Minister says UK deportation flight removes seven despite 112 expected onboard

The Government blamed immigration law firms and MPs for the low number on the Wednesday morning flight to Jamaica.

18 May 2022

A UK deportation flight to Jamaica removed just seven of the 112 people expected to be onboard, the Government has said.

Some Tory MPs could be heard shouting their disbelief at the total after it was announced in the House of Commons by Home Office minister Tom Pursglove.

He blamed “last-minute claims” from specialist immigration law firms and MPs for the low number on the Wednesday morning flight.

Home Office minister Tom Pursglove answers questions in the House of Commons (PA)

In a statement to the House, Mr Pursglove said: “The offences committed by the individuals on this flight include rape of a minor, sexual assault against children, firearms offences, dealing and importing controlled drugs and other violent crime, such as actual bodily harm.

“Between them they had a combined total of 58 convictions for 127 offences.”

Mr Pursglove, who earlier said more than 10,000 foreign national offenders have been removed from the UK since the start of 2019, added: “This flight to Jamaica makes up just 1% of total enforced returns in the year ending September 2021.”

He went on: “However many more criminals could have left the UK today.

“What we have seen over the last 24 hours is more last-minute claims facilitated by specialist immigration law firms, as well as representations from MPs to stop this flight from leaving.”

Conservative MP William Wragg (Hazel Grove) asked: “How many dangerous foreign national offenders were due to be on the deportation flight this morning and how many actually left owing to appeals?”

Mr Pursglove replied: “I can confirm that the manifest originally had 112 individuals on it, in the end only seven left our country on that flight.”

Tory MP Peter Bone (Wellingborough) could be heard exclaiming: “How many? Seven?”

For Labour, shadow Home Office minister Stephen Kinnock said: “The Home Office must deport dangerous foreign criminals who have no right to be in our country and who should be returned to the country of their citizenship.”

He added: “But the Home Office also has a responsibility to get its deportation decisions right.”

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