British politics: Windrush brings down a minister

British politics: Windrush brings down a minister

Kerry Wise
May 1, 2018

Interior minister Amber Rudd resigned Sunday amid a growing scandal over the harsh treatment of elderly immigrants who were brought to the country from the Caribbean seven decades ago.

Javid - who backed the Remain campaign, but has since said his "heart" was for Brexit and spoken out against customs union membership - will immediately be tasked with sorting out the Windrush scandal, ensuring that migrants are able to obtain their United Kingdom citizenship as well as establishing a compensation scheme for those who have been affected.

And with Parliament set to debate a petition this week on an amnesty for "anyone who was a minor that arrived In Britain between 1948 to 1971", which would include the Windrush generation, May looks sure to face more questions over her government's handling of the scandal.

Mr Javid said the phrase "hostile" was "unhelpful and does not represent our values as a country", preferring "a compliant environment".

"We will do right by the Windrush generation", Javid told lawmakers in the House of Commons.

For better or worse, Home Secretary Theresa May is the Ghost of Christmas Past for former secretary Amber Rudd, and now for her brand-new replacement, Sajid Javid.

In January, India's Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju, signed an agreement with Britain on the swift return of Indian illegal immigrants from the United Kingdom, an issue that has been repeatedly raised by British government officials to their Indian counterparts.

Cabinet ministers are demanding an inquiry into how Whitehall leaks resulted in the "targeted killing" of Amber Rudd's leadership of the Home Office.

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Mr Javid also delivered a fiery riposte to shadow home secretary Diane Abbott, who asked if he was aware of the strength of feeling over the Windrush scandal, telling the Labour frontbencher that she "doesn't have a monopoly" on anger.

"She has taken the fall for her predecessor as Home Secretary, Theresa May, who must now step forward and give MPs and the country an immediate, full, and honest account of how this inexcusable situation was allowed to happen on her watch", she said.

The main opposition Labour party turned its fire on May.

Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesman said Javid, who formerly ran housing policy and before that was business minister, had "proved his drive, his ambition and his determination to get to grips with hard subjects".

The Windrush generation settled legally in post-war Britain and automatically won the right to remain in the UK. The first was the prime minister's own exposure to the fallout. I think she is very capable and will be a loss to Government.

Brexiteers didn't shed tears over the departure of Rudd, who was once considered a leading candidate for the Conservative Party leadership and was a prominent pro-E.U. voice during the June 2016 referendum over Britain's future in the bloc. Javid was a remainer, but a tepid one, at least publicly.

"When I heard about the Windrush issue I thought, 'That could be my could be my could be my could be me'".

"That could be me", Javid told the Sunday Telegraph. His parents moved to Britain from Pakistan in the 1960s, and he said the Windrush crisis hit home for him.