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Westminster today - as it happened: Theresa May faces fresh questions over destruction of Windrush landing cards

All the latest updates from Westminster, as they happened

Lizzy Buchan
Political Correspondent
Thursday 19 April 2018 15:30
Former civil service chief Lord Kerslake says 'hostile environment' policy on illegal immigration 'almost reminiscent of Nazi Germany'

Theresa May has faced fresh questions over the destruction of thousands of landing cards amid the escalating row over the treatment of the Windrush generation.

Documents recording the arrival of children of Caribbean migrants were destroyed by the Home Office in 2010 - when Ms May was home secretary - but she tried to blame the previous Labour administration by saying the decision was taken in 2009.

Downing Street later said it was an "operational" decision taken by officials rather than ministers, but Lord Kerslake, a former head of the civil service, said it was "pretty unlikely" that the Home Office would destroy records.

The row began when it emerged many of the Windrush generation had been denied medical care, lost their jobs or threatened with deportation to Caribbean countries they left as children.

See here for live updates


Welcome to The Independent's politics liveblog, where we will be bringing you the latest updates throughout the day.

Lizzy Buchan19 April 2018 08:29

Theresa May has claimed the decision to destroy landing cards belonging to the Windrush generation was taken by the previous Labour government.

Story here:​

Lizzy Buchan19 April 2018 08:46
Lizzy Buchan19 April 2018 09:00

Theresa May’s “hostile environment” policy brought against illegal immigrants when she was in charge of the Home Office was seen as “almost reminiscent of Nazi Germany” by some in government, the former civil service chief has claimed. 

The remarks from Lord Kerslake, who was in charge of the civil service between 2012 and 2014, come amid mounting pressure on Downing Street over the Windrush scandal.

Full story here:

Lizzy Buchan19 April 2018 09:12

Michael Gove has rejected comparisons of the Government's "hostile environment" policy towards illegal immigrants to Nazi Germany.

The former head of the Civil Service, Lord Kerslake, has said such concerns were voiced within government when the policy was introduced by Theresa May as home secretary in 2014.

The environment secretary told Today: "I have never heard anyone make that comparison before Lord Kerslake did.

"It is not for me to criticise a distinguished former public servant like Lord Kerslake, but I respectfully disagree."

He also claimed Britain was the "most immigration friendly country in the EU".

Mr Gove, who was one of the leading Leave campaigners in the EU referendum, denied the Brexit vote reflected public hostility towards immigration.

"The characterisation of it as somehow having led to worse communal relations or a more hostile attitude to migration - that just isn't borne out by the facts," he said.

Lizzy Buchan19 April 2018 09:17

Lizzy Buchan19 April 2018 09:23

Jeremy Corbyn is due to make a big housing speech shortly, setting out plans for a million "genuinely affordable" homes in England over 10 years.

Mr Corbyn will vow to ensure ordinary people can afford the new properties by tearing up rules which allow homes worth up to £450,000 to be classed affordable.

Meanwhile, Labour would create a new English Land Sovereign Trust - backed by compulsory purchase powers - to make land available for building more cheaply.

In response to the Grenfell Tower tragedy, Labour would introduce new decent homes targets for social landlords, including fire safety for the first time. And a new independent national organisation and a Commissioner would be created to represent the views of tenants.

"When housing has become a site of speculation for a wealthy few, leaving the many unable to access a decent, secure home, something has gone seriously wrong," the Labour leader will say.

Lizzy Buchan19 April 2018 09:33

Lizzy Buchan19 April 2018 09:41

In other big news today, peers have inflicted an embarrassing defeat on the government after voting in favour of remaining in a customs union with the EU after Brexit.

In a challenge to Theresa May’s flagship Brexit bill, members of the Lords backed several cross-party amendments supporting continued membership of a customs union with the bloc, and protecting people’s rights after Brexit.

Story here:

Lizzy Buchan19 April 2018 09:49

A spectacle of pomp and pageantry is being staged to welcome the dignitaries at Buckingham Palace ahead of the Queen's opening of the Commonwealth heads of government meeting (CHOGM).

A guard of honour and flag bearers displaying the flags of the Commonwealth's 53 member states greeted heads of state and senior foreign ministers, as motorcades began to drive into the palace forecourt.

More than 100 officers and soldiers from the Coldstream Guards are in the honour guard, wearing their famous scarlet tunics and bearskins, alongside the Band and Corps of Drums of the Coldstream Guards.

During the opening ceremony Theresa May will address the gathered delegates, as will the Queen and Prince of Wales, and she is expected to say about the Queen: "This week you have opened your homes to us - here in London and in Windsor. Over many years you have been the Commonwealth's most steadfast and fervent champion.

"You have been true to the deepest values of the Commonwealth - that the voice of the smallest member country is worth precisely as much as that of the largest; that the wealthiest and the most vulnerable stand shoulder to shoulder.

"You have seen us through some of our most serious challenges. And we commit to sustaining this Commonwealth, which you have so carefully nurtured."

Lizzy Buchan19 April 2018 10:06

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