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Westminster live: Theresa May blames Labour for decision to destroy Windrush landing cards

Follow live updates from Westminster here

Benjamin Kentish
Political Correspondent
Wednesday 18 April 2018 09:08 BST
Theresa May says the decision to destroy Windrush landing cards was taken in 2009 under Labour

Theresa May has claimed the decision to destroy the landing cards of Windrush-generation was taken by a Labour government.

Responding to Jeremy Corbyn during a heated Prime Minister’s Questions exchange, the Prime Minister made her remarks amid mounting pressure on the government over its treatment of those who immigrated to Britain from the Caribbean in the mid-twentieth century.

Speaking in the Commons, Mr Corbyn said: “Yesterday we learned in 2010 the Home Office destroyed the landing cards for a generation of Commonwealth citizens, so have told people 'we can't find you in our system'.

“Did the Prime Minister, the then-Home Secretary, sign off that decision?”

But Ms May replied: “No, the decision to destroy the landing cards was taken in 2009 under a Labour government.”

Ms May and Amber Rudd, the home secretary, have already apologised for the scandal, but Diane Abbott, Labour's shadow home secretary, this morning called for Ms Rudd to resign.


Welcome to The Independent's Westminster liveblog as the Government faces renewed pressure over its handling of immigration cases relating to Windrush-generation immigrations.

Kristin Hugo18 April 2018 08:29

Diane Abbott has called on Amber Rudd to resign over the Windrush scandal.

Labour's shadow home secretary said it was "extraordinary" that the Home Secretary had appeared to blame her officials for the Home Office failings on the issue.

She told BBC Radio 4's Today programme:

"At the end of the day she's Home Secretary and it's her department, and there was a time where if something went wrong in your department, you as the minister took responsibility. The way Amber Rudd is attempting to avoid responsibility is very concerning."

Asked if Ms Rudd should resign, she said:

"I think she needs to consider her position. There are so many things that have gone wrong: this is not a new situation, it's been going on for some years...This has caused so much misery and has ruined so many people's lives. There is so much unity on the House of Common on both sides of the chamber on this subject. She needs to consider her position."

Asked how the issue could be resolved, Ms Abbott said: 

What the Home Office must do is allow officials ot use their discretion in a way they haven't allowed them to use it before...they have to use their discretion much more freely and ideally there should be a group exception for people who fall in this particular category - a group of Caribbean migrants who came here as children.

Kristin Hugo18 April 2018 08:47

Jamica's prime minister, Andrew Holness, has vowed to get "justice" for the children of the Windrush generation. 

He said he became aware of problems they are facing after hearing of a Jamaican man who had been blocked from receiving cancer treatment on the NHS.

Mr Holness told ITV's Good Morning Britain: 

"My interest is to ensure that the Windrush generation and the children of the Windrush generation get justice.

"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."

He added:

"My view is that if there is an acceptance that a wrong was done then there should be a process of restoration. And I'm certain that the very strong and robust civil society and democracy that you have will come up with a process of compensation."

Mr Holness said he was not aware of anyone who had been deported from Britain but did know of people who had voluntarily gone to Jamaica who were then unable to return."

Kristin Hugo18 April 2018 09:10
Kristin Hugo18 April 2018 09:23

Labour's antisemitism problem is also back in the news following yesterday's parliamentary debate on the issue, during which several of the party's Jewish MPs recounted horrific abuse they have received. 

It comes as an exclusive poll for The Independent reveals the public believes Labour is now only slightly less racist than UKIP...

Kristin Hugo18 April 2018 09:42

Kristin Hugo18 April 2018 09:59

The UK and Russia are set to clash later today over the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury.

Members of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons' Executive Council are due to meet in The Hague after Britain called a special session to discuss the OPCW's finding that a novichok nerve agent was used in the poisoning.

The conclusion echoed that of UK government scientists at the Porton Down laboratory, and was highlighted by ministers as further proof that Russia was behind the attack. Moscow has consistently denied involvement.

Kristin Hugo18 April 2018 10:17

There's been little news on Brexit recently but it's back on the agenda today ahead of a vote in the House of Lords this afternoon that is expected to see the government defeated over its plans to withdraw the EU from the customs union.

In Strasbourg, meanwhile, European Council president Donald Tusk has told MEPs the UK will crash out of the EU without a deal unless it finds a way to solve the Irish border issue.

Kristin Hugo18 April 2018 10:35

Jeremy Corbyn has paid tribute to MPs who spoke in yesterday's parliamentary debate on antisemitism

Kristin Hugo18 April 2018 10:53

BREAKING: Reports suggest media regulator Ofcom is launching seven new investigations into the impartiality of broadcaster RT.

Kristin Hugo18 April 2018 11:43

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