Theresa May continues to find herself under fire, not least for misleading the Commons twice in the space of a few minutes yesterday. As a result, only the Guardian has put the scandal of the “Windrush Generation” on its front page today, with the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph, one of those more favourably disposed to the PM, instead allowing her former éminence grise Nick Timothy to shamelessly spin for her.
The problem for both Tel and Tim is that the latter talks well, but lies badly, and on the most basic of points. Ms May’s time at the Home Office became infamous for a number of initiatives aimed allegedly at illegal migrants, but which generated severely adverse comment for their effect on the BAME community generally. One of the most notorious was that of the so-called “Go Home” vans in the summer of 2013.
Timothy is now claiming that his boss was actually opposed to the “Go Home” vans, and in pursuit of getting his message home, has taken to Twitter to back up his Tel column. “The Windrush scandal is heartbreaking and must be fixed. But it should not be used as an excuse to stop sensible policies that limit illegal immigration” he offered for starters.
Then came the deflection: “In my column today I also reveal the truth about the notorious ‘go home or face arrest vans’: TM was opposed to them and they were approved while she was on holiday in 2013 … The so-called ‘hostile environment’ strategy designed to limit illegal immigration actually began under Labour, not the Tories. This is what Jeremy Corbyn calls ‘callousness’”. And, as Jon Stewart might have said, two things here.
One, the problem now faced by so many of the “Windrush Generation” is not down to anything Labour might have done when in power - the relevant legislation was enacted in 2014. And Two, we know exactly what Jezza called it, as his Twitter observation from the time is still extant: “The Immigration Bill has a very dangerous new clause which allows the Home Secretary to remove citizenship and thus create stateless people”.
Moreover, the idea that Treeza was away on holiday at the time the “Go Home” vans were patrolling London is bunk. This exercise, called Operation Vaken, was and indeed still is well documented, and this is what the blurb says about when it all happened: “The pilot took place between 22 July and 22 August 2013 in six London boroughs [and] continued until 22 October to provide a three month period to allow for Emergency Travel Documents to be obtained and completion of the voluntary departure process for some of the nationalities encountered”. July to October 2013. Without interruption.
And as James Doleman has discovered, on the very day that Operation Vaken began, Ms May was featured, very much in the present tense, in the Daily Mail. She was then featured in the following edition of the Mail on Sunday. And on July 30, she managed to send the authorities in Portugal a request regarding the Madeleine McCann case.
Theresa May was very much at work when the “Go Home” vans began to circulate around London. And the Operation Vaken pilot went on for its full scheduled three month period. So Nick Timothy has been caught blatantly lying in the pages of the Telegraph.
Then he wonders why people have difficulty believing him. What a complete clown.