MPs demand end to persecution of Windrush generation as government admits deportations took place

MPs demand end to persecution of Windrush generation as government admits deportations took place

140 MPs have written to Prime Minister Theresa May insisting that the Government stop treating British residents who came here from Commonwealth countries like illegal immigrants.

They called for “an immediate and effective response to the growing crisis facing British residents who arrived in Britain from the countries of the Commonwealth prior to 1973”.

Prime Minister Theresa May announced a u-turn as she agreed to discuss the treatment of the “Windrush generation” with leaders of 12 Caribbean countries, after previously apparently declining a request to meet them.

The Government is under enormous pressure to deal with the scandal after immigration Minister Caroline Nokes appeared to admit some Windrush immigrants had been wrongly deported.

She told ITV News: “There have been some horrendous situations which as a minister have appalled me.”



The “Empire Windrush” ship

Asked how many people had been wrongly deported, she said: “No, I don’t know the numbers. But what I’m determined to do going forward is say we will have no more of this.”

Conservative Cabinet Minister Sajid Javid, the Communities Secretary and MP for Bromsgrove, said on Twitter: “I’m deeply concerned to hear about difficulties some of the Windrush generation are facing with their immigration status.

“This should not happen to people who have been longstanding pillars of our community. The government is looking into this urgently.”

It follows concern that immigrants who arrived in the UK between the late 1940s and early 1970s, often as children, are being denied access to healthcare, fired from their jobs or threatened with deportation.

Their parents, many of them from Caribbean countries, were encouraged to travel to the UK to work and help rebuild the country after Word War Two, at a time when Commonwealth citizenship meant they had a legal right to do so.

The Government has launched a series of initiatives designed to make it harder for people who are in the UK illegally to rent property, find work or obtain NHS care. This should not affect the Windrush generation, who are here legally, but people who do not have documentation have found themselves targetted.



Sajid Javid MP
Sajid Javid MP

MPs signing the letter demanding the Government deal with the problem included Ian Austin (Lab Dudley North), Adrian Bailey (Lab West Bromwich West), Jim Cunningham (Lab Coventry South), Jack Dromey (Lab Erdington), Preet Gill (Lab Edgbaston), Roger Godsiff (Lab Hall Green), Shabana Mahmood (Lab Ladywood), Jess Phillips (Lab Yardley), Valerie Vaz (Lab Walsall South), Matt Western (Lab Warwick & Leamington) and John Spellar (Lab Warley).

Some immigrants came to the UK on a cruise liner called the Empire Windrush, and although it was only one of the ships carrying migrants to the UK it has come to symbolise the wave of Commonwealth immigration that followed the war, and particularly migration from the Caribbean.

Mrs May’s official spokesman said: “She deeply values the contribution made by these and all Commonwealth citizens who have made a life in the UK, and is making sure the Home Office is offering the correct solution for individual situations.

“She is aware that many people are unlikely to have documents that are over 40 years old and she is clear that no-one with the right to be here will be made to leave.”

The PM’s spokesman said the Home Office was expected to set out measures to support members of the Windrush generation in providing the documentation necessary to prove their right to live in the UK.

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