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Obscure procedure could force Theresa May to reveal what she knew when about the Windrush scandal


Theresa May could be forced to know what she knew when about the Windrush scandal thanks to an obscure Commons vote.

Labour will tomorrow try to force the government to hand over correspondence between ministers, officials and special advisers between May 2010 and 2018.

The party will will use a parliamentary procedure known as a “motion for a return” to ask the Queen to direct the documents’ release.

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said the scandal had “exposed something rotten at the heart of Government” and “full disclosure of the facts” was required.

It is the same process that was used to reveal impact studies on Brexit .

Ms Abbott said: “The Windrush scandal has exposed something rotten at the heart of Government. We need to know what has led to this situation.

The Windrush generation arrived from the Caribbean after the Second World War

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“If the Prime Minister is too weak to be accountable, Labour will have to force her to be accountable.

“We have had enough of ministers trying to dodge questions and blame others, we need full disclosure of all the facts.”

It comes after Home Secretary Amber Rudd resigned and Windrush victims received a personal apology from a Tory immigration minister this afternoon in Parliament.

Speaking at a cross-party meeting, Caroline Nokes acknowledged that the treatment of people with West Indian heritage was an “appalling scandal”.

A former worker in Parliament’s canteen and a man who is finally receiving cancer treatment after months of delays were among those who were in attendance to hear the apology.

Ms Nokes said: “I don’t expect people to make me welcome here this afternoon.

Paulette Wilson, who was affected by the scandal, used to work in Parliament

“I don’t expect people to give me an easy ride. To everybody that has been affected by this appalling scandal, I am sorry.”

Paulette Wilson, who was affected by the Windrush scandal, used to work in Parliament and returned for the first time in 30 years to receive Nokes’ apology for what she endured.

Ms Wilson said: “I want to thank everybody in this room for being on our side.

“Thank you everybody for being human and for not being racist. Thank you all very much.”

Sylvester Marshall, a Windrush immigrant who was denied NHS cancer treatment because of the Home Office’s “hostile environment”, was also at the event.

Mr Marshall, who was previously referred to under the assumed name Albert Thompson, revealed at the event that he had received his first session of radiotherapy this morning.

Sylvester Marshall, a Windrush immigrant who was denied NHS cancer treatment

The Government has apologised to the so-called Windrush generation, people who came to Britain from the Commonwealth between the late 1940s and 1970s.

Some have faced difficulties over their immigration status because they lacked papers to prove their right to be in the UK.

Ministers have now offered free citizenship for people who arrived from the Commonwealth in the decades following the Second World War and promised a compensation scheme to those affected.

Labour’s motion demands the disclosure of material relating to policy decisions in the Immigration Acts of 2014 and 2016 – when Mrs May was home secretary – regarding cases “including deportations, detentions and refusal of re-entry, the setting of deportation and removal targets and their effect on the Windrush generation”.

It would also require the release of material relating to action taken within Government following the concerns raised by Caribbean governments with the Foreign Office.

Who are the Windrush generation, and why are they under threat?

The ‘Windrush generation’ are British residents who arrived from Commonwealth countries before New Year’s Day 1973.

They are named after the Empire Windrush, the ship which brought some of the first Caribbean migrants to Britain in 1948.

Anyone who arrived in the UK from a Commonwealth country before 1973 has a legal right to stay, unless they left the UK for more than two years.

But they faced being threatened with deportation under new immigration rules despite living and working here for decades.

People were ordered to prove they have the right to be in the UK to rent property, work or access services and benefits.

The government failed to keep detailed records of Windrush arrivals, and landing cards were destroyed in 2010.

The Home Office set up a task force with the aim of sorting out cases within two weeks.

Windrush immigrants are also being granted fee-free citizenship and a compensation scheme, the rules of which have not been set yet.

Read more if you’re affected here or call a government hotline on 0300 123 2241 (option 1).



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