“The Windrush scandal & the hostile approach that it encompassed is still fresh in the minds of the public.”Jeremy Corbyn MP
This letter was originally published on Jeremy Corbyn’s Facebook Page. Please note it was written before some of the latest developments concerning this issue, but its key points on the ‘hostile environment’ remain particularly important.
29 November 2020
Rt Hon Priti Patel MP
Secretary of State for the Home Department, Home Office
2 Marsham St, London SW1P 4DF
Dear Secretary of State,
I am extremely concerned about the imminent deportation of a significant number of men to Jamaica that is scheduled for Wednesday, 2nd December and wish to add my voice to the very many who are currently campaigning on this issue.
This planned deportation appears to be a continuation of an unnecessarily harsh approach that ought to have been abandoned on the back of lessons learnt from the Windrush scandal.
From my understanding this group includes men who may have very limited or no links with the country of destination – Jamaica; and some have indeed grown up here.
A very grim “festive” season is looming for most of us after a difficult year, and these men and their families do not deserve to be punished by a government clampdown which will result in further painful loss during a period that has seen so much loss.
Very few people are currently allowed to fly out of the UK due to the pandemic so it’s not clear to me how this charter flight can be justified. Whilst we are being asked to respect the very many restrictions relating to the pandemic including very limited travel, social distancing, wearing of masks, and much more, how is it that for the purposes of deporting people, such precautions are being thrown to the wind. There can be no rational for such inconsistency, and at this time.
This is the year of the Black Lives Matter movement which has its roots in long standing suffering by the Bame community, yet this community has suffered immeasurably and disproportionately from Covid-19 and a worrying vulnerability to it.
The group inevitably includes individuals who have relatives, be they partners and/or children in the UK who through no fault of their own will be abandoned, as will the men themselves I expect.
I would ask you to adopt a humane attitude here, and treat these men, and all other potential deportees with respect and consideration.
The Windrush scandal and the hostile approach that it encompassed is still fresh in the minds of the public, not to mention those directly affected and traumatised by it, and this group are bound to include some of them.
Actions speak louder than words and the Government must prove that it no longer actively pursues such a hostile approach. These charter flights do nothing to restore public confidence in this.
I look forward to hearing that you’ve chosen to offer hope to these individuals and their families as this very difficult year draws to a close.
Clearly this matter is now extremely urgent.
Jeremy Corbyn MP.