Learning the lessons of the Windrush scandal: Isabelle Parasram

A guest post from Liberal Democrat Vice President, Isabelle Parasram:

The Windrush Lessons Learned Review has now been published. It scrutinises the way in which the government handled the Windrush scandal.

The Windrush Scandal laid bare the horrifying cruelty of the Conservatives’ hostile environment. People who have every right to live in the UK were wrongly denied access to NHS treatment, housing and other services simply because they don’t have the right documents to prove it. Many were wrongfully detained and even deported.

Damningly, the review itself states that the scandal was “…foreseeable and avoidable”, and thirty recommendations have been made. These include, for example, the proposal that ministers, “should admit that serious harm was inflicted on people who are British and provide an unqualified apology to those affected and to the wider black African-Caribbean community as soon as possible”.

There are also heartbreaking real-life case studies that paint the very human picture of the scandal.

Other recommendations include:

  • a programme of reconciliation events with members of the Windrush Generation;
  • a learning programme for Home Office staff covering topics such as the history of black Britons, and
  • interestingly for me as a barrister, reviews of successful race discrimination claims against the Home Office as a basis for ongoing learning and development of Home Office staff.

The recommendations are far-reaching and challenging and I urge the Government to implement all of them.

In addition, the Government must introduce compassion and common sense into our immigration system. That means making detention an absolute last resort, with a time limit and an end to the detention of vulnerable people. And it means ending automatic deportations – and stopping altogether the practice of deporting people who came to the UK as children to countries they have never known.

“Liberal Democrats celebrate those who choose to come to the UK to work, study or join their families for the enormous contributions they make to our society, our economy and our communities. We are fighting for a fair, effective immigration system that treats everyone with dignity and respect.”

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