Naomi Campbell and Thandie Newton join prominent black Britons to urge airlines to halt deportation flights to Jamaica

Thandie Newton, Naomi Campbell and Naomie Harris added their names to the open letter. Credit: PA

Supermodel Naomi Campbell and actors Thandie Newton and Naomie Harris have urged airlines not to comply with a planned Home Office deportation flight to Jamaica.

The stars added their names alongside more than 80 other prominent black Britons - including Booker Prize-winning author Bernardine Evaristo and historian David Olusoga
 - to an open letter to the CEOs of TUI UK, Evelop Airlines, Titan Airways, Carlson Wagonlit Travel, Hi Fly and Air Tanker.

In the letter, seen by ITV News, they said that they have reason to believe the companies had worked with the UK government to "operate and facilitate" charter flight removals, adding: "We have grounds to believe that one of your firms may be planning to operate the flight planned for 2nd December."

The letter continued: "We are writing to ask you to decline to operate the flight on the 2nd December and to pause the operation of deportation flights to Commonwealth countries for the foreseeable future.

"There are a number of important reasons why such flights are wholly inappropriate at this time and risk the unlawful and wrongful removal of people who have the right to remain in the UK."

The letter outlined concerns raised by the Equality and Human Rights Commission that the Government's 'hostile environment' policies breach equality laws and discriminate against black people.

It also referred to the recent resignation of senior black civil servant Alexandra Ankrah who resigned from the Windrush compensation scheme raising concerns the programme was systemically racist and unfit for purpose.

"These developments call into question the Home Office’s competency to deal with the continuing injustices it has created," the letter said."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."

The open letter claims that a number of the people scheduled to be deported on the flight have lived in the UK since they were children.

The letter said deportations should not happen until 'justice is delivered for all Commonwealth Windrush victims'.

In 2018, the Shaw Review recommended the Government should stop deporting people who were born or brought up in the UK.

"Despite a clear and reasoned recommendation, the Government has ignored its official reviewer and made no attempt to reform law or practice," the letter said.

"In an already challenging festive period, and for the reasons listed above, we ask you to reflect on whether the operation of this flight would comply with your corporatesocial responsibility values."

In 2018, in the wake of the Windrush scandal, Virgin Airlines confirmed that it would "end all involuntary deportations" on its network.

"We believe this decision is in the best interest of our customers and people, and is in keeping with our values as a company," Virgin Airlines said in a statement.Under UK law, non-British citizens who have received a prison sentence of 12 months or more can be eligible for deportation.

In February, a deportation flight to Jamaica went ahead but with fewer detainees after a last-minute Court of Appeal intervention.

The Home Office said that people detained on the flight "include convicted murderers and rapists" but did not confirm the number of people on the flight or their individual convictions.

A spokesperson for the Home Office said: "We make no apology for seeking to remove dangerous foreign criminals to keep the public safe.

"Each week we remove foreign criminals from the UK to different countries who have no right to be here, this flight is no different."