Home Office’s £6 million Windrush bill revealed
Responding to new details of the Windrush scandal, published today, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey has called for the Home Office to be stripped of responsibility for immigration altogether.
In a letter to Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee, the Home Secretary has revealed that, of the 164 people who were wrongly detained or deported, 16 are deceased. This is up from the 11 people who had been identified as deceased last month.
The letter also reveals that the Home Office has now spent £6.05 million in response to the Windrush scandal, including £165,455.75 on independent advisers and consultants and £56,623.85 on external legal advice.
Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey said:
Each month, the scale of the damage done by the Windrush scandal becomes clearer.
We now know that at least 16 people who were wrongfully detained or deported have since passed away and will never receive any apology or compensation for the appalling wrongs done to them.
And we’ve also learned that the Home Office has now spent more than £6 million responding to the scandal – money that could’ve been far better spent fixing our immigration system and investing in public services.
The Liberal Democrats demand better. We will prevent a repeat of the Windrush scandal by dismantling the Tories’ hostile environment and taking responsibility for immigration away from the Home Office and its toxic culture.
Lamb: Labour’s abstention on cannabis vote ‘deeply depressing’
Responding to the narrow defeat of his Cannabis (Legalisation and Regulation) Bill yesterday, in which Labour MPs were whipped against supporting the legislation, former Health Minister Norman Lamb said:
While it was sadly predictable that the Conservatives would block reform of our harmful and outdated drugs laws, it was deeply depressing to see the vast majority of Labour MPs sit on their hands and abstain.
It underlines the hypocrisy of Labour’s claim to offer a radical, progressive alternative to the Conservatives. The truth is that Labour remains a deeply small-c conservative party in many respects, driven by tough rhetoric and a tendency to ban what it doesn’t like rather than following the evidence. I applaud those MPs who voted in support of the Bill and strongly encourage others to reconsider.
The war on drugs has been an unmitigated failure, leaving young people vulnerable to dangerous strains of cannabis sold by dealers who have absolutely no interest in their welfare.
The Liberal Democrats are the only party calling for a pragmatic, evidence-based approach to cannabis which focuses on protecting public health. Only by legalising and regulating cannabis can we minimise the harms of this drug and protect the well-being of our children and young people.
Lib Dems demand more action on ‘dangerous’ short prison sentences
Responding to the Prisons Minister’s appearance before the Justice Select Committee today, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey has called on the Government to introduce “a presumption against short prison sentences and greater use of community sentences”.
The Prisons Minister, Rory Stewart, told the committee that the “wrong kind of short sentences actually endangers the public” because they increase re-offending and destabilise prisons. He also announced that the Ministry of Justice now has a new GPS tagging system that allows it to monitor offenders in the community.
Ed Davey said:
It is good to hear Tory Ministers finally admit what the Liberal Democrats have long been arguing: short prison sentences don’t cut crime.
But despite the evidence, the Government is trying to create even more short sentences. Even worse, some of these are mandatory sentences, which will tie judges’ hands and worsen prison overcrowding while failing to actually prevent crime.
The Liberal Democrats demand better. We need a little less talk from Ministers about ending short sentences, and a little more action.
That’s why we are opposing the Government’s new mandatory sentences, and calling for a presumption against short prison sentences and greater use of tough community sentences, which ha
‘Gold-plated’ visa chaos shows Home Office can’t take back control
Responding to today’s U-turn on suspending ‘gold-plated’ visas, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey has attacked the Government’s immigration plans as “simply unworkable”.
Last week, Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes announced that tier 1 (investor) visas would be suspended from midnight last Friday, due to concerns that they were being used for money laundering. However, the Home Office Migration Policy Department confirmed today that the scheme “is not currently suspended”.
Ed Davey said:
The Home Office can’t even take action on one small part of the immigration system without creating chaos and confusion. How do the Tories expect it to cope with a whole new system for millions of European workers if we leave the EU?
The truth is that Theresa May’s plans are simply unworkable. That’s why she has refused to publish her immigration white paper for more than a year – because she knows it will expose the hollowness of her promise to ‘take back control’.
The Liberal Democrats demand better. Now that Theresa May has delayed the meaningful vote on her Brexit deal, there’s no excuse for her not to publish the white paper beforehand, so that MPs can properly scrutinise the proposals.
