Labour MP David Lammy poured scorn on the Conservative Party in the House of Commons today, describing their “small U-turn” on the Windrush generation as a “day of national shame”.
Speaking after Amber Rudd announced that a new task force would be set up to help Commonwealth immigrants facing deportation he said the government should “guarantee the status of all the Windrush children caught up in this crisis”.
The Tottenham MP said it was a “national shame” that it had taken so long for the government to speak on the issue, calling it “inhumane and cruel” for those who waited for them to act.
Thousands of people arrived in the UK as children in the first wave of Commonwealth immigration 70 years ago.
They are known as the Windrush generation – a reference to the ship, the Empire Windrush, which brought workers from the West Indies to Britain in 1948.
Under the 1971 Immigration Act, all Commonwealth citizens already living in the UK were given indefinite leave to remain – but the right to free movement between Commonwealth nations was ended from that date onwards.
However, the Home Office did not keep a record of those granted leave to remain or issue any paperwork confirming it, meaning it is difficult for the individuals to now prove they are in the UK legally.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted it was “disgraceful” that the rights of the Windrush generation had been brought into question, calling on Mrs May to “answer serious questions about how this had happened on her watch”.
‘Can she tell the house how many have been detained as prisoners in their own country, can she tell the hse how many have been denied health under the NHS, how many denied pensions, how many have lost their jobs. This is a day of national shame.’ @DavidLammy @IanDunt @StevePeers pic.twitter.com/qeoMSUkqgs
— Martin Cooper (@mpc_1968) April 16, 2018