Diane Abbott’s demand for action sees foreign criminals blocked from imminent deportation

Diane Abbott says Keir Starmer should adopt Corbyn policies

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The Home Office was forced to suspend many of the deportations after legal challenges were launched just hours before the flight was due to depart at 1am this morning. The offenders due to be onboard included a murderer, rapists and paedophiles.

The challenges come after former shadow home secretary Diane Abbott led the charge in demanding the deportation flights be scrapped.

She said: “Mass deportation flights are a signature Boris Johnson immigration and nationality tactic.

“They are cruel, arbitrary, a double punishment and expensive.

“There needs to be a moratorium on these deportation flights.

“Government should not be playing with people’s lives.”

She added: “Most of those scheduled for deportation have only minor, non-violent offences”.

Had Labour won the 2019 election, Ms Abbott would have been in charge of the UK’s immigration strategy.

Ex-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Claudia Webbe also pushed for an end to the deportations ahead of today’s scheduled flight.

Deportation is only used for forcing criminals who have served at least 12 months in prison.

Officials say the length of time a person has lived in the UK, as well as the strength of their social, cultural and family ties to the UK are considered before determining whether to go ahead with deportation.

The legislation was introduced by the last Labour Government in 2007.

Ms Abbott, Mr Corbyn and Ms Webbe all voted in favour of the legislation at the time.

The legal challenges stopped all but 11 of about 50 deportations set today.

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Similar to tactics used by campaigners in the past.

Challenges launched include claims an individual was gay and would be at risk in Jamaica.

Others claimed they risk becoming slaves if deported.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has been left furious at attempts to remove foreign criminals being squandered due to legal action.

She has repeatedly hit out at “do-gooders” and “lefty lawyers” launching court appeals just days before flights are due to leave.

Officials say those being deported are given plenty of notice in advance but legal appeals are not usually launched until just prior to the flight.

Speaking at the Conservative party conference last year, the Home Secretary pledged to bring in legislation to stop “endless legal claims”.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We make no apology for seeking to remove those with no right to remain in the UK and dangerous foreign criminals, including those who have been convicted of grievous bodily harm, rape and crimes against children.”

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