Deportation Flight to Jamaica

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:33 pm on 10th February 2020.

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Photo of David Lammy David Lammy Labour, Tottenham 3:33 pm, 10th February 2020

I regret the tone with which the Minister has responded to this urgent question. It is two years since there was consensus in this House on how the Windrush generation had been treated in this country. This is a generation of people, thousands of them, who came to this country after the second world war and gave so much but took so little.

Let me just remind the Minister: 164 people were detained and deported, which the Government say they got wrong. On the back of that, 5,000 people were denied access to public services, healthcare, pensions and education—all that they were entitled to. Against that backdrop, he is correct that the Government rightly set up the independent lessons learned review led by Wendy Williams. In the wake of that, they suspended flights to Jamaica. The question today is why have the Government resumed those flights?

In light of the scandal of people who arrived in this country as children, how can the Minister guarantee to the House that there are not people on this flight who are actually British nationals? In the wake of the leak, in which Wendy Williams herself says Ministers should not deport people under the age of 13, can he confirm that there are people on that flight who arrived in this country aged two, three, five or 11? He gives the House the impression that they are murderers and rapists, but he knows that many of them were convicted of non-violent offences.

We in this House cannot condemn county lines and those who would pimp young black children in this country and, at the same time, send those same children back to Jamaica for such drug offences. So I ask the Minister: when will we see this lessons learned review? It was promised in March last year. It was then delayed until September. We are almost two years on now, and people watching see the way in which this Government hold in such disrespect the contribution of West Indian, Caribbean and black people in this country. When, when will black lives matter once again?