After the Second World War, when Britain was exhausted and bankrupt, a call went out to the Empire to help rebuild a shattered country. Thousands came here to staff our NHS and work on our railways.
The country has rightly been shocked to learn of the appalling recent treatment of this Windrush generation. Home Secretary Amber Rudd resigned after misleading a Parliamentary Select Committee. But the real author of the ” hostile environment ” policy was her predecessor Theresa May.
In the debate, called by the opposition last week, I referred to my own experience over 26 years of the development of a culture of disbelief within the Home Office. The current crisis should lead to a new approach. It is an opportunity not just to sort out the Windrush issue but also other problems including up to 7000 students wrongly told to leave because of a faulty English language test scandal exposed by the Financial Times, and a similar issue with the high-value migrant visas.
There are people in this country today, in different categories, who came here perfectly legitimately, but who have now found that their status is being challenged and they are being told that they have to leave. The coalition Government scrapped the plans for ID cards that were in the pipeline from the Labour Government. If that had not happened, the situation would not be perfect, but we would be in a much better position today to deal with this culture of disbelief.
You can watch me raising this in Parliament here.