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WATCH Ex-Whitehall chief: Ministers thought Theresa May immigration plan was 'like Nazi Germany'

3 min read

Ministers thought the tough immigration policies brought in by Theresa May were "almost reminiscent of Nazi Germany", the former head of the civil service has claimed.

Lord Kerslake - who led Whitehall from 2012 to 2015 - made the extraordinary claim amid an ongoing row over the treatment of the so-called Windrush generation.

It comes as a key Labour backbencher demanded a public inquiry into the treatment of the British nationals from the Commonwealth who have been stung by changes to immigration rules.

Some of those who arrived in Britain from the Caribbean as part of a post-war rebuilding effort been threatened with deportation, while others have lost access to healthcare, pensions and benefits.

The former top mandarin told BBC Newsnight that the 2014 Immigration Act - which removed protections for Windrush immigrants - had been challenged in Whitehall by both officials and Ms May's cabinet colleagues when she was Home Secretary.

"I think it was not just a question of the Home Secretary being told it was a challenging policy - the Prime Minister was as well," he said.

"And this was a very contested piece of legislation across Government departments.

"Now I can't say and shouldn't say as a former head of the civil service precisely who gave the advice to whom - but what I can tell you is it was highly contested.

"And there were some who saw it, I shan't name them, as almost reminiscent of Nazi Germany in the way it's working."

Lord Kerslake's remarks came as Labour's David Lammy - who has led the parliamentary charge for action on the Windrush issue - urged the Prime Minister to launch an independent inquiry into Tory immigration policy.

Mr Lammy - whose parents came to the UK from Guyana as part of the Windrush generation - said the probe should investigate the "devastating impact" the approach designed by Mrs May has had on people's lives.

"Lessons must be learnt from the Windrush crisis and a review is now a vital step in understanding how and why our immigration system treats people in this way and what reforms are needed to prevent any further cruelty and injustices," he said.

The Home Office revealed overnight that more than 100 potential Windrush cases are currently being looked into by a new team set up to investigate.

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