Diane Abbott says Amber Rudd should ‘consider her position’ in wake of Windrush scandal
Diane Abbott has said Amber Rudd should “consider her position” after the Home Secretary criticised officials in her own department over the Windrush scandal.
The Shadow Home Secretary accused Ms Rudd of trying to “avoid responsibility” for the debacle, which has seen British residents who came to the UK from the Caribbean in the 1950s and 60s threatened with deportation.
Those affected have lost out on healthcare, employment and housing after being unable to prove their immigration status, despite having lived and worked in Britain for over 50 years.
The Home Secretary apologised for the distress that had been caused in a statement to the Commons on Monday, but, in a surprising move, she also appeared to blame civil servants in her own department for the mistakes, saying they had become more “concerned with policy” than people.
Ms Abbott today blasted Ms Rudd over the “extraordinary” response and suggested she may have to step down over the mishandling of the issue.
The Shadow Home Secretary told the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “At the end of the day she is the Home Secretary and it is her department and there was a time where if something went wrong in a department you as the minister took responsibility.
“The way Amber Rudd is attempting to avoid responsibility is very concerning. I think she needs to consider her position.
“There are so many things that have gone wrong. This isn’t a new situation, it’s been going on for some years.”
In a further blow to the department, it has emerged that thousands of documents relating to the Windrush generation were destroyed in 2010.
An ex-Home Office employee said a horde of landing card slips recording the arrival dates of immigrants were disposed of in an office move, according to the Guardian.
Ms Abbott said the Home Office must now “allow officials to use their discretion in a way that they haven’t allowed them to use it before.
“Ideally there should be a group exemption for people who fall into this particular category,” she added.
Ms Abbott also called on Ms Rudd to reveal the numbers of people who have been deported and detained for failing to prove their status.
“She has information about who was deported and who was in detention and she needs to make that information public,” she said.
However, Ms Rudd has maintained that she is “not aware of any specific cases” of people being removed from the UK.
In the aftermath of the debacle the Government has created a dedicated team within the Home Office to help Windrush children find supporting documentation and has pledged to process cases in two weeks.