It was “inappropriate, contradictory and frankly insulting” for Theresa May to post a video celebrating Windrush Day on Twitter, a Labour frontbencher has said.
In a letter to the prime minister, shadow equalities secretary Dawn Butler said May had “no right” to celebrate the Windrush generation until all victims had received justice.
“It is deeply wrong that people from the Windrush generation have been put through such trauma and hardship by this Conservative government after being wrongly categorised as illegal immigrants…” Butler wrote.
“It is for that reason I think your social media video to mark Windrush Day was inappropriate, contradictory and frankly insulting – especially as it was you who accelerated and amplified the dreadful hostile environment policy in the first place which has contributed to this scandal, and continues to cause so much suffering for so many people.”
In 2018, it emerged that many members of the Windrush generation – who had the right to remain in the UK – had been treated like illegal immigrants by the Home Office. While some were wrongly deported, others were denied healthcare or lost their homes or jobs.
With May set to leave Downing Street at the end of July, Butler told the PM she must use the rest of her premiership to resolve all outstanding Windrush cases “as you are clearly now attempting to find yourself a legacy”.
The letter comes after the Guardian reported last week that Richard Stewart – a prominent victim of the Windrush scandal – had died without receiving compensation or a personal apology for the government.
He had been waiting for his case to be resolved so he could travel to Jamaica for the first time in 50 years and visit his mother’s grave, the newspaper said.
In a video to mark Windrush Day on June 22, May revealed that a statue to commemorate the Windrush generation would be unveiled in Waterloo Station.
“Today, millions of people from around the world pass through the station each year and the new memorial will remind each of them of the tremendous debt our country owes to the Windrush generation,” the PM said.
“When Britain made the call for help, they did not hesitate to answer.”