Virgin Atlantic says it will no longer help Home Office carry out involuntary deportations

Virgin Atlantic will no longer help the Home Office carry out involuntary deportations, the airline has said.

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Virgin said the deportations would no longer take place on any of its flights ( Getty )

It added that the decision was taken “in the best interests” of customers and staff, and deportations would not take place on any of its lines.

The decision follows months of pressure on the government over the Windrush scandal, which saw people who arrived in Britain legally decades ago threatened with deportation because they lacked proof of their status.

The controversy cost former home secretary Amber Rudd her job in April.

Her successor, Sajid Javid, later promised to do the “right” thing with regards to the Windrush generation of Commonwealth citizens who had been caught up in the government’s so-called “hostile environment” immigration policy.

A Virgin Atlantic spokeswoman told The Independent: “We’ve made the decision to end all involuntary deportations on our network, and have already informed the Home Office. We believe this decision is in the best interest of our customers and people.”

A Home Office spokeswoman said: “We do not comment on operational matters.”

Mr Javid revealed last month that up to 63 people from the Windrush group may have been wrongly deported despite having lived in the UK legally for decades.

This week a damning parliamentary report found immigration officials used detention powers “unlawfully and inappropriately” in relation to members of the group.

MPs and peers on the joint committee on human rights said the treatment had been “shocking”, and dismissed the department’s claims the failings were down to individual errors.

A “fundamental change in the law, culture and procedures” was needed to ensure human rights were properly protected, their report found.

After the report’s publication, the Home Office said: “Our priority is to ensure that those who have struggled to demonstrate their right to be here are supported to do so and we have issued more than 2,000 documents confirming people’s settled status.

“But we know that it is equally important that we ensure that nothing like this can happen again. That is why we are carrying out historical reviews of detention and removals and have commissioned an independent lessons learned review.”

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