Jeremy Corbyn provoked gasps of disbelief in the Commons today, as he appeared to compare the Prime Minister to one of the criminals being deported to Jamaica.
Speaking during his weekly clash with Boris Johnson, the outgoing Labour leader raised the case of a young black boy who came to the UK aged five and is now being deported after serving time for a drugs offence.
Corbyn continued: “If there was a case of a young white boy with blonde hair who later dabbled in Class A drugs and conspired with a friend to beat up a journalist, would he deport that boy or is it one rule for young black boys from the Caribbean and another for young white boys from the US?”
His comments prompted MPs on both sides to gasp, with many Tories tutting and groaning.
The Prime Minister hit back by claiming Corbyn “demeans himself and besmirches the reputation of the Windrush generation” – who made lives better for Britons.
“He has not the right to conflate them with those foreign national offenders we are deporting,” he thundered during one of the tensest exchanges since December’s election.
But Corbyn hit back, arguing the Windrush generation had been “disgracefully treated” by the government.
The row centres around the government’s plan to deport around 50 people to Jamaica. The flight eventually took off with 17 on board after a last-minute legal battle between the government and human rights campaigners.
The Home Office lost a ruling on Monday after a judge said some of the detainees had not been able to get proper access to legal advice.
In a statement, the Prime Minister’s spokesman said “we bitterly regret” the court decision that stopped the 25 people from leaving, and will urgently appeal.
“The offences which these people were responsible for include one manslaughter, one firearms offence, seven violent offences, two which are in the category of rape or sexual offences and 14 drugs offences,” the spokesman said.
He added: “We make no apology whatsoever for seeking to remove serious foreign national offenders.”
Johnson was famously recorded speaking to his friend Darius Guppy, discussing beating up a journalist as revenge for investigating his activities.
Ultimately the assault did not occur, while Guppy ended up being jailed for a separate £1.8m fraud.
Questioned about the tape by Eddie Mair in 2013, Johnson admitted he “did humour him in a long phone conversation, from which absolutely nothing eventuated”.
“I think if any of us had our phone conversations bugged, they might, you know … people say all sorts of fantastical things while they’re talking to their friends,” he added.
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