Lib Dems brand Home Office ‘not fit for purpose’ after Windrush

Lib Dem home affairs spokesperson Christine Jardine said the Home Office has a "toxic" culture. Pict

Lib Dem home affairs spokesperson Christine Jardine said the Home Office has a "toxic" culture. Picture: David Cheskin/PA Archive/PA Images - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

The Liberal Democrats have pledged to strip the Home Office of responsibility for immigration and asylum if they win the election.

Labelling the department as "not fit for purpose" after scandals such as Windrush, the party said it would move policymaking on visas, international students and asylum elsewhere on Whitehall.

A "non-political agency" would be charged with handling asylum applications and visa processing under the proposals.

The Departments for Business, Education and International Development would absorb the more than 9,000 former Home Office staff and policy areas.

The party's home affairs spokesperson Christine Jardine claimed the department has a "toxic culture" which had produced "scandal after scandal".

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Thousands of staff will be moved to departments which "aren't infected by the Home Office's toxic culture", she said.

She added: "Scandal after scandal has proved that the Home Office is not fit for purpose.

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"Decades of hostile policies from Labour and Conservative home secretaries have created an immigration system that no-one trusts, and that fails to respect people's dignity.

"Thousands of people are wrongly refused visas or asylum, causing huge amounts of misery and wasting taxpayers' money.

"Now the Conservatives' chaotic approach to Brexit risks a repeat of the Windrush scandal for EU citizens.

"That's why Liberal Democrats will stop Brexit so we can build a brighter future, with a fair, effective immigration system that treats everyone with dignity and respect.

"We will hand policymaking over to departments that aren't infected by the Home Office's toxic culture, and that far better understand the needs of our economy, our universities, and seekers of sanctuary.

"And we'll set up a new agency to decide cases fairly and get them right first time, free from interference by populist politicians."

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