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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 September 2018

UK's Javid refuses to deny staff paid bonuses for Windrush deportations

The new home secretary admitted that individuals had been let down by the scandal

Britain's home secretary Sajid Javid said 63 cases of potential wrongful deportations have been identified over the Windrush scandal. Hannah McKay / Reuters
Britain's home secretary Sajid Javid said 63 cases of potential wrongful deportations have been identified over the Windrush scandal. Hannah McKay / Reuters

Britain's new home secretary has refused to deny that Whitehall officials were paid bonuses for the removal of illegal immigrants, during another heated exchange in parliament on the Windrush scandal.

Sajid Javid, who was appointed to the role on Monday, admitted that individuals had been let down by the fiasco. Speaking to MPs on Wednesday, he insisted that he would do whatever is needed to make things right.

Labour MP Catherine West responded by asking Mr Javid to clarify whether bonuses were paid to civil servants for the removal of illegal immigrants. When Mr Javid attempted to skirt the issue by saying that ministers are not involved in bonuses, other opposition MPs pointed out that he was refusing to deny that such payments were made.

The exchange came as Britain's government launched a review into the treatment of some Caribbean migrants who were invited to the UK after World War Two but have been left without documents and denied basic rights.

Prime Minister Theresa May, a former interior minister who once led efforts to tackle illegal immigration, appointed Mr Javid as the new home secretary this week to try to draw a line under the scandal that has threatened her authority as she negotiates Brexit.

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Mr Javid, the son of immigrants from Pakistan, pledged that his new department would learn the lessons of what happened to the so-called "Windrush generation" from the review, which would be concluded before the summer.

"This review will seek to draw out how members of the Windrush generation came to be entangled in measures designed for illegal immigrants, why that was not spotted sooner and whether the right corrective measures are now in place," Mr Javid told parliament.

He said he would keep parliament informed monthly on the review's progress and the "latest position on detentions, removals and deportations".

The scandal has weighed on Mrs May, and the Labour Party has pressed for a full inquiry, calling on the government to release documents, emails and texts from 2010, when she herself was home secretary.

"It appears that the prime minister, by asking the new home secretary to conduct an inquiry separately, without any of the clear processes and powers that we're talking about, is trying to avoid accountability," a Labour spokesman told reporters.

"The suspicion must be that this is part of a continuing cover-up to avoid the prime minister's own role in what took place being exposed."

Mrs May's team pushed back, saying Mr Javid's review was the "appropriate way forward", allowing the government to move quickly.

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