Public Order

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:45 pm on 15th June 2020.

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Photo of Priti Patel Priti Patel The Secretary of State for the Home Department 4:45 pm, 15th June 2020

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his comments about police officers and policing, and for the support he has given to our injured officers. What we have seen over recent weeks has been completely appalling.

There are a number of points I would like to make in response to the hon. Gentleman’s comments. It is important to recognise—I said it, in fact, this time last week—that peaceful protest remains an essential and vital part of our democratic society. Of course black lives matter. The movement itself and the response in terms of the points that they have been making, as we discussed last week on the Floor of the House, are absolutely important and essential. It is vital that we look at the ways in which we can address the issues of inequality and social justice across our country and society. That is why the Prime Minister has announced a new cross-Government commission to effectively champion the voice of black and minority ethnic groups in particular. The new commission on race and ethnic disparities will absolutely look at some of the issues the hon. Gentleman touched on. If I may, I will come on to the issue of Windrush separately.

These inequalities are live inequalities, which means, as the hon. Gentleman rightly said, we must act now. The aim of the commission, importantly, is to set out something that is forward looking and positive: a positive agenda of change that balances the needs of individuals, communities and society, but maximises opportunities and ensures fairness for all. That is, of course, something that all Members in this House should rightly welcome and work on collectively. Again, I said that last week and I will keep on saying it. We should unite in our core purpose and objective. We are all leaders and we can absolutely drive this agenda forward. It will build on the work of the race disparity unit and go further in terms of understanding why disparities exist and what does not work. It will build on recommendations that have already been made to the Government.

That brings me on to the point the right hon. Gentleman made about Windrush and the Wendy Williams review. I have been clear to the House, and I will say it again on the Floor of the House this afternoon, that I shall be returning to this Chamber to provide a full update on its recommendations and on the way in which the Home Office itself is undergoing much work in terms of a change of culture. It is looking at itself and at the conduct that has taken place, historically, in the Home Office. Those are vital and important issues that have to be addressed, and they have not been addressed previously.

We will be looking at how we implement the Williams review. Work is taking place right now specifically on compensation and increasing that compensation. The hon. Gentleman will understand that every single case is a bespoke case that has to be looked at on an individual basis. These are complicated cases. They cannot just be solved and resolved overnight with payments. We have a team of people working assiduously to look at every single case. If the hon. Gentleman would like an update on the work that has taken place on the compensation scheme, the outreach work and the programmes that have been undertaken and are still forthcoming with our online stakeholder teams, I would be very happy to update him on that work.