TIM LOUGHTON: Windrush issue should have been sorted sooner
It was another tumultuous start to the week at Westminster with the resignation of Home Secretary Amber Rudd in the wake of the so-called Windrush scandal.
As a member of the Home Affairs Select Committee I was one of those who interrogated the former Home Secretary when she made her comments about targets for removal of illegal immigrants, not helped by the senior civil servant sitting next to her who clearly should have briefed her better.
As I pointed out, this whole issue could and should have been dealt with many years ago when it was clear that many British citizens who came to the UK as part of the Windrush generation for whatever reason had not come forward to secure the paperwork which proved their status.
The fact that it has come to light now is a result of the crackdown which the Government has quite rightly instigated to identify those people illegally in the UK and abusing our hospitality.
It was never intended to prejudice those people in the UK legitimately and, despite rather a lot of heated claims, no one has actually been identified as having been deported wrongly.
I know from the masses of documents that were put in my red box by civil servants every day in my time as a minister how demanding it is to keep on top of everything as well as look after your constituency interests.
Running the Home Office is probably one of the most challenging departments in government and Amber has fallen foul of the curse of that department, which saw no fewer than six home secretaries under the last Labour government alone.
But politics is a cruel business and I am particularly sad to see the departure of my Sussex colleague, given her obvious talents and immense drive to make people’s lives better.
There was more than an element of politics on show when I was one of the judges at the mayor’s public speaking competition at the town hall which saw teams from Chatsmore, Davison, Worthing High School and Durrington High School pit their debating skills against each other.
Topics included the merits of single-sex schools, votes at 16 and taxing junk food and the standard was very impressive with Davison eventually emerging victorious.
This was a great initiative by mayor Alex Harman, who will be standing down shortly after a very successful year as England’s youngest mayor, and a great advert for how, contrary to popular belief, we start them young in Worthing.
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