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Home Secretary makes statement on Windrush lessons learned review

19 March 2020

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The Home Secretary gives statement to the House of Commons on Windrush lessons learned review, published on 19 March.

"The Home Secretary commissioned a lessons learned review into the events leading up to Windrush. It was internal, with independent oversight provided by Wendy Williams." - Gov.uk

Priti Patel: "ongoing mission" to get things right

Priti Patel, Home Secretary, l told the House that "she dedicates" the statement to the Windrush generation.

"The Windrush lessons learned review gives voice to members of the Windrush generation who arrived legally to the UK to help rebuild post-war Britain", says the Home Secretary.

She told the House:

"These are the men and women who built their lives and their home in Britain.

"These are the people who have done so much for this country, from staffing the NHS to rebuilding Britain.  

"These are the very people who worked hard, paid their taxes and had every right to be in this country."

However they and their families were subject to "insensitive treatment".

She says the review makes clear that "some members of this [Windrush] generation suffered terrible injustices, spurred by institutional failings, spanning successive Governments overall several decades."

The publication is part of an "ongoing mission to put this right and to ensure events like this can never happen again."

The independent review "has suggested that the Home Office's institutional ignorance and thoughtlessness towards the issue of race and the history of the Windrush generation contributed to this."

However, the Home Secretary said "this is simply unacceptable" and "worrying for us all."

 She said:

"there is nothing that I can say today which will undo the pain, the suffering and the misery inflicted upon the Windrush generation.

What I can do is say, on behalf of this and successive governments, I am truly sorry." 

Diane Abbott: "The Windrush generation deserves better"

Shadow Home Secretary, Diane Abbott responded to the Home Secretary.

She said:

"We shouldn't allow the fact that the review has been published at a time of national crisis to mean that the review and its recommendations are buried.

"The Windrush generation deserves better than that."

Ms Abbott said the recommendations have 3 main elements:

  • that the Home Office must acknowledge the role it has done
  • it must open itself up to external scrutiny
  • must change its culture, "to recognise that migration and wider Home Office policy is about people" and "it should always be rooted in humanity.

Ms Abbott mentioned that the report noted that "some ministers and senior officials" did not "appear to accept the full extent of injustice done to the Windrush generation".

She concluded:

"We will return to these issues until the Windrush generation gets the justice it is entitled to."

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 Image: PA