Chris Philp and Holly Lynch
Strong campaign by activists, celebrities and members of parliament has done nothing to shake the United Kingdom government's resolve to carry out the controversial deportation of Jamaicans from the UK on Wednesday.
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Home Department Chris Philp on Monday answered an Urgent Question in the House of Commons tabled by Labour's Bell Ribeiro-Addy on the Home Office's planned deportation flight.
Mr. Philp said the campaigners were wrong in using arguments about racism and injustices meted out to members of the Windrush generation to oppose the deportations.
He said no one who was born in the UK or is a member of the Windrush generation is being deported.
Mr. Philp argued that those on the flights had committed serious crimes, including murder, and UK law requires that such persons be removed.
"This government's priority is keeping the people of this country safe, and we make no apology, no apology, for seeking to remove dangerous foreign criminals. Any member of this House, with the safety of their constituents at heart, would do the same," he declared.
Mr. Philp also questioned why this flight in particular is being opposed when there have been 30 others to various countries since the start of the year.
He said Jamaicans accounted for only one per cent of all persons removed from the UK in the 12 months ending in June 2020.
But shadow spokesperson on immigration, Holly Lynch, sought clarification of a reported agreement between the Home Office and Jamaica to exclude people who went to the UK as children from the deportation flight.
Mr. Philp would not comment specifically on next Wednesday's flight, however, he said the UK was committed to "discharging its obligations under the 2007 Act, which is to seek to remove anyone of any age, who has been sentenced to a custodial term of over 12 months."