On Monday 23 April, the Home Secretary was summoned to the House of Commons to answer an Urgent Question on her handling of cases where citizens who came to Britain from Commonwealth countries between 1948 and 1971 have been asked to prove their immigration status.
I again challenged Amber Rudd to change the culture of disbelief that permeates her department. This has led to the scandalous uncertainty currently being experienced by these honoured citizens.
I am organising a community meeting this Saturday (27 April) at the King Centre on King Square from 2:30pm-4pm for anyone who has been – or is worried they might be – affected. And I’m glad that Amber Rudd confirmed that Home Office officials will attend to help provide guidance and explain what steps residents in Bristol West can take.
But I hold Amber Rudd responsible for the way her department has handled this situation, and I will not allow her to shift blame to her staff. She told me the week before, in response to my question then, that my constituents should be able to “trust the Home Office”. And I want to believe that she will institute a change of culture in her department that allows that to happen. But it needs to happen soon, and the government’s handling of these cases – and so many others that my team and I encounter – do not fill me with confidence.
I need to see concrete action before I will take the Home Secretary at her word.
Last week, the Home Secretary said that I should tell my constituents that they could trust the Home Office. I have arranged a community meeting this Saturday, and Home Office officials have been helpful, for which I am grateful. However, the Home Secretary leads a Department in which there is a culture of disbelief. I hold her, not her staff, responsible. How will she change that culture so that people in Bristol West can truly trust the Home Office, which I want them to be able to do?
Amber Rudd (Home Secretary)
I have spoken to my staff, and I am aware that they are going to assist the hon. Lady in Bristol West. As the hon. Member for Manchester Central (Lucy Powell) mentioned, I hope that the hon. Lady will notice a difference in Home Office assistance going forward. Bristol West will have the benefit not only of the arrangement that she has put in place but of staff going to attend to provide support in that analysis. I hope that that will be appreciated by the people who need it in her constituency.
You can watch the exchange here: