Jeremy Corbyn has launched a personal attack on Boris Johnson over the government’s latest attempt to deport dozens of foreign criminals.
The Labour leader challenged the prime minister to say if he would treat a white boy the same way as one of those being forcibly removed from the UK back to Jamaica.
Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions in the Commons, Mr Corbyn said an intervention from the courts blocking several people from being deported proved “the government has learnt absolutely nothing from the Windrush scandal”.
He appeared to reference Mr Johnson’s own past, after the Uxbridge MP admitted in 2007 that he had tried cocaine at university, and allegations he discussed beating up a journalist.
Mr Corbyn asked of New York-born Mr Johnson: “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?”
Mr Johnson hit back, claiming the Labour leader “demeans himself and besmirches the reputation of the Windrush generation”.
“He has no right to conflate them with those foreign national offenders we are deporting.”
Mr Johnson has previously admitted to trying cocaine, saying when asked to confirm the allegation: “Yes. I tried it at university and I remember it vividly. And it achieved no pharmacological, psychotropical or any other effect on me whatsoever.”
Campaigners have this week claimed victory in their fight to stop the planned deportation of 50 people.
The detainees, who the Home Office says are foreign criminals and are being held at two centres near Heathrow Airport, were due to be flown to the Caribbean island on Tuesday morning.
But a Court of Appeal judge intervened to order the government not to remove those who did not have a functioning mobile phone and therefore adequate access to legal advice.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “The planned charter flight to Jamaica is specifically for deporting foreign national offenders.
“Those detained for removal include people convicted of manslaughter, rape, violent crime and dealing Class-A drugs.
“We are urgently asking the judge to reconsider their ruling and it would be inappropriate to comment further whilst legal proceedings are ongoing.”
Author: Aubrey Allegretti