Suella Braverman has provoked outrage over a U-turn on key pledges after the Windrush scandal and with her controversial plans to x-ray vulnerable child refugees.
The home secretary is under fire for abandoning commitments the government made following the inquiry into the Windrush scandal – in the year that marks the 75th anniversary of the ships arrival to Britain. Promises to hold reconciliation events – during which members of the Windrush generation could “articulate the impact of the scandal on their lives” to senior Home Office staff and ministers – have been broken, along with pledges to reform the immigration system.
“Evil heartless government,” tweeted Ian Wright, the broadcaster and former footballer, about the ditching of pledges.
Green party MP Caroline Lucas said the government’s “hostile environment towards migrants isn’t just here to stay – it’s getting *even worse*,” and added: “Braverman cannot be allowed to get away with this”.
NHS to boycott X-ray plans
Meanwhile, NHS staff have been told to boycott Braverman’s plans to use X-rays to test if child migrants are lying about their age.
President of the Society of Radiographers Ross McGhee told the Independent his advice to members is that if you are asked to X-ray anyone for any reason, other than a medical benefit, then it’s not justifiable.”
Society of Radiographers members are the only ones who can conduct Braverman’s proposed tests, said McGhee, and they cannot be coerced by ministers.
“We are autonomous medical professionals, registered with the state,” he added.
“So we are there to make an autonomous decision on what we do. If we don’t believe it’s the right thing and justifiable under the law, then we are perfectly within our rights to say ‘I don’t think this is justifiable, and I’m not going to do it’.”
Braverman causes fresh furore by breaking promises
Braverman announced her plans to X-ray child refugees in November and has caused fresh furore following revelations she intends to drop key promises made to people affected by the Windrush scandal – when home office errors led to thousands of legal residents being wrongly classified as illegal immigrants, with devastating consequences.
Three years ago the government accepted all 30 recommendations made by the formal inquiry into the travesty.
Then home secretary Priti Patel promised to implement all of the recommendations but the Guardian reported yesterday (Jan 6) that Braverman has U-turned. The pledges to create a migrants’ commissioner and to give the independent chief inspector of borders and immigration (ICIBI) enhanced powers have been dropped.
These would have led to greater scrutiny of Home Office policies on migration and follows Rishi Sunak making “stopping the boats” one of the five promises he made to the country only days earlier.
“We will pass new laws to stop small boats, making sure that if you come to this country illegally you are detained and swiftly removed,” Sunak said on Wednesday.