A victim of the Windrush scandal, Sarah O’Connor, who passed away on Sunday September 24, was ‘treated appallingly’ by the Home Office, according to her constituency MP, Margaret Hodge.
In a stern letter to Home Secretary Sajid Javid, Margaret Hodge MP outlined how 57-year-old O’Connor, “(fell) into extreme financial hardship, which impacted on her mental well-being right up until the day she died,” as a result of having her status as a British citizen questioned for an entire year.
The letter details how, as a result of Home Office failings, O’Connor was, “unable to work, or claim benefits, which then led to difficulties with her council tax.
“She was forced to sell her car, her clothes, and even cut her granddaughter’s swimming lessons”
Margaret Hodge MP
“She was forced to sell her car, her clothes, and even cut her granddaughter’s swimming lessons […] she suffered further when she was informed by her landlord that he was going to evict her from her home.”
Hodge’s letter begins by describing the 57-year-old Windrush victim as a ‘remarkable person’. “She came to Britain when she was six. She attended primary school and secondary school here, worked, married and raised four children over 51 years,” she wrote.
Victims and Campaigners Worry the Home Secretary will not Keep his Word to ‘Do Right’
Credit: Wikimedia Commons
A crowdfunder, to raise money for O’Connor’s funeral, has been launched by Windrush activist Patrick Vernon OBE.
He says, “It is clear that a number of the victims of the Windrush scandal are worried that the government has no intention to meet the principles of restorative justice recognised by UK and international law.”
In April 2018, on his first day as Home Secretary, Sajid Javid told the House of Commons: “I will do whatever it takes to put it right”.
Hodges’ damning letter comes soon after last week’s statement from Home Secretary Sajid Javid that a number of the Windrush generation would be refused citizenship through the Windrush scheme as they had failed the good character test.
Victims and campaigners are concerned that many Windrush victims will be refused citizenship and compensation.
Sajid Javid promised to "do right" by the Windrush generation. Today he has failed them.
It's a disgrace that this announcement has been snuck out on such a heavy news day.https://t.co/pPoOSpey7z
— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) September 21, 2018
Sarah O’Connor’s daughter Stephanie told the Huffington Post this week, that she would follow in the footsteps of her mother and continue the fight for justice for Windrush victims.
“When you’re stripped of having no passport, getting a job, benefits and told you’re not a British citizen, I can’t ever imagine not having those rights and yet it was going on all around us,” she added.
“When your identity has been stripped from you, wouldn’t you want to fight for justice?
“Mum wanted to give people a voice and highlight the problem. She felt so alone at the beginning and wanted to make sure that other people in the same situation didn’t feel like that.
“I can’t explain how proud I am of her, even though this has been the worst week of my life.”