Windrush Lessons Learned Review

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:57 pm on 21st July 2020.

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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) 1:57 pm, 21st July 2020

I welcome this full statement, which contains some substantial commitments and aims, and I thank the Home Secretary for advance sight of it. First, when Wendy Williams gave evidence to the Joint Committee on Human Rights earlier this month, she said that the Windrush scandal had highlighted

“fundamental cultural, political and institutional factors” relevant to how the Home Office carries out its duties across the board. She said that those issues needed to be fixed and it seems that the Home Secretary has recognised that in her statement. But Wendy Williams also said that she had considered the Home Office responses to previous reviews and reports, and found that those responses tended to be characterised by a quick acknowledgement of the result and a focus on process, rather than on the fundamental issues identified in the respective reviews. She said that, in the past, the remedial actions taken by the Home Office were superficial to the extent that there was action at all, and that they did not have a lasting effect. She also said that many of the issues that were identified kept coming up successively, time and again, but in different contexts. So can the Home Secretary reassure me that the steps she intends to take will avoid the pitfalls that Wendy Williams has identified with previous reviews?

Secondly, the Home Secretary has committed to changing the Home Office’s openness to scrutiny, policy and decision making, and she talks about engagement. Will that include engagement with the devolved Government in Edinburgh? Thirdly and finally, the Home Secretary and I do not always see eye to eye, but I want to thank her for doing what she was unable to do last time, which is to confirm that she will carry out the root and branch review of the hostile environment policy that Wendy Williams stipulated in recommendation 7. In relation to that, I have a specific question for the Home Secretary. Will she tell us whether measures such as the right to rent scheme will be paused pending the outcome of the review of the hostile environment policy?