Skip to main content

The Windrush scandal is a consequence of Theresa May's policies – a change at the Home Office doesn't alter that

ANYONE expecting Sajid Javid to behave less inhumanely than his immediate predecessors towards immigrants, refugees or even British citizens unable to lay their hands on half-century-old documents shouldn’t hold their breath.

Put aside hopes that his own migrant background, Pakistani bus driver father and seven family members living in two rooms over a shop will encourage empathy from the new Home Secretary.

Whatever his origins, he is a hard-boiled Tory banker who bought into the Thatcherite philosophy that poor people deserve what they get — nothing.

Having benefited from hapless Amber Rudd’s forced resignation — because of a combination of acute amnesia and inability to tell the truth — from the job of Theresa May’s human shield, Javid was asked if he will end net migration targets and the Home Office’s “hostile environment” for migrants.

He waffled on about fairness and “a policy that treats people with respect and decency.”

Did May really spend six years creating that environment in the Home Office, followed in like vein by her absent-minded acolyte Rudd, only to appoint Javid to knock it all into a cocked hat?

The Prime Minister, who still regards the Home Office as her fiefdom, will expect Javid to follow in her, and Rudd’s, footsteps and is unlikely to be disappointed.

A Home Office hostile environment will continue as long as May decides that it should, which is why she must answer in Parliament for the mess she has created.

Despite her performance at last week’s Prime Minister’s Questions, when she repeated ad nauseam that the children of the Windrush generation are British citizens and must enjoy equal rights with everyone else, her efforts to show that Labour was confusing these people with “illegal” immigrants were disingenuous.

She didn’t acknowledge — nor has she since — that the only confusion created was her responsibility.

Her Immigration Act 2014 had retrospectively placed thousands of Windrush children in jeopardy and, when this was pointed out to her then and subsequently, she did nothing.

This caused British citizens to be sacked from their jobs, denied healthcare, prevented from travel and threatened with deportation to countries where they were born but, in many cases, had never since visited.

How many of these citizens were targeted because of removal targets set during May’s tenure at the Home Office that Rudd later claimed to be unaware of and over which she “inadvertently” misled Parliament?

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott is right to insist that May answers to MPs about her own role in creating the removal targets and the hostile environment.

She, Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell can ask these questions with a clear conscience because they opposed the draconian restrictions imposed by both Tories and Labour on immigrant rights.

Abbott’s reference to Labour being under “new management” and taking “human rights and fair rules and reasonable management of migration very seriously” chimes with present public opinion.

When May ignored advice about the consequences of the Immigration Act, she did so because she thought she could get away with it and would gain her party extra votes by adopting a “tough” persona by chucking black people out of Britain.

The public response to the injustices perpetrated against the Windrush children shows that most British people are less racist than May, Rudd and her Cabinet colleagues.

Tory frontbenchers are currently bemoaning the tragedy of the “honourable” Rudd for having to walk the plank, but their sympathy would be far better extended to the victims of the heartless immigration policies championed by her and May and backed by their MPs.


We're a reader-owned co-operative, which means you can become part of the paper too by buying shares in the People’s Press Printing Society.

Become a supporter

Fighting fund

You've Raised:£ 11,964
We need:£ 6,036
11 Days remaining
Donate today