Orkney and Shetland Liberal Democrat MP, Alistair Carmichael, has challenged the government to learn lessons and initiate a deep review of Home Office policy in response to the Windrush scandal. Speaking in the House of Commons Mr Carmichael highlighted other systemic issues within the department including on the treatment of non-EEA nationals in fishing vessels.
Mr Carmichael said:
“Can I welcome the recognition by the Home Secretary that the problem here as far as the Windrush generation is not a single decision or series of decisions, it is a cultural, systemic problem within the Home Office. We’ve all seen it for years in our own casework load, right down to the attitude that entry clearance officers take towards applications in-country.
“The right to rent checks to which the Honourable Lady from Edinburgh South West referred were criticised in March last year in the courts, but still they are here. The arbitrary decision to allow foreign crews from outside the EEA to work on fishing vessels within our own waters, that has been a case that has been clear for years but just ignored by the Home Office.
“When the Home Secretary comes back, with she bring back that list of utterly irrational immigration policies that we now have along with a commitment to get rid of them?”
Responding for the government, the Home Secretary, Priti Patel MP said:
“As I’ve said, first and foremost my priority is the implementation of the Windrush recommendations, but secondly and he has heard me say this afternoon, there are many complexities within the immigration system. I want to make sure that we can simplify the immigration, make sure that it is firm but fair, and that obviously is the objective of this government in many of the immigration reforms that we are now undertaking.”
Reacting after the exchange, Mr Carmichael said:
“Windrush is a defining injustice of recent years but it is also the visible symptom of deep problems within the Home Office. These problems affect us all and it is vital that we see a root and branch rethink in the department.”