Catholic MP joins campaign to support children of Commonwealth migrants


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Official portrait

By: Jo Siedlecka

Catholic Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg has thrown his weight behind a campaign in support of the children of Commonwealth immigrants who have been incorrectly identified as illegal immigrants, denied housing and healthcare and threatened with deportation.

A letter written by Labour MP David Lammy has been signed by more than 140 MPs from all parties. It states that: "Individuals being denied access to healthcare" is "a cruel twist of fate" given that after WWII our government sent out a call to the Commonwealth and thousands of Caribbean migrants came to Britain to staff our National Health Service."

"The Prime Minister must meet with Commonwealth nationals, their lawyers and groups supporting the representatives of 12 Caribbean countries to discuss why the formal diplomatic request was rejected."

Speaking to Nick Ferrari on LBC this morning Mr Rees-Mogg said: "It's absolutely dreadful. These people are as British as you or I... It's really extraordinary that the Home Office is coming out with this ghastly bureaucratic guff saying they have to show that they're British.

"No-one's asking us to prove that we're British when we go and use public services. I think it's a deep disgrace. It should be the top priority of the government to sort it out. It's such a bad way of treating people and it puts bureaucratic rules ahead of people's lives. It's shameful."

When asked why this was happening, he added: "You do wonder about the Home Office sometimes. It's not our most efficient government department, is it? A Labour Home Secretary 10 or 15 years ago said it wasn't fit for purpose."

Mr Lammy said this was the first time he'd ever agreed with Mr Rees-Mogg on an issue.

A petition calling for an amnesty, a change in the burden of proof and compensation for those affected has gained more than 139,000 signatures in a week. (see below)

The petition will be considered for a debate in Parliament, however the MPs are calling on the Prime Minister to "ensure that this is addressed with the utmost urgency in advance of any such debate."

Downing Street has just announced that Theresa May will be holding a meeting with Commonwealth leaders shortly, to discuss the issue.

To sign the petition see: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/216539

Read the MPs' letter here: https://twitter.com/DavidLammy/status/923163328742133760

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