Celebrities lead latest bid to block planned deportation flight to Jamaica

Supermodel Naomi Campbell and actress Thandie Newton are among a host of celebrities urging airlines not to operate a deportation flight to Jamaica next week.

In an open letter addressed to the bosses of multiple airlines, including Hi Fly, Titan Airways and TUI UK and Ireland, more than 90 high-profile figures urged the companies to reject the scheduled December 2 flight.

They are also calling for an interruption of future deportation flights to Commonwealth countries.

The letter was also signed by James Bond actress Naomie Harris and former Metropolitan Police Superintendent Leroy Logan. It claims the planned deportation of “up to 50 people” risks the “unlawful and unlawful removal of people entitled to remain in the UK” – highlighting the ongoing Windrush saga as a primary reason why the flight is “utterly” inappropriate “.

However, the government responded by saying that those on board would include “dangerous foreign criminals” – including convicted rapists and murderers – and that none of the offenders are eligible for the Windrush scheme.

The report’s findings “cast doubt on the Home Office’s ability to deal with the ongoing injustice it has caused, the letter said.

It said: “Until all victims of the Commonwealth Windrush are granted justice, any deportations to Commonwealth countries risk further unlawful removal of Windrush generation members or Windrush descendants who have the right to remain in the UK but do not yet have the required paperwork. dispose. “

The letter claims that one of the men deported on a flight to Jamaica in February was “the grandson of a woman who arrived on the HMT Empire Windrush and is still trying to revoke his deportation order.”

It adds that some of the people who will be deported have been in the UK from childhood, while others are at “high risk” of harm if removed from the UK.

The letter continues: “The credible risks of illegal and unlawful deportations must be weighed against a background of concerns about systemic racism. In an already challenging festive period … we ask you to think about whether the operation of this flight is in line with your values ​​of corporate social responsibility. “

A spokeswoman for the Department of the Interior told the PA news agency: “We do not apologize for removing dangerous foreign criminals to protect the public.

“Every week we remove foreign criminals from the UK to different countries who have no right here, this flight is no different. People detained for this flight include convicted murderers and rapists. “