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Mon, 30 November 2020

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By Lord Garnier
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Government will spell out plan to implement full Windrush review before summer, Priti Patel says

Government will spell out plan to implement full Windrush review before summer, Priti Patel says

Priti Patel has committed to implementing the Windrush review recommendations in full (PA)

2 min read

The government will share its plan to implement all recommendations set out in a review into the Windrush scandal in full before Parliament breaks for summer, Priti Patel has confirmed.

The Home Secretary said she was committed to actioning all 30 points set out in the Wendy Williams review and that there were "serious and significant lessons" for her department to learn. 

Ms Patel said the 2018 scandal, which saw people from the Commonwealth incorrectly told they were in the UK illegally and in some cases wrongly deported, was "absolutely appalling".

"I was clear when Wendy Williams published her review that I would listen and I would act," she told the Commons. 

"I will continue to apologise...and ensure the Home Office not just learns lessons, but fundamentally shifts its way of working."

The Williams review, published in March, criticised the "hostile environment" policy on tackling illegal immigration and told the BBC that ministers "should have realised the impact" of the legislation on different groups of people.

It called for an overhaul of the ethos of the Home Office to ensure it was based on "fairness, humanity, diversity and inclusion", but stopped short of branding the department institutionally racist. 

Ms Patel's statement came 24 hours after the UK marked Windrush Day, the 72nd anniversary of the arrival of Commonwealth citizens who helped to rebuild the country in the wake of the Second World War.

The SNP's home affairs spokesperson Joanna Cherry said: "The reality is many of this government's immigration policies continue to have disproportionate impacts on black and minority ethnic communities and if the Home Secretary does not carry out a root and branch review, this will continue."

Meanwhile, Shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said the Windrush was scandal was "a source of national shame" and said the Williams review as "a damning indictment" on the previous practices of the Home Office.

Calling for a further statement on the matter before the summer recess, Mr Thomas-Symonds said the steps government needs to take to tackle race inequality were "abundantly clear".

The Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) announced earlier this month that it would launch legal action to review whether the Home Office complied with equality law when implementing the curbs on immigration.

The assessment will, the watchdog said, look at “how the department engaged with affected individuals and communities to understand the relevant historical and contextual factors when developing immigration policy from 2012-18“.

It will also consider whether the department “understood, monitored and reviewed the impact of placing increasingly onerous documentation requirements” on those swept up in the crackdown.

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