I was contacted by a number of constituents about the Windrush scandal.

The Windrush generation were invited here as British citizens to help rebuild the UK after the Second World War. This is their home and they have contributed hugely to our country.  Under the Immigration Act 1971, all Commonwealth citizens living in the UK were granted indefinite leave to remain. However, the Home Office didn’t keep records or issue paperwork and a growing number of people have recently faced uncertainty over their status.

There are British citizens who have been made homeless, been denied healthcare and lost their jobs. It’s also been revealed that at least 63 people could have been wrongly deported. This whole situation has caused immense distress to the people concerned, widespread concern throughout the country and international disquiet and is a consequence of the hostile environment policy of the Home Office.

Following widespread pressure, the Government has now confirmed that the Windrush generation do have the right to remain and will be granted British citizenship. Secondary legislation has been brought forward to guarantee the rights and status of members of the Windrush generation and their children born in the UK and those who arrived here as minors. The Government is also consulting on a new Windrush compensation scheme.

The Government must invite anyone who has been deported in error back to the UK immediately and ensure that compensation covers costs such as loss of earnings, legal fees and application fees, in addition to compensation for trauma caused.

The new developments are welcome but it’s shameful that the UK has treated the Windrush generation in this way. They were always British citizens and they have been let down by the state.

Hilary Benn
MP for Leeds Central

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