Those were the words of Labour MP, David Lammy, whose powerful intervention on Monday helped to kick off an uncomfortable week for the government.
Lammy’s comments referred to the mishandling of the immigration status of migrants from the Caribbean, widely known as the Windrush kids, who, despite having lived and worked in the UK for decades, were threatened with deportation. His anger reflected the national mood and the Home Secretary Amber Rudd was forced to announce that a new Home Office taskforce would be set up to resolve cases within two weeks.
With the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) meeting in London for the first time in 30 years, this wasn’t the start to the week that the Prime Minister was hoping for, as she was forced to apologise to leaders from the Caribbean. While Theresa May was quick to reassure that there was no clampdown on Commonwealth immigrants, you would be forgiven for pointing out that the controversy arose because of new, stricter rules coming into place under the stewardship of a former Home Secretary (you guessed it, Theresa May).
What the Prime Minister wanted to focus on was her statement to the Commons on Monday afternoon, outlining her reasons for joining the US and France in launching air strikes on sites in Syria. She got her chance and stayed for the duration of the mammoth seven-hour session, where she made the legal and moral case for carrying out the airstrikes. In contrast, Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn used it as an opportunity to question the legality of the strikes and to criticise the Prime Minister for bypassing Parliament and answering to the whims of President Trump – echoing sentiments of the Bush-Blair years. The Leader of the Opposition not only drew the ire of those on the Conservative benches, but from many on his own side too.
Jeremy Corbyn’s week didn’t get much better from there as MPs took him to task for his failure to act against alleged anti-Semitism in the Labour Party during a debate on Tuesday. A series of powerful speeches from Labour MPs on the level of abuse they had received, highlighted the scale of the problem within the party. If Corbyn wasn’t listening to his colleagues, then he probably should take notice of a poll published this week, revealing that almost two-thirds of the public believe that Labour has a problem with racism or religious prejudice.
There was an opportunity for Corbyn to get back onto the front foot at PMQs, especially with the government in disarray over the Windrush crisis. But the Prime Minister came prepared and wrong-footed Corbyn, claiming that the landing cards belonging to the Windrush generation were ordered to be destroyed in 2009 – under a Labour government. This revelation changed the mood in the Commons and somehow, Corbyn managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
Over in the Lords on Wednesday, Brexit took centre stage with the report stage of the EU Withdrawal Bill. 348 Peers voted in favour of an amendment urging ministers to explore a customs arrangement with Brussels. Is this significant? As it passed with a majority of 123 and will likely have the backing of many MPs, it will be hard for the government to overturn the amendment. Yet, as pointed out by Remainer Anna Soubry, this was not a vote to stay in the Customs Union. If it was, then we probably wouldn’t have seen it gain the support of so many Peers.
As we look ahead to next week, another crisis looms after the EU rejected the UK’s proposal to delay the resolution of the Irish border until after Brexit.
Just another week in Westminster.