Who are you putting first, criminals or victims? Keir Starmer asked after deportation row | UK | News (Reports)

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Pressure has been applied on the Labour leader in a letter sent this weekend by 39 Conservative MPs after leftwing lawyers intervened to prevent all but 13 of 36 dangerous criminals being returned to Jamaica. The ones who were allowed by the courts to stay included murderers and rapists.But despite concerns for the safety of ordinary members of the public 42 Labour MPs signed a letter organised by Norwich South MP Clive Lewis erroneously linking the deportation of foreign criminals to the Windrush scandal. The letter was also backed by celebrities such as former model Naomi Campbell. But in their letter to Sir Keir, a group of Tory MPs, organised by West Bromwich West MP Shaun Bailey, warned that the issue was actually about national security and law and order.

They said: “We believed that you had finally listened to the concerns of the British people earlier this year,  when you promised that under your leadership the Labour Party would never ‘go into an election  not being trusted on national security’.  

“That is why we are deeply concerned to see that last week forty-two Labour Members of  Parliament signed a letter which called for a large number of foreign criminals who were due to be  deported to remain in this country, and we are concerned by your silence and unwillingness to  distance yourself from these comments.”

They added: “The criminals on this flight were all convicted of serious offences, including murder, rape, drug  dealing and child sex offences.

They caused immeasurable harm to this country, to our  communities, and to the lives of the victims and their families. 

“Flights like this that remove foreign criminals from the UK happen every week, this flight was no  different.”

“The British people rightly expect foreign national offenders who have broken our laws and abused  our hospitality to be removed from our country, and they have the right to know who the Labour  Party under your leadership is putting first – convicted foreign national offenders, or the victims of  their horrific crimes.

”They demanded to know if Sir Keir stands by the 42 Labour MPs and asked him to clarify if his party supports the removal of foreign criminals.

Earlier in the week, Home Secretary Priti Patel described the Labour MPs and celebrities who oppose the deportations as “ill informed do-gooders.”

Since April alone, the Government has conducted over thirty enforced returns and  deportation charter flight operations to countries including Albania, France, Germany, Ghana,  Lithuania, Nigeria, Poland and Spain. 

A Labour spokesman said: “We know the Government behaved unlawfully in the handling of the Windrush scandal. We continue to raise these issues as a matter of urgency with the Home Office and will be holding the Government to account.

“Labour will always act in the national interest. We do not oppose the deportation of serious criminals who do not have legal right to remain, but the Home Office must not repeat the injustices of the Windrush scandal.”

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