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Treatment of County Durham mother 'a new low'

Irene Clennell. Credit: Family photo

The treatment of a woman, married to a County Durham man for almost 30 years, marks a 'new low' and 'goes against any British sense of decency' according to an organisation which provides services for migrants.

Irene Clennell, originally from Singapore, was deported after spending time in a detention centre because she lost her right to remain in the UK.

Clennell has been married to John from Chester-le-Street, since 1988. They had two children together and now have a grandchild.

She was given indefinite leave to remain in the UK after her marriage, but spent periods back in Singapore caring for her parents before they died.

Clennell lost her right to remain in the UK, as she is understood to have spent more than two years out of the county.

Her last visitor visa expired last year and she was sent to a detention centre in Scotland after a routine appointment with immigration service in mid-January.

On Sunday, February 26th, Clennell was forcibly removed from the country and sent back to Singapore. Her family have now set up a campaign and 'Go Fund Me' page to try and get her back home.

“Covertly forcing a grandmother - who has lived, worked and raised a family here for decades – out of the country goes against any British sense of decency and should never have happened. This case marks a new low for our out-of-touch system. Irene has British children and grandchildren, cares for her sick British husband, and has contributed more here than her country of birth. Yet secret deportation flights at great cost to the public purse are a common feature of today’s immigration system, as is scheduling flights on Sundays or other times when legal support is sparse. This is the human cost of a political push for arbitrary migration targets which don’t take real life into account. Irene will continue to challenge this inhumane decision. For the sake of Irene and many like her, the Home Office need an urgent rethink.”

– Spokesperson, Migrant Voice

The Home Office have released the following statement:

"All applications for leave to remain in the UK are considered on their individual merits and in line with the immigration rules. We expect those with no legal right to remain in the country to leave.”