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Rudd faces calls to quit over Windrush scandal

The Home Secretary is facing calls to resign over the Windrush scandal, as the Labour leader prepares to lay the blame squarely at Theresa May’s feet.

The SNP’s leader in Westminster has called Amber Rudd’s position “untenable” after hundreds of people who moved to Britain in the Windrush generation found their migration status under challenge.

Ian Blackford MP said: “Amber Rudd has failed in her responsibilities – she has shown the Home Office at its most incompetent and callous – and has undoubtedly damaged the UK’s standing and reputation.

“It is now time for the Home Secretary who has presided over this appalling mess to consider her position.

“Theresa May must show leadership over the scandal – it is unbelievable that we have not seen a sacking or resignation in the Home Office.”

Ian Blackford (C) is calling for Amber Rudd to step down
Image: Ian Blackford (C) is calling for Amber Rudd to step down

He added: “It was Theresa May who advocated the ‘hostile environment’ policies and championed the Tories anti-immigrant rhetoric. It was the Prime Minister who had to be embarrassed into meeting Caribbean leaders after initially refusing their requests.

“The deliberate decision to dispose of the landing cards of Windrush-generation residents was utterly unacceptable – whichever Westminster government decreed it.”

Labour MP Emily Thornberry also suggested Mrs Rudd should “consider her position”.

:: What it’s like to face deportation after decades in the UK

22nd June 1948: The ex-troopship 'Empire Windrush' arriving at Tilbury Docks from Jamaica, with 482 Jamaicans on board, emigrating to Britain
Video: Calls for Rudd to step down over Windrush

But Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is expected to blame the Prime Minister personally today when he address the Welsh Party’s conference in Llandudno.

He will say: “This week, something rotten at the heart of Government has come to the surface.

“The Windrush scandal has exposed how British citizens who came to our country to rebuild it after the war have faced deportation because they couldn’t clear the deliberately unreachable bar set by Theresa May’s ‘hostile environment’ for migrants.

The SNP's Westminster leader called her position untenable
Image: The SNP’s Westminster leader called her position untenable

“And it’s not as if they weren’t warned. At the time the Tories were pushing their hostile environment policy through Parliament some of us, sadly far too few, warned about the consequences for those born in the UK and those born abroad alike.

“So now we’re seeing those consequences in a string of harrowing human stories. People’s lives ripped apart because of the personal decisions and actions of Theresa May and her Government.”

The war of words came after some relief was found for thousands of the Windrush generation, who may discover their landing cards at the National Archives in Kew.

West Indian residents arrived in Britain after the Second World War
Image: West Indian residents arrived in Britain after the Second World War

Many of those who arrived from the West Indies from the late 1940s onwards lack these records, having never applied for British citizenship or passports, and are now struggling to prove they living in the UK legally.

But it has emerged details of their arrival in Britain should have been recorded on passenger lists drawn up for the Board of Trade between 1878 and 1960, which are now in the National Archives.

The Government is trying to settle more than 200 cases of people who came to the UK in the 1940s or 1970s and Mrs May has said there could be compensation for some.

Two West Indian immigrants describe their experience of the Windrush scandal
Video: Windrush: ‘Today I got my result’

A Home Office spokesman said: “The Home Secretary has been clear, this is about people who have built their lives here in the UK and contributed so much to our society. We don’t want them to feel unwelcome or to be in any doubt about their right to remain here and she has apologised unreservedly for any distress caused.

More from Amber Rudd

“The vast majority will already have documentation that proves their right to be here. For those that don’t, we have established a new dedicated team to quickly help them get the documentation they need and ensure this is resolved as soon as possible.

“We’ve also set up a webpage and have been speaking to charities, community groups and High Commissioners to ensure advice and reassurance is provided to those affected.”

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