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Friday, 27 April 2018

Windrush cancer patient facing deportation to be granted indefinite leave to remain

Written by Tess de la Mare

A cancer patient caught up in the Windrush scandal will be granted indefinite leave to remain, Labour MP Chuka Umunna has revealed.

But he described the man's treatment by the Home Office as "cruel and degrading".

Albert Thompson - not his real name - was told he had to pay £54,000 to have radiotherapy if he could not prove he was in the country legally, despite having lived in the UK for 44 years.

His case is one of a number raised following concerns about the immigration status of some immigrants who arrived between the late 1940s and early 1970s.

Mr Thompson, who is suffering from prostate cancer, was assured by the Prime Minister Theresa May last week that he would be "receiving the treatment he needs" after the issue was raised by Jeremy Corbyn at Prime Minister's Questions.

On Thursday Mr Umunna (pictured), who is MP for Streatham, south London, said: "The Home Secretary has informed me that my constituent Albert Thompson will be granted indefinite leave to remain.

"He is due to start his radiotherapy treatment at the Royal Marsden Hospital as an NHS patient shortly.

"Whilst this is welcome, he should never have been treated in this cruel and degrading way in the first place.

"There is no doubt about it; the chain of causation in this case goes all the way to the Prime Minister and the decisions she made as Home Secretary."

Mr Thompson's case has been widely publicised despite the fact he is not technically part of the so-called Windrush generation because he arrived in the UK after the Immigration Act came into force.

Mr Thompson previously said: "The Prime Minister said I would get treatment, so I presume it is true, but I won't believe it until I get the go-ahead for the treatment."

Recent restrictions in immigration law require people to have paperwork proof of near-continuous residence in the UK.

Many of those among the Windrush generation lack these records, having never applied for British citizenship or passports, and are now struggling to prove they are here legally.

However, it has emerged that thousands of landing card slips recording the arrival of Windrush-era immigrants were destroyed by the Home Office in 2009.

Labour's former home secretary Alan Johnson, who was succeeded in the role by Theresa May in 2010, told BBC One's This Week he was not aware of the decision to scrap the landing cards.

He told the programme: "It was an administrative decision taken by the UK Border Agency. And so they should (have).

"It wasn't just the Windrush landing cards, it was a mass of paperwork that built up over 50 years.

"It was an administrative decision, just as it was a year later when Theresa May was home secretary as my successor and they were destroyed."

The Home Office has now set up a helpline for members of the Windrush generation as a result of the outcry over the scandal.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Lynne Cameron / PA Wire.