Today's Home Office media stories include the latest figures on EU Settlement Scheme applications, the Windrush Compensation Scheme, and a UN report on Julian Assange.
750,000 EU citizens apply for settled status
The Times, Telegraph and Metro all cover the Home Secretary’s announcement yesterday that more than 750,000 EU citizens have applied to stay after Brexit.
The Times reports that Polish, Romanians and Italians are the nationalities with the largest number of citizens making applications.
They quote Maike Bohn, co-founder of the 3 Million, who said “it is encouraging to see that the government is hitting the target”.
The Metro and Telegraph report that up to 4 million European nationals could be eligible to apply by end of 2020.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid said:
EU citizens are our friends, neighbours and colleagues who contribute so much to this country. Whatever the outcome of Brexit we want them to stay.
Our free and straightforward EU Settlement Scheme has already seen 750,000 applications – which is immensely encouraging. I hope this early success continues in the coming months.
Windrush compensation scheme and means-tested benefit
The Guardian reports that the Government is to introduce new regulations to prevent potential victims of the Windrush scandal losing out on the financial support they are entitled to.
In response to threats of legal action, government officials have stated in internal documents that regulations will be introduced “in due course” to ensure those currently receiving means-tested benefits do not lose out on them if they get pay-outs from the Windrush compensation scheme, the paper says.
The paper says that while the Government has confirmed that means-tested benefits will not be affected, the regulations have not yet been published, meaning continued uncertainty for those who might be affected.
A Government spokesperson said:
It has been confirmed publically that payments made under the Windrush Compensation Scheme and the Windrush Hardship Scheme will not affect the calculation of means-tested benefits.
The Guardian and Times report that a senior UN torture expert has said that Julian Assange is showing symptoms associated with prolonged exposure to psychological torture, and should not be extradited to the US.
Nils Melzer, the UN’s special rapporteur on torture, visited Mr Assange in Belmarsh prison this month, and has today raised concerns that his human rights could be violated if he were extradited to the US, the Guardian reports.
The paper says that Mr Melzer has accused the US, UK and Ecuador of “ganging up to deliberately isolate, demonise and abuse” Mr Assange, and urges the UK Government to not extradite him to the US or any other state failing to provide reliable guarantees against transferring him to the US.
A UK Government Spokesperson said:
The UK has a close working relationship with UN bodies and is committed to upholding the rule of law. We support the important work of the Special Rapporteur’s mandate and will respond to his letter in due course, but we disagree with a number of his observations.
Judges are impartial and independent from Government, with any judgment based solely on the facts of the case. The law provides all those convicted with a right of appeal.