Theresa May tells Caribbean leaders she is 'genuinely sorry' over treatment of Windrush children

Posted On: 
17th April 2018

Theresa May has apologised to Caribbean leaders over the treatment of the UK's so-called Windrush children, after an outcry over immigration troubles faced by the longstanding British residents.

Theresa May held talks with the Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness at 10 Downing Street this morning
Credit: 
PA

The Prime Minister issued the apology after it emerged that some British residents had lost out on healthcare, employment and housing because they could not prove their immigration status - despite having lived legally in the UK for over 50 years.

Number Ten had previously ruled out a meeting with the Caribbean heads of state, but later u-turned amid mounting pressure over the scandal.

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Today, Mrs May reiterated promises made by the Home Secretary Amber Rudd that every effort would be made to help the children of the Windrush migrants - who came to Britain from the Caribbean in the 1950s and 60s - to prove their status as British residents.

She said: "I want to dispel any impression that my Government is in some sense clamping down on Commonwealth citizens, particularly those from the Caribbean.

"I take this issue very seriously. The Home Secretary apologised in the House of Commons yesterday for any anxiety caused, and I want to apologise to you today. Because we are genuinely sorry for any anxiety that has been caused."

The Prime Minister meanwhile sought to reassure the leaders that anyone who had incurred costs trying to prove their status would be reimbursed, and pointed to the new Home Office team set up to deal with cases. She added: "We would also like to reassure you that there will be no removals or detention as part of any assistance to help these citizens get their proper documentation in place."

'BETRAYED'

But Mrs May's apology came as Labour’s David Lammy - who yesterday tore into the Government over its handling of the issue - revealed that his office had been contacted by a Windrush citizen whose son is facing deportation tomorrow.

In a statement shared by the Tottenham MP, the 75-year-old Ruth Williams said: “I feel betrayed and a second class citizen in my own country. This makes me so sad and the Home Office must show some compassion.

"I am unwell and almost 75, I live on my own and I need my son to stay here. I need my family around me and I can’t face being alone. He has applied to the Home Office and been refused twice."

The Labour backbencher branded the case a "national disgrace", and called on ministers Amber Rudd and Caroline Nokes to "consider their positions"

PoliticsHome understands that Conservative MP Dominic Grieve, who represents the man concerned, has today raised the case with the Home Office. Downing Street said this morning that it was not aware of the case.