Number 10 Lobby briefing on Britain’s Windrush children and the latest on Brexit
Here is a summary of this morning's briefing for lobby journalists by the Prime Minister's official spokesman.
The spokesman set out the Government’s latest response to the scandal surrounding Britain’s Windrush children, who have been threatened with deportation as part of a wider immigration crackdown.
The spokesman revealed that ministers Lord Ahmed and Caroline Nokes had written to Carribbean leaders to reassure them that those affected would be supported as they sought to prove their status.
Setting out the new measures, he said: “There’ll be a new team dedicated to helping the people involved find evidence showing their right to be in the country and to access services...
“Our starting point will be to do as much as possible for the individuals and to make every effort to ensure that they don’t need to use any lawyers. And instead the Home Office will have a team to help them and guide them through the process while doing much of the evidence gathering for them...
“Once the evidence has been collected showing that they are entitled to be in the UK, the Home Office will aim to resolve the cases within two weeks."
The spokesman added that the normal fees incurred during the process would be waived and “reasonable legal costs” would be reimbursed.
“If there are people who believe that they have suffered a financial loss as a consequence they can take that forward to the new unit at the Home Office and those claims will be looked at,” he added.
Defending the Government’s wider immigration policy, he said it was “intended to provide a deterrent for those here illegally or for those intending to come illegally,” but he dismissed suggestions that it was punishing innocent people.
The spokesman warned peers considering voting for an amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill that seeks to keep the UK in a customs union with the EU that voters would not accept such a stance.
People that voted for Brexit, he said, would expect Britain to “be able to sign trade deals around the world” when it leaves the EU next year.
He also insisted that the Government would continue to “engage constructively” with devolved institutions, after it emerged that a legal challenge has been launched against the Scottish and Welsh governments' Brexit bills.
The UK’s devolved parliaments passed legislation last month as an alternative to Westminster's EU Withdrawal Bill.
However, the Government has disputed their legality and referred the matter to the Supreme Court.