Amber Rudd should resign over 'lives ruined' by the Windrush deportation scandal, suggests Diane Abbott

‘This has caused so much misery and has ruined so many people’s lives – she needs to consider her position’

Rob Merrick
Deputy Political Editor
Wednesday 18 April 2018 08:38
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Diane Abbott on Amber Rudd: 'She needs to consider her position'

Amber Rudd should resign because of the “misery” exposed and the “lives ruined” by the Windrush scandal, Diane Abbott has suggested.

The home secretary should “consider her position”, rather than blame her officials for the mistreatment of people wrongly detained or threatened with deportation, her Labour shadow said.

The call came as Ms Abbott urged the Home Office to grant a “group exemption” to stay in the UK to members of the Windrush generation, who arrived decades ago.

Civil servants should exercise “common sense”, rather than force people to dig out further records to prove they have lived in the country ever since.

“I think she needs to consider her position. There are so many things that have gone wrong,” Ms Abbott said of Ms Rudd.

“She has information about who was deported and who was in detention, and she needs to make that information public.

“This has caused so much misery and has ruined so many people’s lives – and there is so much unity in the House of Commons on both sides of the chamber about this subject – she needs to consider her position.”

On Monday, Ms Rudd, when she apologised for the scandal, announced a taskforce to help the people affected prove, within two weeks, their right to remain in the UK.

Tens of thousands of people are believed to lack the documents they need, under the “hostile environment” for suspected illegal immigrants introduced by Theresa May as home secretary.

But Ms Abbott, speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, said: “I would believe that when I see it.”

She warned that members of the Windrush generation were being rejected despite having tax records dating back 30 years.

“There should be a group exemption for people who fall in this particular category – a group of Caribbean migrants who came here as children

“A lot of them have information, they just don’t have information that fits the Home Office’s arbitrary checklist. People should use their common sense.”

Meanwhile, the prime minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness, called for “compensation” for people affected, saying he knew of people who had travelled to Jamaica and were then unable to return to Britain.

“My interest is to ensure that the Windrush generation and the children of the Windrush generation get justice,” he told Good Morning Britain.

“We have to call it out for what it is, but we also have to ensure that those who have been deported, that they get access to a process that gets them back, that they get their citizenship, that they get their full rights and that they get access to the benefits that their citizenship will entitle them.”

The controversy is set to dominate prime minister’s questions in the Commons, when Labour will demand to know the extent of Ms May’s personal culpability.

It has emerged that vital documents that could have spared people from the threat of deportation – or being denied healthcare, or being stripped of their jobs – were destroyed by the Home Office in 2010, on her watch.

Thousands of landing cards recording dates of arrival in the UK were thrown away, despite staff warnings that it would be harder for Caribbean-born residents to establish their right to be in the UK.

The Home Office has claimed the destruction was to comply with data protection laws – and denied they would, in any case, have provided the “reliable evidence” needed.

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