In response to the letter John Turbefield wrote regarding my voting decision on the 2nd May, I wanted to ensure that constituents are aware of my absolute commitment to support the Windrush Generation and that the Government is doing everything in its power to give them the help they need to get properly documented.
All parties agree that the Windrush group have been treated badly, through no fault of their own.
I want to explain why I voted against the Opposition’s humble address procedure, to require the publication of Home Office documents relating to this case.
In my view the most important thing to do at this stage is to take action to support the Windrush generation and compensate them for any losses they have suffered.
The action proposed by the opposition will not speed up the measures to help the Windrush generation, rather it will divert resources and the focus from those who should be fixing the issues.
Also the scope of the review would be over decades which would be a costly process and to what end?
This was a one-off decision made decades ago to not properly document those people arriving in the UK.
This would not happen today and in my view this is a time for urgent action not more words.
The Government has already taken steps to right the wrongs done to the Windrush Generation.
A new dedicated task force has been set up, with professional caseworkers who are there to support people and ensure they have full access to benefits and services in this country.
Thus far they have received 7,000 calls, with an estimated 3,000 of those from potential Windrush people.
Appreciating that many may not be able, or willing, to speak on the telephone, caseworkers are inviting people to dedicated service centres around the country, of course reimbursing travel costs. Thus far, 700 appointments have been scheduled and 100 cases have been resolved.
Furthermore, some people have suffered financial loss and therefore the Government is putting in place a financial compensation scheme.
The Labour Party motion would not provide any benefit to the British men and women of the Windrush generation but instead was politically motivated.
In my view the only justifiable reason to agree with the motion would be to learn lessons, and on balance I feel that this is such a unique situation there is unlikely to be any value which could be used to improve future immigration processes.
In particular documentation methods have changed over the years and there have been many advances in technology.
This is not to say we shouldn’t look into the case, and the announcement by the Home Secretary, the Rt Hon Sajid Javid, confirmed that he will come to the House with a report on how this happened, why it wasn’t spotted sooner, and if there is still more his Department should be doing.I will continue to follow this matter closely.
Like with every vote that I make, I choose which lobby to pass through based on my belief of what is the right thing to do and with my constituents front of mind.
Gillian Keegan, MP for Chichester