'Shocking hit job': Target of Tory ‘lefty lawyer’ dossier tells LBC she is 'frightened' to walk home at night

13 August 2023, 19:30 | Updated: 13 August 2023, 23:19

Jacqueline McKenzie on LBC
Jacqueline McKenzie on LBC. Picture: LBC/Alamy
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

A top immigration lawyer who was targeted by the Tories in a dossier sent to right-wing newspapers has told LBC she is now "frightened" to walk home at night.

Jacqueline McKenzie, head of immigration at Leigh Day and a partner at the firm, says she was targeted in a briefing on "lefty lawyers" sent to the Telegraph, Mail, Sun and Express.

"To be the main source of a Tory party dossier - and I use the word dossier because that was the word one of the journalists who sent it to me described it as - was quite shocking," Ms McKenzie told LBC's Sangita Myska.

"It was full of inaccuracies and it was just really a shocking hit job, mainly because of its inaccuracies, but more so because of what it attempted to do."

The government, including the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Home Secretary Suella Braverman, have regularly accused 'lefty lawyers' of attempting to hinder their plans to deport migrants to Rwanda.

Ms McKenzie has also said she has been forced to review her security after being targeted and identified in some newspapers.

Immigration Lawyer targeted by Tories as being 'leftie' speaks out

The Tory dossier, as seen by The Guardian, said: "Just last year, she [McKenzie] helped a Jamaican criminal lodge last-minute appeal to deportation because of his high blood pressure.

"The foreign-born crook had just served an eight-year prison sentence for kidnapping.

“[Labour leader Keir] Starmer has been keen to distance himself from previous remarks and convince voters that he can be trusted on immigration.

“But his decision to hire lefty lawyer Jacqueline McKenzie is further proof that ‘Sir Softie’ can’t be trusted.”

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"The only thing I've ever done for Labour is this one thing where I was invited as a volunteer to be on a working group, which is looking at racial disparities," Ms McKenzie told LBC.

"I'm just someone who wants to contribute to society where I can, and I've done it even-handedly - in fact, the Conservatives have had more of my time than Labour has."

Ms McKenzie says being targeted in this way has left her feeling vulnerable, telling LBC that she looks left and right before leaving the house, and is "frightened" to walk home.

"The first night that I came home in the dark after, you know, the expose hit the media on the Saturday, I got out of the train station and I actually panicked...it's a walk I quite enjoy and I took an Uber."