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Thursday, May 03, 2018

Government closes ranks on Windrush

The Independent reports that the Conservatives have blocked attempts to force the government to release internal documents relating to the Windrush scandal. They say that the House of Commons voted down the proposal after the Tories ordered their MPs to oppose it.

Labour had tried to use an archaic parliamentary procedure to force the government to hand over the files, which they said would reveal how much ministers knew about the problems facing Windrush generation immigrants:

The party had hoped to use a technique known as a "motion to return" to compel the government to release the Windrush papers to MPs on the Home Affairs Committee.

The procedure involves asking the Queen to order ministers to hand over the relevant papers. The same technique was used earlier this year to force the release of 58 Brexit economic assessments.

The government had attempted to pre-empt the issue earlier in the day by announcing a full review into the Home Office's treatment of Windrush generation immigrants.

Speaking during Prime Minister's Questions, Theresa May confirmed the probe will be given "full access to all relevant information in the Home Office". It will have "independent oversight" and will report to Parliament before MPs go on their summer break in July, she added. ​

Labour said a fully independent inquiry by the Home Affairs Committee was needed and accused ministers of attempting a cover-up.

Openness and accountability are key parts of an effective Parliamentary democracy. It is worrying therefore when the Government uses what little majority it has to prevent proper scrutiny.
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