Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:12 pm on 2nd May 2018.

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Photo of Diane Abbott Diane Abbott Shadow Home Secretary 2:12 pm, 2nd May 2018

Nobody on the Opposition side of the House supports illegal immigration, but the hon. Gentleman must appreciate how distressing it is for the Windrush generation to see the way that Members on the Government side of the House turn to illegal immigration whenever the subject of the Windrush generation is raised. They were not illegal. It is interesting how Members on the Government side of the House want to pivot and to talk about illegal immigration.

I want to talk about the role of the Prime Minister. Many people feel that, with the Windrush scandal, all roads lead back to her. It was the Prime Minister who was responsible for some of the worst aspects of the hostile environment. It was the Prime Minister who initiated the notorious go-home immigration vans. It was the Prime Minister who introduced the “deport first, appeal later” regime, and we know from documents in the public domain that it was the Prime Minister who set deportation targets.

It has been revealed that Amber Rudd, the former Home Secretary, wrote a four-page memo to the Prime Minister on 30 January. In it, the right hon. Lady set out what she described as an “ambitious” plan “ruthlessly” focusing Home Office priorities and stating:

“I will be refocusing IE’s work to concentrate on enforced removals. In particular I will be reallocating £10m (including from low-level crime and intelligence) with the aim of increasing…enforced removals by…10%...over the next few years”.

Ministers can try to dance on the head of a pin, but 10% is a target in any reasonable understanding of the term.