Thank you to everyone who has contacted me regarding the Home Office’s planned charter flight to Jamaica, which is set to deport up to 50 Black Britons on 2nd December 2020. I have received hundreds of emails about this, which is a very clear indication of the strength of local feeling.
I am gravely concerned about this flight and have been working with a constituent who is scheduled to be on board as well as my Labour colleagues to urge the Home Office to reconsider. Just last week the Equality and Human Rights Commission ruled that the Home Office’s hostile environment policy broke equalities law and Wendy Williams will not assess the progress of the implementation of the Windrush Lessons Learned Review until late next year. Furthermore, we are in the middle of a pandemic which has disproportionately affected black people and it has been confirmed that even if those scheduled have a positive Covid-19 test they will still fly.
Last Thursday I raised the flight with Jacob Rees-Mogg MP in the House of Commons, highlighting the plight of my constituent – who has been in the UK in childhood – and others and requesting an urgent debate.
On 28th November Holly Lynch MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Immigration, wrote an urgent letter about the planned deportation flight to Kevin Foster MP, her opposite number in the Government. Her letter raised a number of points, including the risk of those scheduled on the flight being part of the ongoing Windrush scandal, the EHRC’s recent ruling and the Home Office’s duty to safeguard and promote welfare of children, and sought answers to a number of questions.
Today (30th November) my colleagues Bell Ribeiro-Addy secured an Urgent Question to the Home Secretary on the deportation. I once again took the opportunity to raise my constituent’s circumstances, specifically around the potential impact on his children.
This is not an unfamiliar situation and I have repeatedly advocated for an end to the hostile environment in the past. In February 2019 I co-signed a letter, written by Janet Daby MP, expressing our concerns about another charter deportation flight and calling for the then-Home Secretary to immediately halt all deportations to Jamaica pending a review of all affected cases.
In February 2020 I co-signed a letter to the Prime Minister (along with more than 170 other parliamentarians) about yet another charter flight to Jamaica. Like many others I am outraged by the ongoing Windrush scandal and what it has exposed about the UK’s immigration apparatus. I will continue to pressure the Government to end the hostile environment and implement a compassionate and humane system with human rights at its centre