Windrush

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:08 pm on 2nd May 2018.

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Photo of Joanna Cherry Joanna Cherry Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Justice and Home Affairs), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Justice), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Home Affairs) 3:08 pm, 2nd May 2018

Earlier this week, I welcomed the Home Secretary to his place and congratulated him on his appointment. I mentioned that it is a good thing he is the first BAME person to hold this great office of state, and I want to make it quite clear that the Scottish National party absolutely condemns any racist abuse he may have received from whatever quarter. As somebody who is on the receiving end of a daily diet of anti-Catholic and anti-gay abuse from the hard right in Scotland and across the UK, I know what it feels like to receive such abuse from whatever quarter, so he has my absolute support in resisting it. I thank the Home Secretary for his courtesy in explaining to me that he would not be able to stay for my speech because he has a very important Cabinet Committee meeting to attend. How much many of us would love to be a fly on the wall in that meeting.

Amber Rudd, for whom I have a lot of respect, resigned as Secretary of State for the Home Office on account of having misled Parliament about her knowledge of the removal targets, but nobody has as yet been held to account for the policies that led to the imposition of those removal targets and caused the Windrush scandal.

Others who have Windrush constituents will speak eloquently today about the details of their position. I want to speak about the real, underlying reasons why this scandal has occurred and to say to the new Home Secretary, as represented here by his Immigration Minister, that he will be judged by this Parliament, and by the public watching outwith this Parliament, on the degree to which he has the gumption to address the underlying causes of the Windrush scandal rather than just fiddle around with the outcome.

What has happened to the Windrush generation is not an accident, it is not a mistake, it is not an aberration and it is not the work of over-zealous Home Office officials. It is, in fact, the direct result of the Prime Minister’s imposition of a wholly unrealistic net migration target and of the contortions that have to be gone through to achieve that target, which, incidentally, has as yet not been achieved.