolic, to say the least.

But worse than that, the unwelcome spotlight is now trained on Theresa May herself. Opposition MPs are now demanding she makes a Commons statement on her role in this whole affair when she was Home Secretary. The departure of Rudd, the Prime Minister’s protection shield, has made Mrs May more vulnerable than ever.

The Government’s campaign to protect Rudd before she resigned was laughably ridiculous. Fellow ministers who were wheeled out one by one to say what a brilliant minister Rudd was sounded insincere and without conviction. Everyone could see through that. And the statement from Downing Street that the Prime Minister had full confidence in her now looks like a blatant untruth.

Rudd’s claim that she was unaware of targets set for the deportation of illegal immigrants merely served to demonstrate that she had lost control of the Home Office and did not know what went on – inexcusable. Meanwhile, the Prime Minister has to pick up the fall-out and find a replacement for Rudd (a Remainer), a tricky task if she is to maintain a Cabinet balance between Remainers and Brexiteers. The Government is now beginning to look in serious disarray.

Meanwhile, Labour smell blood. Having helped to depose of Rudd, they are now setting their sights on the prize scalp of all: The Prime Minister herself. In short, her Government is in dire trouble.

MEANWHILE, the exposure of the Windrush affair could scarcely have come at a worse moment for the Government on the cusp of this week’s local government elections. The Tories’ prospects at these elections were bleak enough anyway, and these disclosures have made a bad situation that much worse.

Many ethnic minority voters, who might have otherwise been expected to vote Conservative on Thursday, will certainly, at the very least, think twice before doing so – or more likely not vote at all for them.

After all, a picture has been painted that the Home Office is going is own merry way leaving departmental ministers with virtually no control over it.

The Tories do look as though they are in a bad way, with reports of Cabinet disunity and frustration. These included claims of a spat between the Prime Minister and her Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson – a claim which, as you might expect, Downing Street has fiercely denied. But there is a cynical saying in Fleet Street that you should never believe a story until it has been officially denied. So we know where we stand with that.

But my prediction is that there will be no Tory victory parades after Thursday’s poll.