Home Office Staff to Be Served Jerk Chicken on Windrush Day

Tomorrow is Windrush Day, in which communities across the UK “celebrate the contribution of the Windrush Generation and their descendants”. One of those communities, it turns out, is none other than… the Home Office. Specifically, the UK Visa & Immigration civil servants up in Sheffield…

To commemorate the day, the civil servants working in the department which oversaw the whole fiasco are jazzing up their canteen menu with a smorgasbord of “Windrush themed” items. Here’s what’s being served up in the Vulcan restaurant tomorrow…

This afternoon, meanwhile, Suella Braverman has has defended the government’s handling of the Windrush compensation scheme despite figures showing just 26% of compensation claims have been successful. She also refused to apologise for the scheme. At least civil servants will be washing down jerk chicken with Caribbean burst Lucozade tomorrow instead. Delicious…


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Nick Thomas-Symonds’s Windrush Compensation Blooper

Yesterday, Nick Thomas-Symonds wrote to Priti Patel demanding the Windrush Compensation Scheme be placed under “an independent body“, claiming “the mishandling of the Windrush Compensation Scheme by Conservative Ministers has heaped insult upon injustice” and arguing the entire scheme needs to be overhauled.

This is a peculiar attack on the compensation scheme – which has already offered £30 million in compensation over the last two years – given it was actually designed with the independent oversight of Martin Forde QC. The same Martin Forde Labour’s NEC believed to be independent enough to put in charge of its inquiry into the leaked antisemitism report…

In April the Home Office also announced Professor Martin Levermore MBE had been appointed as a new “Independent Person to advise on the Windrush Compensation Scheme”, a move the department promised would be “one of a series of measures” to “right the wrongs” of the Windrush scandal. It’s not just Guido’s sources claiming the scheme is now on an improved footing – Jacqui McKenzie, who’s representing victims, also claimed improvements on today’s Politics Live:

A Tory source says: “On Windrush Day it’s a shame the Labour Party are attempting to play politics and divide people. The Windrush scandal was one which plagued successive governments and that’s why the government is doing all it can to right the wrongs.” The party of hindsight strikes again…

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Rudd Case Shows Sedwill Wrong to Put Civil Servants Above Criticism

Amber Rudd levelled some remarkable accusations at her former civil servants in the Home Office this morning following the publication of a report into the events surrounding her resignation over the Windrush Scandal. Sir Alex Allan’s report, which was completed on May 23rd but not published until today after being leaked to The Times, pointed the finger of blame at civil servants for not providing Rudd with correct briefings which led her to misleading MPs about the existence of removals targets.

Rudd herself went further on Today, effectively accusing senior civil servants of politically-motivated leaks against her:

JW: You were leaked about at the time as well – do you have a sense that this was just incompetence or was there something political as well – was there an attempt to embarrass you?

AR: It certainly felt like the latter as well… yes, there were a series of leaks during the past year at quite a high level that were definitely intended to embarrass me.

The two civil servants singled out for criticism in Allan’s report, Director General for Immigration Hugh Ind and Permanent Secretary Patsy Wilkinson, have simply been moved to other high level jobs within the civil service. Ind is now Director General at the Cabinet Office while Wilkinson has moved into a national security role. Classic civil service promotion for failure.

The whole affair makes a mockery of Mark Sedwill’s protestations only two weeks ago that civil servants should not be subject to scrutiny from the press. It is a basic fact of politics that individual civil servants have agendas and leak to the press for political reasons. It is a basic fact of life that civil servants are not infallible and sometimes make mistakes when carrying out their jobs.

Yet the notion still persists in some quarters that civil servants should be immune to political criticism despite carrying out political attacks of their own, while politicians take the flak for officials’ mistakes even as the Whitehall gravy train ensures that the officials responsible still have a cushy job at the end of it all. Funny how many of those rushing to defend Robbins now want officials’ heads to roll over Rudd…

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May Won’t Apologise for Windrush Policy

Theresa May repeatedly refuses to apologise for her “hostile environment” policy which led to the Windrush Scandal. Her only apology is for “the fact that some people who should not have been caught up in that were caught in that”…

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Sajid Apologises Again to Windrush Victims

The Home Secretary apologises to “everyone that was affected” by the Windrush Scandal, saying “it was wrong in every way and I will do everything I can to put it right”. He tells Marr that people affected will be “properly” compensated “in the coming weeks”.

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Tories on Three Line Whip to Vote Against Windrush Transparency

Labour has used its opposition day debate to put the government’s back against the wall over Windrush, tabling this motion which attempts to force the effective publication of all internal discussions about the Windrush cohort over the past eight years. That would mean we could find out what happened inside the Home Office when May was in charge…

Tory MPs were put on a three-line whip this morning to vote against the motion, which looks like a vote against transparency, all the more awkward the day before the local elections. Labour are already gearing up to call “cover up”:

What could they possibly have to hide…

UPDATE: A Labour Party source said:

“If the architect of this cruel farce, the Prime Minister, is ordering her MPs to vote to keep her role in this mess hidden from the public, it exposes the Tories’ crocodile tears on the Windrush scandal as a sham.  We need answers, not further cover ups to save Theresa May from facing up to her involvement in the removal of rights, detentions and possible deportations of British citizens.  After letting Rudd take the fall for her decisions, how can the public have any trust in the Prime Minister?”

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