Windrush

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:52 pm on 2nd May 2018.

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Photo of John Cryer John Cryer Labour, Leyton and Wanstead 3:52 pm, 2nd May 2018

Thank you for the warning, Madam Deputy Speaker. It is an honour to follow a former member of the Anti-Nazi League. I have always thought that Anna Soubry was a bit of a closet pinko; she obviously needs to be looked into by the Conservative Chief Whip. I should like to congratulate my right hon. and hon. Friends on bringing a proper level of scrutiny to bear on this issue, including the shadow Home Secretary, my right hon. Friend Ms Abbott, and the Chair of the Home Affairs Committee, my right hon. Friend Yvette Cooper.

In particular, I want to congratulate my right hon. Friend Mr Lammy, who really kick-started this and brought the issue out into the public spotlight. I should like to point out that his predecessor was Bernie Grant, who was a friend of mine. He came here from Guyana—it was British Guyana when he was there—with his head held high, proud of where he came from and proud of where he was going. That is the whole point about this scandal. People like Bernie are now being threatened with deportation. I say “people like Bernie” because he cannot be threatened with deportation; sadly, he passed away some years ago.

I am dealing with between 30 and 40 cases in my constituency. I have a big Windrush community. As a proportion, I am dealing with a very large number of cases. These are people who have been threatened with deportation, and I will give two brief examples. The first is a woman, and she is a classic Windrush baby case. She came to Britain as a baby in the 1960s, and she cannot remember Jamaica, which is where she was born. She has a broad east London accent, and it is pretty obvious that she is as quintessentially British and a Londoner as anyone else, yet when she went to apply for a passport for the first time in her life, having brought up a family and worked here for all these years, she was told not only that she could not have a passport but that she was going to be deported back to Jamaica. As she said, it is a country that she cannot remember.