“One rule for black boys and another for white boys” those were those uttered by Jeremy Corbyn as he attacked Boris Johnson in the House of Commons over the recent Jamaica deportation flight.
The Labour leader suggested the government was applying different rules to black and white people.
Corbyn further blamed the “cruel and callous” prime minister of trying to “mislead” the public by suggesting that foreign nationals who have lived in the UK since childhood were being removed for committing serious crimes like rape and manslaughter when some had been convicted of much less serious offences.
In comments coming very close to accusing the PM of racism, Mr Corbyn asked whether there was “one rule for young black boys from the Caribbean and another for white boys from the US”.
Speaking at prime minister’s questions in the Commons, Mr Corbyn demanded to know whether it was right for a man who came to the UK as a five-year-old, was compelled to carry drugs for a “county lines” gang and had not reoffended since leaving prison should be deported.
And he drew a contrast between the treatment meted out to young black men who were brought to the UK as children to US-born Mr Johnson’s own previous admission of drug use and the 1990 recording of the PM – then a journalist – discussing with his friend Darius Guppy a plan to have a reporter beaten up.
“The government has learnt absolutely nothing from the Windrush scandal,” said Mr Corbyn.
“This cruel and callous government is trying to mislead the British people into thinking it is solely deporting foreign nationals who are guilty of murder, rape and other very serious offences. This is clearly not the case.
“Take the example of a black boy who came to the UK aged five and is now being deported after serving time for a drugs offence.
“If there was a white boy with blond 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 white boys from the US?”
Mr Johnson insisted that the deportation of 17 men to Jamaica on Thursday was justified.
All of those deported were Jamaican nationals who have been convicted of criminal offences and given prison sentences of 12 months or more. Another 25 men avoided removal at the last minute after a court of appeal ruling in their favour.
The PM told the Commons: “I think the whole country would agree… that it is entirely right that foreign national offenders should be deported from this country in accordance with the law.”