PRITI Patel expressed her fury at lawyers and "do-gooding" celebs for preventing the deportation of Jamaican criminals from the UK – accusing them of insulting Windrush victims.
The Home Secretary said it was "deeply offensive" to liken those unfairly caught up in the scandal to killers and rapists hoping to stay in Britain.
Her comments came after lawyers yesterday managed to keep 23 criminals – originally from Jamaica – in the UK.
They successfully filed last-minute legal challenges to block the offenders boarding a deportation flight.
More than 60 MPs, mostly from the Labour Party, had urged Priti Patel to abandon the flight, saying of those being deported: "Britain is their home."
And Labour backbencher Kim Johnson described the deportation as "obscene and irresponsible".
Meanwhile, a group of 82 celebrities including Naomi Campbell, Line of Duty star Thandie Newton and Bond actress Naomie Harris signed an open letter demanding the flight did not take off.
Their letter said many of the people onboard had lived in the UK since they were kids and could be descendants of the Windrush generation.
They also said they may have been forced to commit crimes while being trafficked.
In the letter, they wrote: "Until justice has been delivered for all Commonwealth Windrush victims, any deportations to Commonwealth countries risk further unlawful removals of Windrush generation members or Windrush descendants who may have the right to remain in the UK but do not yet have the required paperwork."
'A STAIN ON HISTORY'
But Miss Patel slammed their likening to Windrush, blasting: "The Windrush scandal is a stain on our country's history.
"That generation made an enormous contribution to our country and were wronged by successive governments.
"To see ill-informed Labour politicians and do-gooding celebrities attempting to conflate the victims of Windrush with these vile criminals set for deportation is not only misjudged and upsetting but deeply offensive."
Under the Windrush scandal, which began to come to light in 2017, Caribbean migrants living legally in Britain were wrongly targeted by the Home Office for removal, even though they were entirely innocent.
But Miss Patel was quick to defend the Home Office today, saying: "This Government will never stand in solidarity with rapists and murderers and we remain committed to removing these foreign criminals from our country.
"They have violated our laws and have no right to be here."
On Wednesday, 13 criminals were deported to Jamaica, while lawyers for another 23 managed to take them off the aircraft's passenger list.
It is understood 36 Jamaican criminals were notified five days before the flight that they would be deported and at that stage none had outstanding legal barriers to removal.
A large proportion submitted legal challenges, with new claims including human rights appeals and allegations that the criminals had been victims of modern slavery.
The flight landed in Jamaica yesterday with 13 criminals on board, including three killers, a paedophile and four drug dealers.
The 23 who were dragged off had been jailed for a total of 156 years, including one life term.
Paul Bingham and Rocardo Forbes
Paul Bingham, 49, and Rocardo Forbes , 52, were deported on Wednesday after convictions for killing a drug dealer.
Fitzroy Daley was deported on Wednesday after he initially avoided being removed on an earlier flight.
He was convicted of manslaughter after he stabbed a man to death in a row outside a pub in east London.
Jermaine Stewart, from Liverpool, was sentenced to six years in 2014 for raping a woman who fell asleep on his sofa.
He was one of the 23 criminals who avoided deportation to Jamaica on Wednesday's flight at the last minute.
Michael White was allowed to remain in the UK on Wednesday.
He previously murdered a young man over drug money.
Fabian Henry was jailed for 12 years for raping a 17-year-old girl twice and abducting and having sex with a girl of 15 while on bail.
He won a reprieve from deportation to Jamaica in February this year.
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