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Former Cabinet minister says Theresa May blocked India trade deal over visa requests

2 min read

A former cabinet minister in the coalition government has said Theresa May threw out proposals for a trade deal with India because of the country’s “modest” visa demands.

Lib Dem Ed Davey said that he and the party’s now-leader Vince Cable pushed for a deal between the EU and the Commonwealth country but that it was vetoed by Mrs May, the then-Home Secretary.

In 2016, the Prime Minister also rejected calls from Indian officials to up the number of visas given to its citizens, allowing them to travel to Britain, saying the UK had a “good system” in place.

The former Energy Secretary’s revelation heaps more pressure on the Government amid the Windrush scandal, in which some migrants who came to Britain from the Caribbean before 1971 have been threatened with deportation by the Home Office and lost access to public services.

Last week, Mr Davey said Mrs May had to “take responsibility” for her then department.

“This whole affair is shameful and if there have been failings on her watch then the Prime Minister’s credibility will be badly damaged,” he said.

“On the steps of Downing Street May talked about ‘burning injustices’, As Home Secretary her department was responsible for igniting new outrageous injustices.”

The Prime Minister and Home Secretary were forced to apologise this week to the potential 50,000 Commonwealth migrants who have been caught up in the Windrush scandal.  

Critics have blamed the blunder affecting those who came to the UK from the Caribbean before 1971 on the “hostile environment” for illegal immigrants cultivated under Mrs May’s Home Office tenure.

The Home Office has said they do not want those connected to the saga to feel “unwelcome or to be in any doubt about their right to remain”.

"The vast majority will already have documentation that proves their right to be here,” they said.

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