'It's a shambles': Diane Abbott criticises UK deportation flight to Jamaica

11 August 2021, 16:56 | Updated: 11 August 2021, 16:58

Diane Abbott has called what has happened "a shambles".
Diane Abbott has called what has happened "a shambles". Picture: LBC/Alamy

By Sam Sholli

After a UK deportation flight to Jamaica left today, Labour MP Diane Abbott has called what has happened "a shambles".

In a news release, the Home Office has stated: "On Wednesday 11 August a charter flight to Jamaica took place returning foreign criminals who broke our laws, abused our hospitality, and have no place in our society.

"The flight returned seven individuals, who have a total combined prison sentence length of over 46 years. They had been convicted of offences such as rape, sexual offences against children, assault and possession of offensive weapons.

"No one on the flight was born in the UK. All those returned are Jamaican nationals."

Shelagh Fogarty asked Diane Abbott: "What do you know about this flight and the people on it?"

The Labour MP claimed: "Well, what we know is originally there were meant to be 90 people on the flight, and it cost £300,000 altogether.

"But in the end...only seven people flew off and that cost us, as a country, £43,000 per person. So the first thing we know about it is it's a shambles."

In its news release on the flight, the Home Office also said that removal of 43 people was prevented by specialist legal firms pursing a range of claims.

Ms Abbott also told LBC: "The second thing we know about it is it's problematic targeting Jamaicans in this way.

"A Freedom of Information request showed that Jamaicans are disproportionately targeted for deportation. We also know this is the fourth such flight since Windrush when so many who actually were legally here got deported."

Ms Abbott added: "We have to look again at these deportation flights.

"They're becoming a shambles and brutal and unfair."

In a statement, Home Secretary Priti Patel has said: “These individuals are responsible for some of most appalling crimes – rape, assault, grievous bodily harm, drug offences, and sexual assault of children. They have violated our laws and values and have left their victims living with the scars of the crimes that took place against them.

"The British people should be in no doubt of my determination to remove these criminals to protect both the victims of their crimes and the public. The Government uses every means to continue to remove foreign nationals who have committed crimes against our citizens.

“We remove foreign criminals from the UK to different countries every week and this flight is no different.”