Cancer patient 'over the moon' after anti-deportation petition signed by 140,000

ITV News Central journalist Barnaby Papadopulos went to meet Lewin at his home in Birmingham

A Jamaican man who has been living in Birmingham for 20 years has said he's "over the moon" after avoiding deportation.

Lewin Williams, from Acocks Green, was the subject of a petition that attracted more than 140,000 signatures.

The 74-year-old, who was born in Jamaica, came to the UK in 2003, surviving by doing odd jobs and gardening for others in his local community.

But in 2019, he came to the attention of immigration officers after he was diagnosed with cancer.

Having received treatment in hospital, he was told he had to leave the country. He claims he was unable to afford a lawyer to work on his case.

Sitting in the sparse, downstairs room of the house he shares with others, Lewin expressed his gratitude to his caseworker, as well as people who signed a petition on his behalf.

"Man, I feel like I'm over the moon," he said. "I just said Lord, thank you God. I know there are some good ones out there."

But his caseworkers are concerned that the introduction of new legislation could make him - and others like him - vulnerable to deportation in the future.

"If they get rid of the Human Rights Act, what that will mean for people like Lewin is, certain death," claims Salman Mirza, a caseworker from the Smethwick based organisation, Brushstrokes. "Now all parties have agreed that if he did go back to Jamaica, he'd die within a year."

"If we had the Bill of Rights today we might be saying goodbye to Lewin - and in a very horrible way."

What is the British Bill of Rights?

The Human Rights Act essentially adopts the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law. Some people have long called for it to be scrapped, arguing that it gives European law precedence over UK law.

In response to this, the government announced plans to introduce a British Bill of Rights.

Justice Secretary Dominic Raab claimed at the end of June that "The Bill of Rights will strengthen our UK tradition of freedom whilst injecting a healthy dose of common sense into the system.

"These reforms will reinforce freedom of speech, enable us to deport more foreign offenders and better protect the public from dangerous criminals."

But opponents have dismissed the plans. Members of rights groups have claimed that the government is trying to dilute the rights of individuals in the UK, whilst others have alleged that the move is simply pandering to certain wings of the Conservative Party.

ITV News Central Political Correspondent Alison Mackenzie explains the significance of the proposed British Bill of Rights

"The bill was used by Lewin to assert his human right to life," explains ITV Central political correspondent Alison Mackenzie.

"The current government wants to scrap the human rights act and replace it with a bill of rights - yes rights and freedoms, but the controversy is, who is eligible?"

"Lewin is not a citizen of this country but is still applying for his human right; under the Bill of Rights it could be - they still have to vote it through - that only citizens can apply."

The two candidates to be Prime Minister - Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak - were both members of the government that introduced the bill to introduce a Bill of Rights. And both continue to favour a tough line on immigration.

While Lewin's case is settled for now, this isn't a conversation that's going away.

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