Home Secretary to update MPs on Windrush scandal
Details are expected shortly of a compensation scheme for Commonwealth citizens whose right to be in the UK was challenged.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd is to update MPs on the Windrush generation scandal after it was confirmed the Government will pay compensation to long-standing UK residents whose migration status was challenged.
Prime Minister Theresa May announced the compensation plan on Friday, with aides saying the Home Office would provide details of eligibility for the scheme and how payments will be calculated.
Ms Rudd’s statement to the House of Commons comes as a Government whip acknowledged the treatment of some Commonwealth citizens who arrived in Britain between the late 1940s and early 1970s was “unacceptable”.
Mike Freer came under fire after claiming the problems faced by members of the Windrush generation was “nothing to do” with the immigration reforms implemented when Mrs May was home secretary.
In an email to a constituent, Mr Freer said the issues were “wholly separate and unconnected” and accused the opposition of “opportunism and hypocrisy” over the scandal.
Labour MP David Lammy, who has led the parliamentary campaign on the treatment of the Windrush generation, said Mr Freer’s comments were “very different indeed to the conciliatory lines of apology” about the scandal from the Prime Minister and Home Secretary Amber Rudd.
In the leaked email, Mr Freer explained why he would not sign a Commons motion calling for a review of the Home Office’s policy of creating a “hostile environment” for illegal immigrants.
The policy has been blamed for causing difficulties to Windrush generation migrants who are entitled to be in the UK but may not have the documents to prove it.
“The Windrush issue is absolutely nothing to do with immigration reforms introduced under the Cameron government,” he wrote.
“Then the policy was to make it harder for illegal immigrants to settle in the UK. The Windrush people were and are legal.
“Wholly separate and unconnected.”
In a later statement, the Finchley and Golders Green MP said: “As the Prime Minister and Home Secretary have said, the situation that some members of the Windrush generation have found themselves in is unacceptable, and that’s why it’s right that the government has apologised and is offering help to those affected.
“The point I was making in constituency correspondence was that some have deliberately sought to conflate this with measures to counter illegal immigration, which we know is a matter of public concern – and that the decision to destroy landing card documents was taken for the first time in 2009.”
Ms Rudd is facing further pressure after a weekend which included accusations of wilful ignorance and “racism” levelled at the Government.
A slew of case studies continues to emerge about members of the Windrush generation facing problems with access to healthcare and other state services or being denied re-entry to the UK after visits to the Caribbean.
The Guardian alleged the effects of the hostile environment policy were known to ministers years ago.
The newspaper said a 2016 letter from former Home Office minister James Brokenshire, showed he was aware an individual could be liable for deportation in part because the Government no longer stored documentary evidence he had a legal right to live in the UK.
Trevor Johnson and his brother Desmond, who arrived as boys from Jamaica in 1971, have had their lives wrecked by hostile environment policies, the newspaper said.
Trevor has faced threats of deportation, while his brother has not been allowed to visit Britain since he went back to Jamaica for his father’s funeral in 2001.
Mr Brokenshire denied having seen the letter, when asked about it on Sunday.
Labour continued to single out the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary for personal blame for the controversy, with shadow cabinet member Dawn Butler insisting it was the result of policies promoting “institutionalised racism”.
Party leader Jeremy Corbyn joined in calls for Ms Rudd to quit if she did not get an immediate grip on the situation.
Both the Home Secretary and Prime Minister have apologised over the handling of the affair, amid increased pressure to resolve the status of those involved.