U-turn on deportation review: MP inflames row by accusing Joy Gardner of sponging

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THE Home Office has launched an internal review of deportation procedures followed by immigration officials and police officers in an apparent U-turn on the Joy Gardner case.

Charles Wardle, the Home Office minister, approved the inquiry last week after announcing that 'our deportation processes are working as well as they could', it emerged yesterday.

The review, to be conducted jointly by Scotland Yard and the Home Office, will concentrate on general issues and will not focus on the Gardner case in any detail, the Home Office said.

There will be no attempt to determine whether the police and immigration officers who went to her home in north London on 28 July should be held responsible for her collapse and subsequent death.

Although the review falls a long way short of the public inquiry called for by Mrs Gardner's family, it represents a climb-down by the Home Office, which at first insisted that there was no reason to question the procedures used by its officials.

It was set up after Paul Condon, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, said the roles of the police and the immigration department in deportation cases needed to be studied. The report, which will look at the sort of equipment used to restrain deportees, is unlikely to be published. An internal review by Scotland Yard and an inquiry by the Police Complaints Authority are also under way.

About 1,200 people marched through Hornsey, north London on Saturday to protest at Mrs Gardner's death. Earlier, Mrs Gardner's mother, Myrna Simpson, laid a wreath outside her daughter's home in Crouch End.

Teresa Gorman, the Tory MP for Billericay, added to the controversy when she accused Mrs Gardner of 'bumming on the social services for five years'. She told BBC Television's Breakfast with Frost programme: 'We must remind ourselves that this woman had been fighting extradition because she was an illegal immigrant for five years. She has cost the British taxpayer an enormous amount of money.'

Bob Cryer, Labour MP for Bradford South, said Mrs Gorman's remarks were 'deeply offensive to the friends and relatives of Joy Gardner'.