The former communities secretary, who was promoted following Amber Rudd’s resignation, disowned the phrase “hostile environment” in relation to Government promises to deal with illegal immigration.
The phrase was notably used by Theresa May during her six-year spell in charge of the Home Office, with the policy it encapsulated blamed for current immigration problems suffered by Windrush generation citizens.
Mr Javid also declared an intent to put his “own stamp” on the Home Office as he faced MPs on Monday, just hours after accepting the role of Home Secretary.
Answering an urgent question on the Government’s response to the Windrush scandal, Mr Javid promised those affected he will “do whatever it takes to put it right”.
Highlighting his status as a second-generation migrant, the Home Secretary described how the row has “affected me greatly”, adding: “I thought that that could be my mum, my brother, my uncle or even me.”
Mr Javid also delivered a fiery riposte to shadow home secretary Diane Abbott, who asked if he was aware of the strength of feeling over the Windrush scandal, telling the Labour frontbencher that she “doesn’t have a monopoly” on anger.
Since being set up on 17 April in response to the crisis, a Home Office taskforce has received 6,000 calls of which roughly 2,500 are estimated to be Windrush cases, Mr Javid told MPs.
He added more than 500 appointments have been scheduled and more than 100 cases have been successfully resolved.
Later, in response to a question from Labour backbencher Stephen Doughty, Mr Javid said he was “not currently aware of any cases of wrongful deportation”.
And he told the House of Commons he is “not going to use” the phrase “hostile” during his time at the Home Office.
He said: “It’s a compliant environment, I don’t like the phrase ‘hostile’.
“So, the terminology, I think, is incorrect and I think it is a phrase that is unhelpful and it doesn’t represent our values as a country to use that phrase.
“It’s a process that was begun under previous governments, it’s continued, but it’s right that we make a big distinction between those that are here legally and those that are illegal.”
Former Conservative minister Nick Boles, who has become a prominent critic of Mrs May’s Government, urged Mr Javid to “put his own stamp” on a post-Brexit immigration policy, adding: “We want to see the policy of the Home Secretary, one of the four great offices of state, and if that means retiring some legacy policies then so be it.”
In response, the Home Secretary told Mr Boles he had “almost certainly put my own stamp” on every department in which he has worked in Parliament.
The fallout of the Windrush scandal saw Ms Rudd resign after she admitted “inadvertently misleading” Parliament over targets for removing illegal immigrants.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told the Prime Minister on Monday she now has “questions to answer” about her time in the Home Office following the resignation of her “human shield” Ms Rudd.
A Sky Data poll on Monday revealed voters are much more inclined to blame Mrs May for the Windrush scandal than her successor at the Home Office, Ms Rudd.
But, during a local election campaign visit to Greater Manchester on Monday, the Prime Minister defended her policies as Home Secretary.
She said: “When I was home secretary, yes, there were targets in terms of removing people from the country who were here illegally.
“This is important. If you talk to members of the public they want to ensure that we are dealing with people who are here illegally.”
Both @CatherineWest1 & I have just raised this directly with Immigration Minister in Parliament & asked for urgent clarification. In a system with no independent appeals or checks to stop unfair removals, it would be extremely troubling if bonuses were paid for removal targets. https://t.co/loSzUi05VE
— Yvette Cooper (@YvetteCooperMP) April 30, 2018
Later, Labour’s Yvette Cooper – the chair of the House of Commons’ Home Affairs Committee whose questioning played a key role in Ms Rudd’s downfall – revealed she is seeking “urgent clarification” from ministers after Sky News revealed the head of the agency responsible for carrying out deportations against internal Home Office targets received a four-figure bonus while Mrs May was home secretary.
She said: “In a system with no independent appeals or checks to stop unfair removals, it would be extremely troubling if bonuses were paid for removal targets.”
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Rudd-less May faces perilous week
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Fellow Labour MP David Lammy posted on Twitter: “Financial bonuses for staff responsible for increasing deportations when the current Prime Minister was the home secretary.
“What has our country become? We have created a system where anybody who looks ‘different’ is treated like a criminal, and diversity is a target for removal.”