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Windrush caseload hits 3,000 and ‘increasing daily’

New Home Secretary Sajid Javid told MPs on Wednesday that a taskforce has received more than 7,000 calls, of which 3,000 have been identified as potential Windrush cases.

These numbers are “increasing by the day”, with 700 appointments scheduled and more than 100 people having been handed the immigration documents they need, Mr Javid said.

The latest numbers were revealed as Mr Javid provided more detail of the Prime Minister’s promise of “transparency” over immigration problems suffered by British citizens of Commonwealth origins.

Windrush caseload hits 3,000 and ‘increasing daily’
Windrush caseload hits 3,000 and ‘increasing daily’

However, the Government is set to oppose a Labour attempt to force the publication of correspondence between ministers, officials and advisers over eight years.

West Indian residents arrived in Britain after the Second World War
Image:There are 3,000 potential Windrush cases

Tory MPs are reportedly on a three-line whip to vote against an Opposition motion that would prompt the disclosure of internal documents.

Mr Javid accused Labour of a “massive, open-ended fishing expedition” that would be “disproportionate and distracting” from efforts to solve the Windrush row.

“It would take help and capacity away from where it’s needed by re-assigning more than 100 officials,” he said.

“That would create significant cost for taxpayers.”

Mr Javid instead sought to reassure MPs of the Government’s response to the scandal by pledging to write to the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee each month to “report on progress”.

Theresa May
Image:Theresa May promised a review would have ‘full access’ to Home Office information

The Home Secretary said he will also be writing each month “on the latest position on detentions, removals and deportations” and will “bring independent oversight and challenge to a ‘lessons learned’ review already underway in my department”.

“This review will seek to draw out how members of the Windrush generation came to be entangled in measures designed for illegal immigrants,” Mr Javid added.

“Why that was not spotted sooner? And whether the right corrective measures are now in place?”

The review will aim to complete its work before Parliament breaks for its summer recess in July, Mr Javid told MPs.

During Prime Minister’s Question’s earlier, Theresa May promised the review would have “full access to all relevant information in the Home Office”.

Prime Minister Theresa May rejects suggestion Amber Rudd resigned over May's own policy decisions

1:42

Video:‘Deportation targets existed for years’

Amid scrutiny of the Government’s immigration policies as a result of the Windrush scandal – along with a focus on Theresa May’s “hostile environment” for illegal immigrants while she was home secretary – there have been claims Home Office officials were paid bonuses for hitting deportation targets.

Mr Javid did not deny the reports as he sidestepped questions on the issue in the House of Commons.

He told MPs: “I haven’t personally had time to look into that particular issue, about who may or may not have received bonuses.

“If there are senior civil servants that have received any bonuses, it is a matter for officials, it is not a matter for ministers.”

As MPs debated Labour’s attempt to use a parliamentary procedure to force the disclosure of internal documents from 2010 and this year, the exchanges turned heated with Mr Javid addressing racist abuse of him since his appointment as Home Secretary.

The Pledge

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Video:The Pledge: Does the Windrush scandal pose trouble for Brexit?

Mr Javid was asked by Tory MP Simon Hoare if he felt motivated or depressed by “vile left-wing trolls” calling him a “coconut” and an “Uncle Tom”, derogatory terms used to describe non-whites viewed to be subservient to white people.

In response, the Home Secretary claimed Mr Hoare had reminded him “some of the hard left” have joined Labour under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership and “how that anti-Semitism has been tolerated”.

He added: “I was talking about members of the hard left that have created a hostile environment in their own party and people that welcome my appointment by calling me a ‘coconut’ and an ‘Uncle Tom’.”

He challenged Mr Corbyn, sitting on the Labour front bench, to denounce abuse of him at the despatch box but the Labour leader did not move.

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott then replied: “I’ve been online condemning the racist abuse against him. I know what racist abuse is.

“So everyone on this side of the House without exception condemns the names he has been called.”

Labour’s David Lammy was applauded by MPs at the end of his contribution, in which he said: “The hostile environment is about raising questions about the status of anybody who looks like they could be an immigrant.

“It’s about treating anybody who looks like they could be an immigrant as if they are a criminal.”

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