Home Office goes ahead with Jamaica deportation

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

The Home Office has gone ahead with a deportation flight to Jamaica, despite a number of those due to be ousted being spared by a Court of Appeal judge.

Some 50 people were scheduled to be sent to the Caribbean island on the grounds that they had committed crimes such as drug trafficking, violence and firearms offences.

But last night, Lady Justice Simler ordered the Home Office not to carry out the deportation of some of the detainees, amid concerns that they had not had adequate access to legal aid.

The judge said this was caused by mobile phone outages while they were in detention awaiting deportation.

WATCH: Priti Patel and Diane Abbott clash over deportation laws

Nevertheless, the flight took off this morning, with Chancellor Sajid Javid estimating that around 20 deportees were on board – about half of those scheduled to leave.

A Home Office spokesman said: “We make no apology for trying to protect the public from serious, violent and persistent foreign national offenders.”

However, the move has been criticised by campaigners, who argue that some of the detainees had come to the UK as children, had no links with Jamaica and had been convicted of one-time drug offences when they were young.

More than 170 MPs also signed a letter to the Boris Johnson urging him to halt the flight over concerns that errors similar to those of the 2018 Windrush scandal could be repeated.

In the Commons last night Home Secretary Priti Patel dismissed calls from with her opposition counterpart Diane Abbott that the deportation constituted a “double jeopardy” because the detainees had already served the time for their crimes.

Ms Patel fired back that the law imposing the deportation was the creation of the Labour government in 2007.

There were shouts of "shame" as Ms Patel left the chamber.

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