West Ham MP Lyn Brown says the government is nasty over immigration


- Credit: Archant

Now the sun has started to shine, it’s easy to feel a little more optimistic. Spring is a wonderful time.

Viewers of my Facebook page will know that my garden is beginning to show a touch of colour after a dreary winter, in which people across the country, though not in Newham, thankfully, have seen their lives turned upside down by storms and floods. My thoughts are with them, as they struggle to rebuild their homes and their lives.

In those communities, there has been a coming together to help family, friends and neighbours who need it most. It’s the kind of thing we see in Newham every day. Even in these hard times people are generous to one another, often when they themselves don’t have much.

Only last week, as I queued at the supermarket I was heartened to see the number of people who joined me in dropping items into the food bank collection.

Compassion and generosity are two defining characteristics of our society. This month, just in a few days, 175,000 people signed up to the campaign to stop the deportation of student Yashoki Bageerathi to Mauritius. Campaigners wanted to give her a chance to take her A-levels.

Ignoring the pleas of the compassionate, Yashoki was forcibly removed. This government would not make an exception. There are more than 13,000 forced removals a year, some from Newham. Young men and women, some younger than Yashoki, are sent to unsafe countries such as Afghanistan, putting them at risk.

Even George Osborne’s father-in-law says that tough immigration policies have made Britain “nasty”, representing a “blot” on the UK’s reputation. I fully agree. We, as a nation, are better than this, we really are.

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What a pity this Tory-led coalition can’t raise itself to the standards of tolerance and empathy set by the country as a whole.