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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2 responses to “Learning the lessons of the Windrush scandal: Isabelle Parasram”

  1. I can remember the years when we proudly said that all citizens of Commonwealth countries were British, so when they came to live and work here – which they were totally free to do – there was no question of their having any lesser rights than those of us born and bred here. I was shocked when subsequent governments started introducing criteria for British citizen rights which were not the same, and Commonwealth citizens no longer had the automatic right to move here. It is no wonder that those arriving in the 1950s – many of whom never returned to the countries where they had been born – had no cause to acquire a passport proving they were British. And their offspring neither.

  2. Today on LBC James O’Brien mentioned Nick Clegg in Coalition whilst Cameron generated/supported May’s hostility to immigrants. This is unfair because we went into the 2010 election with a pledge for an amnesty for immigrants. In fact it was when this was publicised Clegg mania subsided somewhat in the face of Tory and Labour attacks. He need putting straight.

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