POLITICS
02/05/2018 19:16 BST | Updated 03/05/2018 10:08 BST

Tory MPs Block Release Of Windrush Papers From When Theresa May Was Home Secretary

May has escaped even more scrutiny over Windrush

PA Wire/PA Images

Conservative MPs have blocked attempts to get Home Office documents relating to the Windrush scandal released to Parliament.

The Tories voted down a Labour motion calling for the handing over of all papers, correspondence and advice relating to the debacle - including emails and text messages - from 11 May 2010 up to 1 May 2018.

If the move had been successful, it would have shown exactly what Prime Minster Theresa May knew about the scandal and when during her six years as Home Secretary.

But the move was thwarted when 316 MPs followed party orders to defeat Labour’s motion, with 221 MPs backing the call.

Speaking after the vote, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott said: “After losing her human shield with the resignation of Amber Rudd, the architect of this scandal, Theresa May, ordered her MPs to vote to cover up the truth of her involvement.

“This is nothing short of a betrayal of the Windrush generation and others who have been affected by the Government’s heartless ‘hostile environment’, and flies in the face of the new Home Secretary’s promise to make things right. 

“Tory MPs will now have to explain to the people whose lives have been turned upside down why they think they don’t deserve the facts to be known and don’t deserve proper justice.”

Since last year’s election, the Tories have frequently refused to vote in opposition debates, and did not try to block the release of Brexit impact assessments last year when Labour used a similar parliamentary tactic.

Just hours before the vote, May announced there would be a “full review” of the decisions which led to the Windrush crisis, which would report back to MPs before the end of July.

After making the announcement, May was asked if she agreed with new Home Secretary Sajid Javid when he said the so-called ‘hostile environment’ policy towards illegal immigrants “does not represent our values as a country”.

May avoided giving a clear answer, saying: “What the Home Secretary said was that he absolutely shares the need to differentiate between illegal and legal immigrants.

“What he also said was there was a certain phrase he wasn’t going to use, a phrase that was first used by Labour ministers in Government.”

Javid’s claim that the atmosphere would change from “hostile” to “compliance” was savaged by Labour MP David Lammy in a debate on the Windrush scandal ahead of the vote.

Lammy said:

“The Windrush community and its ancestors know what hostile and compliance means. We know what compliance means. It’s written deep into our souls and passed down from our ancestors.

“Slaves having to nod and smile when they were being whipped in a cotton field or a sugar cane field were compliant.

“Watching your partner being tied to a tree, beaten or raped, on a plantation, is compliance.

“12million people being transported as slaves form Africa to the colonies is a compliant environment.

“Windrush citizens being abused, spat on, and assaulted in the streets but never once fighting back was a compliant environment.

“Black Britons being racially abused at work but never speaking up because they need to put food on the table know all about a compliant environment.

“Turning the other cheek when the National Front was marching through our streets was a compliant environment.

“Young black men being stopped and searched by the police despite committing no crime and living in fear of the police know what it’s like to be in a compliant environment.

“And thank God that Doreen Lawrence defied that compliant environment.”