Windrush

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:49 pm on 2nd May 2018.

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Photo of Simon Hoare Simon Hoare Conservative, North Dorset 4:49 pm, 2nd May 2018

I say to the right hon. Lady that nobody in this House would doubt—let us be frank about this—the sincerity with which the shadow Home Secretary has faced fighting racism and abuse in this country. She is a leader in the field. I say to Yvette Cooper, the Chairman of the Home Affairs Committee, that if only the motion had reflected that, because it does not—it is about process.

As I said on Monday, at the back of all our minds, on the Government Benches and on the Opposition Benches, there is probably a little echo of guilt. Whether it was UKIP, the BNP or some of the more excessive narratives of our tabloid press, issues of “asylum” and “refugee”, “illegal” and “legal”, got conflated with “them” and “us, “foreign” and “different”, “alien” and “domestic”. All of us, looking to our political bases, became anxious about seeing our support nibbled away, and instead of making the positive, liberal case for the contribution that immigrants make—the case made by my right hon. Friend Anna Soubry and by my constituency neighbour, my right hon. Friend Sir Oliver Letwin, on “Newsnight” on Monday—we ran away from those uncomfortable conversations on the doorstep. All of us—all of us—probably wish we had been a little more robust in making that positive case. That we did not make it is no excuse for not facing it now.

The Windrush generation answered our call in time of war and in time of peace, and the Government will answer their call to find a solution to this issue. Members on both sides of the House with equal passion owe all their constituents a duty to support that endeavour and to get it right—for people.