A man who worked on the HMT Empire Windrush as a baker as its made its famed journey from Jamaica to the UK says that former Home Secretary Amber Rudd was a “fall guy” for Theresa May.
Peter Dielhenn, 87, was a trainee baker on the ship in 1948.
He worked on board when it sailed from Jamaica to England with over 1,000 West Indian people aboard, who settled in the UK and became known as the Windrush generation.
“It seems that [Theresa May] fell on her own sword and [Amber Rudd] was in the firing line,” he told talkRADIO.
“She was stuck, if you saw her in the House of Commons she didn’t know what to say, there was no answers to it.
“They’d made a muck-up of it, and they should have just held their arms up and said sorry, we’ve made a complete mess.
“I think she was a Patsy, a fall guy.”
In April 2018, it was reported by the Guardian that many of those who arrived on the Windrush had been threatened with deportation, despite having the right to remain in the UK as Jamaica is in the Commonwealth.
The landing cards from when they arrived in the country had been destroyed, after the UK Border Agency ruled they should be disposed of in 2009, apparently due to data protection regulations.
Theresa May was Home Secretary when they were physically destroyed in 2010, although it’s unclear whether she knew about it at the time.
In 2012 she announced her plans to “create a really hostile environment for illegal migration” in the UK, and the ‘hostile environment policy’ has been linked to the Windrush scandal.
Amber Rudd resigned from the position of Home Secretary earlier this year when leaked letters revealed she was aware of deportation targets, despite previously saying she hadn’t been.
“Most of those that came over on the Windrush were in the RAF during the war, they had British passports,” said Dielhenn.
“Then they asked for certain documents no one could produce. Who kept bits of paper like that 70 years ago?
“They all worked very hard,” he added.
“I don’t know any of them that never worked or were out of work. So therefore they contributed as much as anybody in the country. They paid their taxes.”
June 22 marks the 70th anniversary of the ship landing in the UK.