Lucas: Theresa May could have prevented much of damage caused by Windrush scandal

6 July 2018

* Government confirms it did not act on October 2014 Legal Action Group ‘Chasing Status’ report

* Lucas: “The Prime Minister must be held to account for this act of great betrayal”

Caroline Lucas has said responsibility for the Windrush scandal falls “squarely on the shoulders of our Prime Minister” after revelations she ignored a critical report while serving as Home Secretary.

In response to a Parliamentary Question [1] submitted by Lucas, the Government has confirmed it did not act on recommendations of the Chasing Status report published in October 2014 [2], when Theresa May was Home Secretary.

The report, by the Legal Action Group, recommended a number of measures which could have prevented the Windrush scandal, including to:

* Set up a special unit to fastrack cases of people living in the UK on 1 January 1973

* Restore legal aid for these cases

* Allowing them to work, access the the NHS and claim benefits

* Revise Home Office standards for proof of residence

In response to Lucas’ Parliamentary Question Caroline Nokes, Minister of State for Immigration, said “no specific action was taken as a result of this report”, and pointed to the Windrush review launched in June this year.

Caroline Lucas MP, co-leader of the Green Party, said:

“We now have yet more clear cut evidence that Theresa May as Home Secretary chose to explicitly ignore recommendations that would have prevented much of the damage of the Windrush scandal from happening.

“Responsibility for the Windrush scandal, and the countless lives it has ruined, falls squarely on the shoulders of our Prime Minister – and she must be held to account for this act of great betrayal.

"Corrective measures are all well and good but without a root and branch transformation of both attitude and policy across Government, the hostile environment and all its damaging consequences will persist."

Notes:

1.

The Parliamentary Question and answer can be seen below and here: https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2018-04-18/136368/

Question:

Caroline Lucas:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department took steps in (a) 2014, (b) 2015, (c) 2016 and (d) since 2016 to implement the recommendations of the October 2014 Legal Action Group report on Chasing Status (i) on the creation of a specialist casework unit to fast-track cases of those living in the UK on 1 January 1973, (ii) on restoring legal aid for such cases, (iii) on maintaining applicants’ ability to work, claim social security benefits and access essential services such as the NHS and (iv) revising Home Office standards of evidence for proving residency. (136368)

Tabled on: 18 April 2018

Answer:

Caroline Nokes:

No specific action was taken as a result of this report. On 21 June, the Home Secretary announced Wendy Williams will have independent oversight of the Windrush lessons learned review. This review will seek to draw out how members of the Windrush generation came to be entangled in measure designed for illegal immigrations; why that was not spotted sooner; and whether the corrective measures are now in place.

The answer was submitted on 03 Jul 2018 at 16:07.

2.

The full Chasing Status report can be seen here: https://www.lag.org.uk/about-us/policy/campaigns/chasing-status






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