'The multicultural journey this country is on has some huge successes,' says David Lammy 75 years on from Windrush

22 June 2023, 22:13

David Lammy speaks to Andrew Marr about Windrush
David Lammy speaks to Andrew Marr about Windrush. Picture: Getty/LBC

By Jenny Medlicott

David Lammy has said he agrees that the UK “is the best country in Europe for a black person to live in” as he hailed the country’s previous successes.

Sir Trevor Philips, broadcaster and co-writer of the new book Windrush: 75 Years of Modern Britain, recently said he believed the UK is “the best country in Europe for a black person to live in” and that “that this country has been pretty good for people of colour”.

Speaking on LBC’s Tonight with Andrew Marr, Labour’s Shadow Secretary David Lammy, said he agreed with Sir Phillips.

"I think I do agree with Trevor on that," he said. "You know I always say it’s my job as a Labour politician to critique the country to be better but look, I think people look across the water at France where they keep no figures on the differences between race and background but the situation is pretty dire.

“And clearly in Italy and Spain there have been some real challenges over recent times. I am impressed with what they’re doing in Germany in terms of integrating migrants.”

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David Lammy: 'The multicultural journey this country has been on has some huge successes.'

It comes as the UK marks 75 years since the Windrush generation arrived from the Caribbean.

Mr Lammy went on to praise the progress the UK has made on its “multicultural journey”.

"I do believe, notwithstanding the problems, that the multicultural journey that this country is on has some huge successes," he said.

“You see that now when you go to any Russell group university. I was at an open day at Leeds and Manchester with my son.

"It was wonderful to see people from all backgrounds making their way to those two universities."

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In 2018, it came to light that many British citizens, mostly from the Caribbean, had been threatened with detention and deportation despite having the right to live in the UK.

Many in the Windrush generation, who arrived from the Caribbean between the late 1940s and 1970s, had no record of their status and found it challenged under the Home Office's so-called "hostile environment" policy which was supposed to target illegal migrants.

It also emerged that thousands of landing card slips recording the arrival of Windrush-era immigrants were previously destroyed by the Home Office.

Then-home secretary Amber Rudd apologised in 2018 to members of the Windrush generation, and a scathing report published in 2020 found the scandal to have been "foreseeable and avoidable" and that victims were let down by "systemic operational failings" at the Home Office.

Despite setting up a compensation scheme for those affected by the scandal, the department has continued to face criticism for its handling of the situation - accused of being slow and inefficient.

But the Home Office has insisted it is "absolutely committed to righting the wrongs of the Windrush scandal".

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