Labour promises to re-establish Windrush Unit and appoint commissioner

Yvette Cooper says Labour would "turn a page" on the scandal
Photo: SIPA US/Alamy

By Tevye Markson

24 Jun 2024

Labour would re-establish the Home Office’s Windrush unit and appoint a Windrush commissioner, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper has said.

Writing for the Guardian to mark Windrush Day,  Cooper said the Labour government would  “turn the page” on the Windrush scandal with a series of measures.

Cooper said the new Windrush commissioner would oversee the delivery of the compensation scheme and the implementation of the Wendy Williams Lessons Learned Review and be a “voice for families and communities in making sure change happens”. She said bringing back the Windrush Unit, which was disbanded by then-home secretary Suella Braverman in June 2023, would "continue the vital transformation work it had started within the department to embed lasting cultural change".

“Trust needs to be rebuilt between Windrush victims and campaigners and the Home Office,” she added.

Cooper said a Labour government would also restore community engagements to encourage applications and bring back reconciliation events with members of the Windrush generation, as promised by the Conservatives after the Wendy Williams Lessons Learned review but later abandoned by Suella Braverman.

And she said Labour would speed up compensation payments, and “if the scheme continues to fail, we’ll overhaul it entirely to ensure it commands the confidence of the community”.

Cooper, who was chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee when the scandal came to light, said  Labour is “determined to ensure that there is meaningful change so that a scandal like Windrush can never happen again”.

The scandal saw members of the Windrush generation (people who migrated to the UK from the Carribbean between 1948 and 1971) denied access to public services and jobs – with some victims wrongly deported from the UK.

As well as closing the Windrush Unit, Braverman, in January 2023, scrapped commitments to run reconciliation events for victims, introduce a commissioner responsible for migrants, and review the role and remit of the independent chief inspector of borders and immigration.

Last week, a High Court judge ruled that the Home Office's decision to scrap the latter two commitments was unlawful.

 

 

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