A planned deportation flight to Jamaica has gone ahead despite a court battle between the government and campaigners.
Yesterday the Home Office lost a court ruling after a judge ruled that detainees did not have proper access to legal advice.
In yesterday’s ruling Lady Justice Simler said those detainees should not be removed unless the Home Office is satisfied they “had access to a functioning, non-O2 Sim card on or before February 3”.
The judge granted the order without a court hearing following an urgent application on paper by charity Detention Action.
The charity argued that some of the detainees at Colnbrooke and Harmondsworth detention centres still do not have a functioning mobile phone, following issues with an O2 phone mast in the area.
But this morning a number of media sources have reported that the flight has left the UK despite the court ruling.
The Guardian said that it was unclear how many people were onboard the flight.
This morning Tottenham MP David Lammy tweeted: “The #Jamaica50 flight has taken off. The government is deporting people who arrived in the UK as young as 2, often for one-time drug offences. The lessons from Windrush have not been learned. Lives are being ruined because we don’t remember our history.”
Chancellor Sajid Javid told Sky News those being kicked out were “not British” and were guilty of serious offences.
The chancellor said they were guilty of crimes such as manslaughter, rape, dealing class A drugs.
“Every single person on the flight is a foreign national offender,” said Javid.
“They are not British, they are not members of the Windrush generation and they are all guilty of serious crimes, receiving custodial sentences of at least 12 months.”
The move has been strongly criticised by campaigners who say some of the people have lived in the UK since they were children, committed one-time offences when they were young and have no links with Jamaica.
The charity Detention Action said it believed some of those due for deportation were not on board because they were covered by the court order.
The detainees were being held at two centres near Heathrow airport.
Earlier this week 170 politicians wrote to the prime minister calling on him to stop the deportation until a report is published on the lessons learned from the Windrush scandal.