MPs Want Equalities Watchdog To Investigate Home Office Over Windrush Scandal

1 May 2019, 07:55 | Updated: 1 May 2019, 08:02

Empire Windrush brought one of the first large groups of postwar West Indian immigrants to the United Kingdom.
Empire Windrush brought one of the first large groups of postwar West Indian immigrants to the United Kingdom. Picture: PA

MPs have referred the Home Office to the equalities watchdog over the Windrush scandal on the basis of unlawful discrimination.

The group of more than 80 MPs have requested the Equality and Human Rights Commission investigate whether the Home Office's “deeply discriminatory” hostile environment immigration policies represent institutional racism.

David Lammy wrote to the watchdog in his capacity as chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Race and Community.

The letter, signed by 87 MPs, accuses the Home Office of unlawful discrimination against Windrush victims.

The Tottenham MP said: “The gross mishandling and abuse of the Windrush generation by the Home Office raises serious questions over whether British citizens were discriminated against on the basis of their race and ethnicity, in breach of equalities legislation.

Mr Lammy said that he had first raised the issue more than a year ago, but "nothing has changed." The letter calls on the EHRC to investigate the Home Office and, in particular, the hostile environment legislation, which the letter said "appears to have led to discriminatory treatment against ethnic minority British citizens."

The Windrush scandal involved the wrongful detentions and deportations of some members of the Windrush generation - the thousands of people who travelled to the UK from the Caribbean in the years after World War Two.

A Home Office spokesperson said: "The Home Secretary and the Immigration Minister are committed to righting the wrongs experienced by the Windrush generation and the recently launched compensation scheme is a crucial step in delivering on that commitment.

"The Windrush generation have given so much to this country and we will ensure nothing like this ever happens again, that is why the Home Secretary commissioned a lessons-learned review with independent oversight by Wendy Williams."