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Deportation of 56 ‘halted by last-gasp court ruling’

Show of support: Protesters gather in Parliament Square to demonstrate against the deportation
flight PICTURE: PA

A PLANNED deportation of more than 50 people to Jamaica was in doubt last night after a last-minute legal challenge.

The detainees, who the Home Office claim are foreign nationals accused of ‘serious’ criminal offences, were due to fly out of Heathrow today.

But the Court of Appeal has ruled some on the flight had not had access to proper legal advice as they did not have working SIM cards due to issues with a phone mast near two detention centres close to the airport.

Campaigners said they believe the decision means the planned deportation cannot now go ahead.

Bella Sankey, of charity Detention Action which brought the case, called the ruling a ‘victory for access to justice, fairness and the rule of law’. She said it would apply to ‘at least 56 people’.

Immigration minister Kevin Foster told MPs he would ‘not comment’ until we ‘consider what the judgment says’. Last night, crowds gathered in Parliament Square to protest against the flight.

Carrying placards reading ‘Solidarity with the Windrush Generation’, they chanted: ‘Respect human rights.’

One man said he knew someone booked on the flight and said he had been deprived of his phone for weeks.

And a woman, who gave her name only as Anthea, whose husband was deported to Jamaica in February last year, added: ‘That’s how this system works. It destabilises you by stripping away your dignity. They were in shackles for the entire flight. It’s an image that reminds me of the days of slavery.’

More than 150 politicians and peers have written to Boris Johnson asking him to stop the deportation.

Customs checks by 2021 ‘could spark food shortages’

GOODS coming into Britain from the EU will face import controls from January 1 next year, senior cabinet minister Michael Gove has said. Traders in both the UK and the EU will have to submit customs declarations and will be liable to checks as soon as the Brexit transition period finishes. The British Retail Consortium warned of potential shortages unless an infrastructure is in place, with fresh fruit and vegetables especially vulnerable.