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Ipswich MP brands treatment of Windrush generation as ‘monstrous’

PUBLISHED: 17:29 16 April 2018 | UPDATED: 17:29 16 April 2018

Ipswich MP Sandy Martin said it was the worst he had seen. Picture: SEANA HUGHES

Ipswich MP Sandy Martin said it was the worst he had seen. Picture: SEANA HUGHES

Ipswich MP Sandy Martin has described the government’s treatment of long-term African-Caribbean migrants as ‘monstrous’ - comparing it to the attitudes of Enoch Powell.

File photo dated 22/06/48 of Jamaican immigrants being welcomed by RAF officials from the Colonial Office after the ex-troopship HMT File photo dated 22/06/48 of Jamaican immigrants being welcomed by RAF officials from the Colonial Office after the ex-troopship HMT "Empire Windrush" landed them at Tilbury. International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt has told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that improvements need to be made in dealing with the concerns of some of the "Windrush-generation" of long-term immigrants to Britain from the Caribbean. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 16, 2018. See PA story POLITICS Windrush. Photo credit should read: PA Wire

Mr. Martin’s comments came as more than 140 MPs across all parties signed a letter to Theresa May calling for a ‘humane’ solution for Commonwealth-born, long-term British residents who have been incorrectly identified as illegal immigrants.

Known as the Windrush generation, in reference to the HMS Windrush which first brought workers from the West Indies to Britain in 1948, they were given indefinite leave to remain but the Home Office did not keep a record of their status.

Changes to UK immigration law have now made it difficult for migrants such as those from the Caribbean to prove they are in the UK legally.

He said: “No civilised country would behave in this monstrous way, and I cannot believe that this sort of behaviour would continue if the people affected were white Australians or South Africans.

“There does appear to be some similarity between the criteria used by the Home Office in these cases and the attitudes of Enoch Powell.”

The African-Caribbean community in Ipswich is long-established, and an African and Caribbean Community Health Awareness Day was held in the town as part of Suffolk Black History Month in November.

Sprites ward councillor Hamil Clarke said: “I don’t understand why this is happening as they are British – whether they are documented or not is immaterial.

“They have been living here for 50-60 years so I don’t see why they should be treated this way.”

Home secretary Amber Rudd today announced a new task force to help those affected, and offered an apology in the House of Commons to members of the Windrush generation.

The Prime Minister is due to meet her counterparts from other Commonwealth countries this week to discuss the issue, after 12 of the organisations’ leaders requested a meeting.

Mrs. May’s spokesman said that the Prime Minister ‘deeply values the contribution made by these and all Commonwealth citizens who have made a life in the UK’ and ‘no-one with the right to be here will be made to leave’.

Have you been affected? Email charlie.coe@archant.co.uk

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