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PM to be ambushed with demand for secret Windrush papers

May 1, 2018

Jeremy Corbyn and shadow home secretary Diane Abbott will use the same parliamentary procedure that was successful in forcing the Government to hand over Brexit papers.

Using an Opposition Day debate in the Commons on Wednesday, Labour will propose a humble address, which if passed will give the Commons the power to require ministers to release Government papers to Parliament.

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PM to be ambushed with demand for secret Windrush papersPM to be ambushed with demand for secret Windrush papers

Since losing its Commons majority last year, the Government has been ignoring Opposition Day motions and not voting against them, which has prompted Labour to use the humble address tactic to demand key documents.

Labour claims that unlike typical Opposition Day debates, the Windrush motion on Wednesday, if passed, will be binding on the Government.

The motion calls on the Government to provide Yvette Cooper’s Home Affairs Select Committee with all Windrush papers, correspondence and advice – including emails and text messages – from 11 May 2010 up to 1 May 2018.

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It will apply to papers between ministers, senior officials and special advisers relating to policy decisions with regard to “Windrush generation” cases, including deportations, detentions and refusal of re-entry and deportation and removal targets.

Labour sources say the aim is to find out exactly what ministers, including Theresa May, knew and the impact of their “hostile environment” policy on people’s lives.

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“With the resignation of Amber Rudd, Theresa May has lost her human shield and must now fully account for the policies she created and drove through from the Home Office into Downing Street,” said Ms Abbott.

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“The Windrush scandal has exposed something rotten at the heart of Government. We need to know what has led to this situation.

“If the Prime Minister is too weak to be accountable, Labour will have to force her to be accountable. We have had enough of Ministers trying to dodge questions and blame others, we need full disclosure of all the facts.”

The move came as victims of Windrush scandal received a personal apology from immigration minister Caroline Nokes as they visited Parliament on Tuesday afternoon.

She told a meeting: “I don’t expect people to make me welcome here this afternoon. I don’t expect people to give me an easy ride.

“To everybody that has been affected by this appalling scandal, I am sorry. It is important to me to be here this afternoon.

“Not to speak at length and certainly not to give a defence on behalf of the Government but to say sorry.

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“I will try and be here this afternoon for as long as I can to listen what people have to say but I just wish to put absolutely and formally on record how sorry I am that this has happened on my watch.”

Those affected by the Windrush scandal in attendance included Paulette Wilson, who returned to Parliament for the first time in 30 years since she worked there.

Sylvester Marshall, who used the name Albert Thompson as The Guardian reported on his case to protect himself from deportation, said: “I have been trying a long time to obtain my paperwork and each time I tried they kept saying I was illegal.

“I keep telling them I am not, I am British. They didn’t believe me.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who also attended the cross-party meeting, claimed the scandal was a “very important turning point in our national story”.

“For the first time in many years the debate about immigration in our society has changed,” he added.

“Stop treating people like they are second class citizens because they weren’t born here and they came to make their contribution here.”

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