The home Secretary gave evidence at the Home affairs select committee today (24.02.20201). The very first question put to her was about her commitment to a fairer and more compassionate home office. The HS ensures the public that people are put first and also insists there has been training to improve the quality of HO communications. This is the only tangible response that she has in response to the Windrush lessons learned review. A big slap in the face for the victims of Windrush.
Dianne Abbott’s simple question of numbers, once again seemed a challenge to miss. Patel. How many Windrush victims have received compensation was answered with £4.1 million paid out. In short the HS seemed rather unprepared as she did not know her numbers yet again. Miss. Abbott pressed further to the exact number of people receiving compensation and once again no numbers there.
Stuart McDonald fires a different question on the accommodation given to asylum seekers at Napier barracks. The home office is relying on evidence which is not ready as of yet to refute the claims that asylum accommodation was not disgracefully inadequate. It seems the home-office is depending on bundles of evidence for this one. Regardless of independent organisations findings on the barracks, the home office refutes it all simply by saying ‘no, it’s all fine’ – yes these were the words that were used and yet has nothing to back these ‘all fine and dandy’ statements.
Stuart McDonald presses further by asking if the HS will be intending to move away from using military barracks in the future to house asylum seekers. The HS replied ‘it’s not about military barracks accommodation’ Mr McDonald stated ‘if you would house military personnel in this barracks now it is you who would be insulting our service people’
When she was asked whether she agreed to the sharing of 28 people per dormitory at Napier barracks in the middle of a pandemic. The HS replied ‘I swear to you, the dormitory area is where people sleep’ go figure.
Swiftly moving from that car crash, questions revolved around the issue of settled status for EU migrants. For instance will a care home manager have to sack his or her EU workers after the 5th of July 2021, if they have not applied for settled status? Dangerously the home-office has not got a plausible answer to this rather important question. Legally it will be illegal for them to work but miss. Patel is vehemently defensive but yet failed to answer the question.
Other questions such as the missing 40k digital records and questions around policing then followed. If you have been reading from the beginning one can guess what would have been the response to those questions too. All waffle and no substance.
We have a government that has been severely incompetent. – and this pandemic has brought it to light. Today’s HASC spelt out one thing for sure. This government has little regard for accountability. Vulnerable lives have been lost unnecessarily, a generation of people who helped rebuild this nation have been wrong done and we have a government that only wants to blame others and not themselves for their rotten decisions.