'Disgracefully' treated Windrush citizens should be formally recognised as British immediately, says Leeds MP who represents one of UK's largest Caribbean communities

The treatment of Windrush generation by the Government has been a "disgrace" and they should be formally given British citizenship immediately, an MP who represents one of the largest Caribbean communities in the UK has said.

Jamaican immigrants being welcomed by RAF officials from the Colonial Office after the ex-troopship HMT "Empire Windrush" landed them at Tilbury in 1948.
Jamaican immigrants being welcomed by RAF officials from the Colonial Office after the ex-troopship HMT "Empire Windrush" landed them at Tilbury in 1948.

Leeds North East MP Fabian Hamilton urged Theresa May to "show some leadership" and "step in" amid anger that "effective citizens" who have lived in Britain since they were schoolchildren were now being denied access to healthcare, held in immigration detention centres, and threatened with deportation due to paperwork issues.

Amid widespread criticism over "hostile environment" immigration policies developed while she was home secretary, the Prime Minister told her Jamaican counterpart Andrew Holness the Government was working to ensure people are given the correct support to give them certainty about their right to reside in Britain.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

But Labour MP David Lammy, who has described their treatment as a "national shame", said his office was still receiving phone calls about children of the Windrush generation being told they are to be deported.

Chapeltown in Leeds is home to one of the largest communities of the Windrush generation, who arrived in the UK as long ago as the 1940s in response to a labour shortage following the Second World War.

The area's MP, Labour's Mr Hamilton, said: "Some of the largest communities of the Windrush generation and their children is based in Chapeltown in my Leeds North East constituency.

"Many came to Britain following the Second World War to help rebuild this country, while others served alongside British troops in the First and Second World Wars.

"They have paid their taxes, their national insurance and have contributed so much more to our society. They are effectively citizens of this country who have been wrongfully put in detention, denied health care under the NHS and, in some cases, deported in error.

"It is a disgrace that so many people from the Windrush generation’ are now being asked to prove that they can remain in this country.

"This has been allowed to happen on the current Home Secretary’s watch, and it is now time for the Prime Minister to show some leadership, step in, and ensure that all those affected by this scandal are given the formal right to stay in the country that has become their own over fifty or more years and to now be given British citizenship."

Mr Lammy tweeted: "My office has just received a phone call about the son of Windrush Generation citizen being deported TOMORROW. Halt this deportation and all further deportations immediately."

Earlier, Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington said the Home Office was still not aware of any cases where Windrush generation UK residents had been wrongly deported.

There had been confusion on Monday, after Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes appeared to suggest that some individuals may already have been deported in error.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd later told MPs she was not aware of any specific cases.

Mr Lidington told BBC Radio 4's Today: "I talked to the Home Secretary about this last night and the position is that we have no information.

"We don't know of any cases where someone has been deported from this category."

He added that Home Office staff were searching records to see if anything had gone "appallingly wrong in that way".

In the Commons on Monday, Ms Rudd said the Home Office had become "too concerned with policy and strategy" at the expense of the individual.

"I do not want any of the Commonwealth citizens who are here legally to be impacted in the way they have," she told MPs.

"Frankly, some of the ways they have been treated has been wrong, has been appalling and I am sorry."

Following talks between Mrs May and Mr Holness at Downing Street, a Number 10 spokesman said: “The Prime Minister said she deeply valued the contribution made by the Windrush generation and all Commonwealth citizens who have made a life in the UK, and that the UK Government would ensure the correct support was in place to give people certainty about their existing right to reside here."