Javid urges ethnic minority voters not to abandon Tories over Windrush
Labour demands a full inquiry into whether Amber Rudd broke Ministerial Code over immigration removal target claims.
A senior Conservative minister has appealed to ethnic minority voters not to abandon the party in this week’s local elections over the Windrush scandal.
Communities Secretary Sajid Javid, whose parents emigrated from Pakistan in the 1960s, said his first reaction when he heard people were being wrongly threatened with deportation was that it could have been his family.
However in an interview with The Sunday Telegraph he said the Government was committed to “put things right” and he urged ethnic minority voters to look at the “bigger picture” when it came to Thursday’s vote.
I thought that could be my mum ... my dad ... my uncle ... it could be me. Sajid Javid
His intervention came as Labour called for a full inquiry into whether Home Secretary Amber Rudd had breached the Ministerial Code over government targets for removing illegal immigrants.
In a letter to Theresa May, shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said Ms Rudd’s explanations as to why she had told MPs there were no such targets when in fact there were “stretch credulity to the limit”.
In his interview, Mr Javid said it had felt “very personal” when it came to light that Commonwealth citizens who came to the UK legally in the post war decades – the so-called Windrush generation – were having their immigration status challenged.
“I thought that could be my mum … my dad … my uncle … it could be me,” he told the paper.
However he praised the way Mrs May and Ms Rudd had acted “decisively”, setting up a taskforce to ensure those people affected had their cases resolved quickly as possible and promising a compensation scheme.He urged ethnic minority voters not to let it affect the way they voted in the local council elections taking place in England.
“I do accept that there may be ethnic-minority voters (for whom) that will cause them concern,” he said.
But he added: “Please look at the response to Windrush, and the apology, in terms of trying to put things right. And, secondly, the bigger picture about how this Government has been committed to trying to deal with the injustices in society, some of which matter more to people from ethnic minorities.”
Labour however made clear that there would be no let up on the pressure on Ms Rudd who apologised on Friday in a series of late night tweets for not knowing the Home Office did use immigration targets, when she had previously said it did not.
She said she had not seen a memo, leaked to The Guardian, referring to the targets even though it was copied to her office.
Ms Abbott said Ms Rudd had “lost control of her department and lost the trust of the public” and should either resign or the Prime Minister should sack her.
“The Windrush scandal has exposed something rotten at the heart of Theresa May’s Government and serious questions remain over what the Home Secretary was told about targets for removals,” she said.
“The Prime Minister must launch a full inquiry to get to the bottom of who knew what and when, including whether Amber Rudd breached the Ministerial Code.
“The Home Secretary has clearly lost control of her department and lost the trust of the public and must either resign or be removed by the Prime Minister.”
Rather than hiding behind process or blaming civil servants yet again, the time has now surely come for the Home Secretary to resign. Sadiq Khan
Labour mayor of London Sadiq Khan also joined the calls for Ms Rudd to go say it “beggars belief” she did not know what was going on in her own department.
“What the Home Secretary and Prime Minister don’t appear to understand is that the Windrush scandal is the direct consequence of their policies and not just another example of the administrative chaos at the Home Office,” he wrote in an article for The Observer.
“It is about a generation who have lived all their lives here suddenly feeling they are not wanted here. Rather than hiding behind process or blaming civil servants yet again, the time has now surely come for the Home Secretary to resign.”