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Windrush

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:34 pm on 2nd May 2018.

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Photo of Yvette Cooper Yvette Cooper Chair, Home Affairs Committee 3:34 pm, 2nd May 2018

I welcome the speech by Alberto Costa, who raised important, detailed and thoughtful points.

We have heard too many heartbreaking stories and about too many deep injustices—of people told they were not legal despite being British citizens, who have been made to feel unwelcome in their own country despite having worked here, lived here and loved here, very often for most of their lives and for longer than many of us in here have been alive; of people locked up wrongfully by the British state in their own country; of people such as the pensioner I heard from who said his experience of simply trying to renew his passport had been so painful and brought back difficult memories of racism he had experienced as a child.

Many from the Windrush generation have told their own stories, and we should pay tribute to them for having the bravery to do so, even when, as some told me, they felt a sense of shame as a result. The Windrush families are not the ones who should feel shame. As my right hon. Friend Mr Lammy rightly said, this issue has brought a sense of national shame, and we must all now be determined to put it right. I welcome the new Home Secretary’s promise “to do right” by the Windrush generation. My right hon. Friend Ms Abbott, who has been passionately pursuing this cause, is right that the Government will be judged on their actions rather than their words. We will need to see the progress of the taskforce, which the Home Affairs Select Committee will monitor.

The motion refers to documents being sent to the Select Committee. As with similar motions that have referred documents to other Committees, we have not instigated this call; nor have we had the chance to discuss or take a view on the motion, and we would of course decide how to respond. The motion itself is obviously a matter for the House, but we will continue to pursue our own questions as well.