Home Secretary Sajid Javid vows to end 'hostile' era for illegal immigrants

The former Business Secretary was the bookmakers' favourite Credit: PA

Sajid Javid has ruled out using the phrase "hostile environment" while also facing Tory demands to "retire" Home Office measures developed by Theresa May.

The new home secretary distanced himself from the controversial terminology used in relation to immigration - terminology associated with Theresa May's time as home secretary - describing it as "unhelpful" and not representative of British values.

He said he would instead refer to a "compliant environment", as he vowed "to do whatever it takes" to put right the scandal which has affected the Windrush generation.

He said his "most urgent" task is to make sure people caught up in the fiasco are treated with the "decency and fairness" they deserve.

The scandal was one of the issues that sparked the resignation of his predecessor Amber Rudd.

Pressure had been building on Rudd ever since the emergence of the “appalling” treatment of Caribbean immigrants to the UK between the 1940s and 1970s – the so-called Windrush generation.

Speaking in the Commons for the first time as home secretary, Javid referred to his migrant parents, saying hearing about the difficulties faced by the Windrush generation had "impacted" him greatly.

Answering an urgent question from shadow home secretary Diane Abbott, Javid, said Commonwealth migrants who had remained in Britain since 1973 "will be eligible to get the legal status they deserve - British citizenship".

A new compensation scheme will be put in place for those "whose lives have been disrupted" he added.

Rudd became the fifth departure from the Cabinet since last year’s snap general election, after admitting she had “inadvertently” misled MPs over the existence of targets for removing illegal immigrants.

She stepped down following mounting pressure over the handling of the Windrush scandal and the targets.

The resignation has forced the prime minister to reshuffle her Cabinet once again.

Former Northern Ireland secretary James Brokenshire has replaced Javid at the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government.

Penny Mordaunt, the development secretary, will take on Rudd’s other old job of equalities minister.

Theresa May said she was “very sorry” to see her successor as home secretary leave the post, but added that Rudd could "look back with pride on her time as Home Secretary".

Speaking on Monday, the prime minster did admit she was aware of deportation targets during her tenure as home secretary.

"When I was home secretary, yes there were targets in terms of removing people from the country who were here illegally," she said.

However, May was clear that the Windrush generation were not the intended to be swept up in the immigration measure.

"We have seen the Windrush generation being caught up in a way that has caused anxiety among that generation.

"That's why we have set up a unit which is helping those people to get the documents that they need, they are British, they are part of us."

There have been stories of people being forced to prove their near-continuous presence in the country in order to prove they were here legally.

Rudd’s decision to stand down will come as a major blow to May who publicly declared her “full confidence” in her as recently as Friday.

It will also upset the delicate balance in the Cabinet between Leavers and Remainers ahead of a crucial meeting of the Brexit 'war cabinet' on Wednesday to discuss Britain’s future customs relationship with the EU. Javid campaigned to remain.

With his promotion, Sajud Javid became the UK's first BAME home secretary.