Labour’s Diane Abbott has blasted the Government for overseeing one of the Home Office’s “biggest scandals” as she called out the “shameful” treatment of the Windrush generation who took “unparalleled pride in being British”.
The Shadow Home Secretary was responding to Amber Rudd in the House of Commons after the Tory minister announced those caught up in the scandal will be entitled to gain British citizenship at no cost.
In a passionate rebuttal, Abbott outlined how many members of her own family were part of the post-War migration to the UK from the Caribbean as Britain struggled with a skills shortage.
The MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington told Parliament: “My parents, brothers, sisters and cousins, largely worked in the National Health Service, in factories and in transport.
“One of my uncles said to me that he had never missed a day of work.
“This was a generation with unparalleled commitment to this country, unparalleled pride in being British, unparalleled commitment to contributing to society and hard work, and it is shameful that this Government has treated this generation in this way.”
Speaking in the Commons on Monday afternoon, the Home Secretary revealed the government will waive citizenship and language tests fees in the wake of the scandal that saw people wrongly threatened with deportation.
“The state has let these people down,” Rudd added. “I will put this right.”
But Abbott responded with incredulity, calling it “one of the biggest scandals in the administration of home affairs” in recent times.
She said: “The Home Secretary said the situation should never have been allowed to happen. She is the Home Secretary! She allowed it to happen!
“These cases can’t come as a surprise to her because many of my colleagues on this side of the House had been pursuing individual cases for some time. She is behaving as if it is a shock to her that officials of implementing registrations - regulations in the way she intended. The Home Secretary has to understand that ultimately the buck stops with her.”
Labour has demanded Rudd resign over the crisis. Rudd told MPs the Home Office has so far found no Windrush citizens who have been wrongly deported.