Revealed: Last-minute cancellation of deportation flights costs MILLIONS of pounds a year
It has been revealed by Home Office accounts that last-minute legal challenges that see foreign criminals pulled from planes about to leave the UK is going up each year, reaching £2.2million in the past 12 months. This is up from £2.04million in 2018/19.
As this information was released, thirteen criminals were deported to Jamaica on Wednesday 2nd December, but lawyers for another 23 succeeded in having them removed from the aircraft's passenger list - with the help of a group of Labour MPs and left-leaning 'celebrities'.
Supermodel Naomi Campbell, Line of Duty star Thandie Newton and James Bond actress Naomie Harris were among those to sign an open letter calling on the Government to delay these removals to Jamaica. All the offenders were born on the island and none was a British citizen.
More than 60 MPs, mostly from the Labour Party, had urged Miss Patel to abandon the flight, saying of the criminals: 'Britain is their home.' Labour backbencher Kim Johnson described the deportation as 'obscene and irresponsible'.
Officials said that interventions such as these happened 'a number of times a year'. Thirty charter flights have taken place to other countries this year.
In the year to June, 5,208 offenders were forcibly returned to their home countries. Of those 2,630 were sent to EU states and just 33 to Jamaica.
For the early December flight, it is understood that 36 Jamaican criminals were notified five days before the flight that they would be deported and at that stage none had outstanding legal barriers to removal.
But a large proportion then submitted legal challenges.
New claims included human rights appeals and allegations that the criminals had been victims of modern slavery.
It was revealed that a murderer and two rapists were among those who avoided deportation to Jamaica.
They included Michael Antonio White, who was convicted of murder in 2003 and is now in his 50s.
He was sentenced to life in prison for murder following a drug deal which went awry and resulted in him shooting his victim six times.
A convicted cocaine dealer, who is the father of a Premier League academy footballer, is also understood to have been taken off the flight. The man, who served three years, cannot be named for legal reasons. A source said: 'Four years ago we were removing record numbers of foreign national offenders.
'Since then it has become a lot harder. We're seeing a much higher proportion of people making asylum and other protection claims very late in the process. Certain legal decisions have made it harder for us to remove people.