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Volume 667: debated on Thursday 31 October 2019

The petition of Residents of the United Kingdom,

Declares that the Prime Minister has spoken at great length recently about her legacy; further that if she leaves office before resolving the Windrush scandal and the many outstanding cases, then this will be her legacy; further that the Prime Minister should offer more than warm words and take action to solve the crisis she created; further that in 1948, individuals throughout the British Empire received citizenship under the British Nationality Act; further that these citizens, some from the Caribbean, came to the United Kingdom in order to help rebuild the country after the war; further that these citizens lived here, worked here and raised families here; further that the hostile environment policy accelerated during Mrs May's time as Home Secretary led to many of these citizens losing their rights and in some cases being deported back to the Caribbean; further that others lost jobs, were forced into debt and suffer from immense stress and fear because of the policy; further that the former Home Secretary Amber Rudd said in April 2018 that it would only take two weeks to resolve the Windrush cases, however over a year has passed and there is still a significant number of outstanding cases; further that what has been done to these British citizens is outrageous, unfair and must end; further that a petition initiated by Dawn Butler MP on this matter has received over 9,600 signatures.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Prime Minister Theresa May and the Government to resolve all outstanding Windrush cases by Wednesday 24th of July.

And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Dawn Butler, Official Report, 23 July 2019; Vol. 663, c. 1273.]


Observations from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Seema Kennedy):

This Government have apologised for the harm suffered by the Windrush generation and have vowed to right the wrongs that had been done to them.

On 16 April 2018, the Home Office established the Windrush taskforce in order to give people the documents they need to demonstrate their status here. As part of this we gave an undertaking to complete applications within two weeks of receiving all the evidence being gathered. Usually this will be from the point that a person’s biometrics are taken, although in some cases further evidence is supplied by the applicant or other sources after this point. The Home Office has always acknowledged that some decisions will fall outside these timescales due to their complexity.

In May 2018, we launched the Windrush scheme, giving a free route, with reduced requirements, to British citizenship. While we have reduced the requirements for individuals, the Home Office does make additional checks on citizenship applications than for applications for confirmation of status and, as a result, we have not stipulated a timescale for these decisions. We continue to process applications as quickly as possible with careful consideration being made to each application.

We have now granted status, including citizenship to over 8,100 people but applications continue to be made under the scheme, and that is why there is continued work in progress. However, the scheme has also invited some claims that are without merit and a number fall for refusal. None of the refusal decisions have been made lightly, and all decisions have had lengthy and detailed consideration. The decision to refuse in these cases has been checked and challenged extensively.

Further to the Windrush taskforce and the Windrush scheme, the Home Office launched the Windrush compensation scheme on 3 April 2019 which followed the launch of an urgent and exceptional payment scheme on 17 December 2018.

On 26 September, the Home Secretary launched the Windrush advisory group, where community and faith leaders were brought together to advise on how the department can maximise the number of people applying to the Windrush compensation scheme. In September, we also launched the second phase of engagement and outreach to promote the compensation scheme and the wider work of the taskforce. Events are being held across the country, including in Lewisham, Liverpool, Sandwell, Leeds and Southwark.

The Home Office is also attending some events in partnership with, and arranged by external partners. Full details are available at: