Windrush family tells James O'Brien of "appalling" government treatment since scandal

22 June 2020, 14:14 | Updated: 22 June 2020, 14:15

By Fiona Jones

The daughter of a Windrush victim tells James O'Brien of the "appalling" treatment her elderly father has received from the government since the scandal was unearthed.

Clayton Barnes is part of the Windrush generation and came to the UK in 1959 - he was not permitted to re-enter the UK for eight years after a holiday to Jamaica. His daughter, Samantha, told James O'Brien her father was not allowed to board the plane back to the UK and was told he had no status in the country.

"This we couldn't understand because he'd worked here all his life and he had a mortgage here, he got married here, I was born here," she said, telling James she thought her father was joking at first.

Samantha thought her father's story was an isolated case until the media highlighted the situation and Labour MP David Lammy started a petition to give those affected justice.

Her father now has a biometric card which is an indefinite leave to stay which he had before it was seized at the airport in Jamaica.

"We received a letter about a year ago...that said he would not be able to apply for a British citizenship until he's remained in the country for a further five years because he'd been out the country for eight years," said Samantha, highlighting he'd been out of the country for that long because he'd not been allowed back in the UK.

"That's just an application, that's not to be granted citizenship," Samantha said, "the indefinite leave to remain was something that was there in the first place, we haven't been given anything extra."

She said that her family have not received an apology, compensation or contact from the government since the letter outlining a five year rule: "My father's 84 and that's if he's still alive in that period of time."

Clayton Barnes is still jolly and quite relaxed about his nationality status, Samantha told James, but "that's just the way he is."

Samantha said that two years ago she expected by now an apology for the government and the Windrush arrivals to gain UK citizenship, calling the government's inaction "appalling": "We've not achieved a thing, we're nowhere further on than we were two years ago when that situation arose."

James observed that there has still been no explanation why UK citizenship has not been granted and there is no prospect of improvement any time soon.

"A lot of this generation are going to pass before it all gets resolved," she told James.

Windrush Day marks 72 years since the Empire Windrush arrived in England, bringing around 500 people from Jamaica at the invitation of the British government to help rebuild the UK in the aftermath of the Second World War.

In the Windrush scandal of 2018, it was revealed the Home Office did not keep a record of the Windrush arrivals that were granted leave to remain in the UK, with landing cards being destroyed in 2010 by the government.

It led to the wrongful detainment of the Windrush generation and their children, with some people even being deported.