Diane Abbott has said that the government should not allow the Windrush report and its recommendations to be “buried” as a result of being published “at a time of national crisis” amid the coronavirus outbreak in the UK.
The Shadow Home Secretary made the intervention during a parliamentary debate, following the presentation of the report into the scandal, to the Home Office.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Mrs Abbott said: “We shouldn’t allow the fact that the review has been published at a time of national crisis, mean the review and its recommendations are buried.”
She outlined that the review states that the Home Office must acknowledge the wrong done, open itself up to external scrutiny and change its culture to reflect that its policies are about people and should be “rooted in humanity”.
The 275-page document reports that the government showed an “institutional ignorance and thoughtlessness towards the issue of race” and identifies “operational and organisational failures”.
Mrs Abbott went on to say: “The review into the lessons of Windrush and some genuine contrition from the government are long overdue. The verdict that there are elements of institutional racism at the Home Office is damning, and means there must be a root and branch overhaul and change of culture.
“But there must also be an end to the government’s ‘hostile environment’ policy”.
The Windrush scandal saw the UK government wrongly decide thousands of citizens were illegally residing in the country. Many were deported or detained in immigration centres as a result. Some have faced horrific trauma as a result and many families have been forced to say goodbye to loved ones. In the UK, people lost their jobs and suffered financially and emotionally.