Windrush scandal directly linked to Conservative immigration policy, says Sadiq Khan

The London Mayor blamed the 'hostile environment' policy pursued by Theresa May for the problem

Joe Watts
Political Editor
Thursday 19 April 2018 10:46
Windrush: 1948 Pathé report tells of Jamaican citizens arriving in the UK 'citizens of the British Empire with good intent'

Sadiq Khan has said that the Windrush scandal must act as a “wake up call” over what he argues is the increasingly hostile way that the UK government has been treating immigrants.

Writing exclusively for The Independent, the Mayor of London accused Theresa May’s administration of trying to frame the fiasco as a one off, when he claims it is a result of a deliberate push to treat all immigrants with suspicion.

Mr Khan spoke out after the Windrush scandal, which has seen UK citizens targeted for deportation and refused medical treatment, escalated as a mother blamed her son’s death on his struggle to convince the authorities he is British.

The death of Dexter Bristol heaped pressure on the home secretary, Amber Rudd, to resign, but she is said to be furious at having to deal with the fallout of policies implemented when Theresa May was at the Home Office.

In his article Mr Khan wrote: “It’s right that the Prime Minister has apologised, but the impression has been created that this disgraceful episode is an anomaly – which simply isn’t true.

“Instead it is the product of deliberate and consistent behaviour from a party that is increasingly willing to treat all immigrants and refugees with suspicion and hostility, and to fuel division within our communities for their own political gain.”

The mayor cited the government’s overall immigration policy, widely criticised 2016 mayoral campaign, a recent campaign leaflet in Havering and a decision to withdraw the post-study work visa for students as examples of the Conservative party’s “divisive and negative” approach towards immigrants.

Dexter Bristol: Member of the Windrush generation died following depression as he tried to prove his British citizenship, claims mother

He went on: “The truth is the Tories have essentially swallowed whole the UKIP position and approach on immigration.

“And the latest Windrush scandal, with people being wrongly targeted for deportation, is just symptomatic of the hostile environment – driven both through policy and rhetoric – which has been deliberately created by this Tory government since 2010.”

Mr Khan added: “Enough is enough. The outcry over the Windrush scandal should be a wake-up call – not only to the Tories that they have gone too far in creating such a hostile environment for immigrants, but that we all have a responsibility to help re-shape, improve and humanise the debate around immigration.”

Mr Bristol emigrated to the UK from Grenada in 1968 when he was eight-years-old, but he was sacked from his cleaning job last year and later denied benefits because he was unable to provide documents proving his right to live in the UK.

His mother last night said the stress caused by his immigration problems was responsible for his death.

On Wednesday, the Home Office revealed 113 people have called an official hotline with concerns about their migration status.

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