Windrush draft ‘branding Home Office institutionally racist was watered down’

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A warning not to water down a review into the Windrush scandal has been issued after it was reported that a portion branding the Home Office “institutionally racist” was stripped out.

The delayed independent review was commissioned after people with a right to live in the UK were wrongfully detained or deported to the Caribbean.

The Times reported sources saying the phrase “institutionally racist” was included in an earlier draft of the Windrush review led by Inspector of Constabulary Wendy Williams, but had subsequently been removed.

The Home Office said ministers are yet to see any version of the review and insisted it will be published “as soon as practicable”.

“The Windrush scandal resulted in the systematic deportation and detention of black British citizens by the UK Home Office,” the Tottenham MP said.

“The victims’ nationality and rights were denied because of the colour of their skin. If this is not institutionally racist, I have no idea what is.

“It would be an outrage and an insult to the Windrush generation for Wendy Williams’ independent review to be watered down for political reasons.”

Yvette Cooper, chairwoman of the Commons Home Affairs Committee, said it would be “completely unacceptable” if the Home Office was to “try to water down” the conclusions.

Bella Sankey, the director of human rights charity Detention Action, also warned the department against alterations now that “this genie is out of the bottle”.

“We now know the original draft of the Windrush report finds that the department’s hostile environment, detention and deportation policies are ‘institutionally racist’ and its attitude ‘defensive’,” she said.

“It further recommends that the automatic deportation of ex-offenders should end. Pressuring the independent reviewers to tone down these findings will only reinforce their accuracy.”

The Home Office did not deny the report had been toned down.

“This is an independent review being led by Wendy Williams,” a spokesman said.

“She has not yet submitted the final report to the Home Office.

“Once we have received it, we will publish it as soon as practicable. Ministers have not seen any version of the report.”

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