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Windrush: Labour demand PM launch inquiry

April 28, 2018

In a letter to Theresa May, obtained by the Sunday Times, shadow home secretary Diane Abbott accused Ms Rudd of breaching the ministerial code, and called on the Cabinet Office officials to launch a wide-ranging investigation into “who knew what and when about targets for removals”.

It comes as 200 MPs signed a separate letter sent to the Prime Minister by Labour backbencher David Lammy, which demands the Government sets out greater detail on its handling of the Windrush scandal.

On Saturday, Cabinet colleagues came to Ms Rudd’s defence, with Justice Secretary David Gauke telling Sky News he was confident she had not intended to mislead anyone over whether she knew about migrant removal targets.

Britain's Home Secretary Amber Rudd leaves City Hall in Salisbury, southern England, on March 9, 2018

Video:Amber Rudd ‘hanging by a thread’ after blunders over immigration targets
Windrush: Labour demand PM launch inquiryWindrush: Labour demand PM launch inquiry

Late on Saturday night, Ms Rudd confirmed she would address the House of Commons on Monday to answer “legitimate questions that have arisen on targets and illegal migration”. She also apologised for not being aware of specific removal targets and accepted that she should have been.

The letter sent to Mrs May by Diane Abbott says “the Home Secretary has clearly lost control of her department and lost the trust of the public” and calls for Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood and Sue Gray, the outgoing head of Propriety and Ethics, to launch a wide-ranging inquiry into a number of areas.

These include whether a Home Office memo, recently leaked to the Guardian which mentioned apparently national deportation targets, had been received by the Home Secretary; whether any previous memos or documents mentioning targets have been received by Ms Rudd, and whether Theresa May, while she was Home Secretary, had been aware of such targets.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn at PMQs

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In a separate letter, Mr Lammy, who has been one of the most vocal critics of the Government’s handling of the Windrush scandal, wrote: “There are a number of issues raised by the statements made by yourself and the Home Secretary that require urgent and immediate attention.”

The letter, signed by 200 Labour, Lib Dem and SNP MPs, goes on to call for specific detail to be published regarding the compensation and redress people can expect, such as whether people would be reinstated in jobs, or rehoused if they were evicted.

“Will this compensation be retrospectively applied to all those affected and will it cover compensation for the trauma, pain and suffering caused in addition to legal fees, application fees, loss of employment, denial of access to benefits, public services and healthcare?” the letter states.

Video:Victim: ‘Someone must be held responsible’

It also requests the Government sets out written guidance on the burden of proof Windrush migrants will be expected to provide to receive confirmation of their status from the Home Office, and urges the Government to put commitments made verbally into law.

“Windrush citizens are not ‘applying’ for anything – they have the right to citizenship, as you have confirmed. We do not believe that the Home Office should treat Windrush citizens as applicants required to meet a certain threshold – this process should seek to confirm applicants’ status. If the Home Office has no grounds to disbelieve that a Windrush citizen tells them, they should issue confirmation of status without delay,” Mr Lammy wrote.

“Given the gravity of these issues, it is important that the Government enshrines the changes that have been announced in response to the Windrush crisis into law without delay.”

Number 10 was approached for a comment on the contents of the two letters sent to the Prime Minister on Saturday, but has not yet issued a response.

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