Government’s failure to implement Windrush decisions is unlawful

UNISON among parties to judicial review of Home Office actions

The government’s decision to scrap recommendations made by an independent review into the Windrush scandal was unlawful, says UNISON today (Tuesday).

Over the next two days at the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand, the union will be putting forward legal arguments to support the case brought by Windrush scandal victim Trevor Donald.

Mr Donald is challenging the decision taken in early 2023 by the then home secretary Suella Braverman to scrap three of the recommendations hailing from the Windrush Learned Lessons Review.

When Wendy Williams first published her independent review into the government’s treatment of the Windrush generation in 2020, Priti Patel, who was home secretary at the time, had accepted all 30 of them.

Back in December 2023, Mr Donald was granted permission to seek a judicial review of Suella Braverman’s actions. At the same time UNISON and the Black Equity Organisation were also given the go-ahead to join his case.

All parties are arguing that the Home Office acted unlawfully when it ditched the three recommendations.

These covered a commitment to establish a migrants commissioner, a strengthening of the powers of the independent chief inspector of borders and immigration, and the holding of reconciliation events for affected individuals and their families.

UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said: “People who had come to Britain to live and work legally – many of them in the UK’s key public services –found themselves stripped of their rights, with their lives in ruins.

“The public was horrified at the hostile environment being whipped up by the government and appalled at the vile treatment of so many ordinary working people, too many of whom had already faced racism throughout their lives.

“The Learned Lessons Review was an attempt to put right the damage. All its recommendations had been accepted, but then Suella Braverman came along and threw a wrecking ball into the proceedings.

“This judicial review will hopefully right those wrongs and win for the many people in the Windrush generation who’ve been treated so very badly by the government.”

The 2018 Windrush scandal revealed that numerous individuals who’d come to Britain from the Caribbean had been treated appallingly. They’d been wrongly detained, threatened with deportation or kicked out of the country entirely. People affected lost their homes, their jobs, contact with their families and were denied access to health services and benefits.

Notes to editors:
– The claimant in the judicial review, Trevor Donald, arrived in the UK in 1967, aged 12, and was granted indefinite leave to remain in 1971. But when he visited Jamaica in 2010 to attend his mother’s funeral, he was prevented from returning to the UK and exiled for nine years before the scandal finally came to light.
– UNISON’s application to the High Court was supported by evidence from UNISON member Michael Braithwaite, a London teaching assistant, who works in particular with children with special educational needs. Michael lost his job due to the Windrush scandal, which he called “a total nightmare that destroyed my life.” 

– UNISON is the UK’s largest union with more than 1.3 million members providing public services in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.

Media contact:
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