MP resorts to Twitter to highlight case of 'terminally ill' EU citizen deported in error

PUBLISHED: 14:41 07 August 2019 | UPDATED: 14:41 07 August 2019

Labour MP Chi Onwurah, pictured here in 2011, took to Twitter to highlight the case of her constituent who she said was deported in error by the Home Office. Picture: David Parry/PA Archive/PA Images

Labour MP Chi Onwurah, pictured here in 2011, took to Twitter to highlight the case of her constituent who she said was deported in error by the Home Office. Picture: David Parry/PA Archive/PA Images

PA Archive/PA Images

An MP has blamed Brexit bureaucracy for Home Office delays in responding to the case of one of her constituents, who she says is an EU citizen with terminal cancer who should not have been deported.

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Chi Onwurah, Labour MP for Newcastle upon Tyne Central, said she was forced to resort to Twitter in an attempt to get a response about her constituent. She said the extra demands placed on the Home Office by Brexit are causing delays in dealing with cases.

Her tweet said: "Dear UK Home Office, I have emailed you re my constituent, an EU citizen deported by you in error, as you admit, w[ith] Stage 4 cancer. He needs to be returned to Newcastle so he can receive proper treatment in his last few weeks. You are not responding so resorting to social media."

Her initial tweet has been shared more than 4,200 times. In a follow-up tweet she clarified further that the courts have already quashed the reasons for the man's deportation, saying that she had not had any replies from the Home Office for more than three weeks.

"My constituent is still alive but understandably extremely stressed, as are his loved ones," she added.

She said that she took to social media because official channels available to her as an MP had not brought a promised reply. "Over the last 18 months Home Office response times have deteriorated, but my constituent cannot wait any longer," she said.

"I am not criticising Home Office immigration staff, their resources have been cut drastically whilst Brexit has put huge additional requirements on them," she added.

"The politicians in charge are responsible for the resources and the outcomes, not the case workers."

A Home Office spokesperson has said that they will respond to Onwurah in due course, adding: "The individual is currently free to travel to and from the UK as an EU citizen."

The constituent was deported in 2018 after receiving a 12 month jail sentence, later reduced on appeal, for offences including possessing an offensive weapon and battery. The Home Office argued that at the time of considering the deportation, it had not received any evidence of residency or of medical barriers to the case. The deportation order was later appealed successfully.

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