Lamb: It is shameful that we continue to criminalise cannabis users
Responding to the narrow defeat of his Ten Minute Rule Bill that sought to legalise and regulate the use of cannabis in the UK, former Health Minister Norman Lamb said:
Its depressing that rational, evidence-based reform was opposed by Conservative MPs.
It is total hypocrisy that the most dangerous drug of all, in terms of harm to yourself and others, alcohol, is consumed in large quantities right here in our national Parliament, whilst we criminalise others for using a less dangerous drug – with many using it for the relief of pain.
It is shameful that we continue to criminalise people who use cannabis for the relief of pain. It is equally shameful that we criminalise many young people for using cannabis, when many people in Government will have themselves used cannabis at some stage of their lives.
ECJ ruling means no-deal can be ruled out and Brexit halted
Responding to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling the UK can halt Brexit by unilaterally revoking Article 50, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson and one of the MPs who brought the case Tom Brake said:
Liberal Democrats have fought tooth and nail to give the people the final say on Brexit. We are now closer than ever before.
The ECJ has made clear that the UK can stop Brexit unilaterally. The Government can therefore prevent a chaotic no-deal. For the sake of people’s livelihoods, the Prime Minister must end the uncertainlty and rule out a no-deal.
It is clear any Brexit will make people poorer and reduce the UK’s standing in the world. MPs should not only vote down Theresa May’s deal, but back a People’s Vote with the option to remain in the EU.
Davey: Tories have a lot to answer for over failure of energy market
Responding to the news that OneSelect have gone bust, the seventh household energy supplier of the year to do so, leaving 36,000 customers without a supplier, Ed Davey, former Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change said:
This is a deeply worrying trend for consumers, four energy supplier have gone in just a month. Not only does this create major uncertainty for customers, but also undermines competition in the market. People will not switch if they think their new supplier will go under.
The Tories have a lot to answer for, rather than trying to sure up competition in the market they’ve pursed their price cap folly, which clearly has had a negative affect on the small suppliers as the costs rise. Liberal Democrats demand better.
We would scrap the Tories price cap and instead bring in measures to effectively boost competition, while strengthening the rules to ensure smaller suppliers can stand on their own two feet and provided a decent service to customers, while offering cheaper deals.
The Economist backs a people’s vote
Responding to the endorsement of a people’s vote by The Economist, Brexit Select Committee Member and Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse said:
It is great to see that with each day, more and more people are backing our call for a people’s vote. We welcome all those who wish to join us in the fight against this Brexit chaos created by the Tories.
The Conservative government have brought back a deal that nobody wanted nor voted for. It is time the people were given a final say on Brexit, with the option to remain in the EU.
Brexit plans could lead to European Windrush scandal
Responding to the Department for Exiting the EU’s policy paper on Citizens’ Rights, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Home Affairs Ed Davey said:
The Government has finally admitted that free movement of labour won’t end this March.
The fact they tried to sneak this out shows yet again that people can’t trust anything this Government says on Brexit and immigration – they are still refusing to publish their Immigration White Paper, which is supposed to tell us how immigration policy will work after Brexit.
The reality is this Government knows immigration benefits the UK and is needed – but they dare not tell people the truth. So instead the Prime Minister panders to prejudice and calls EU citizens aren’t ‘queue jumpers’, – when in reality they are our neighbours and our friends, our NHS workers and our farm labourers.
And even today’s statement is misleading. Everyone knows that many eligible EU citizens won’t get their settled status papers from this incompetent Government and Home Office by the end of the application period. There’s now a danger of a European Windrush.
Mental Health Review must lead to more investment
Responding to the Independent Review of the Mental Health Act, former Liberal Democrat Health Minister Norman Lamb said:
I am grateful to Simon Wessely for the work he has done on the Independent Review of the Mental Health Act.
While I welcome the outcome of the review, I believe this must be a first step towards more radical reforms.
In the Government’s response to the Review, there must be a commitment to invest more money to support those at crisis point and help people before they reach crisis point. The Conservatives to date have failed to adequately invest in Mental Health. Without strong goals and commitments from the Government, rising detention rates will not be adequately challenged.
Liberal Democrats demand better for patients. Where the Conservatives have failed, the Liberal Democrats would invest money and deliver the reforms necessary.