A Home Office deportation flight to Jamaica took off today with only seven out of the 112 people expected to be on board.
The flight did mean that people who had committed crimes ranging from sexual assault against children, firearms offences, drug crimes and violent offences left the country.
Tory Minister Tom Pursglove blamed "last minute" legal claims for the low numbers aboard the flight in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Deportation flights to Jamaica have proved controversial as some people have lived in the UK since they were children or have connections to the Windrush generation, who came to Britain in the 1950s and 60s from Caribbean countries.
"This flight to Jamaica makes up just 1% of total enforced returns in the year ending September 2021," Pursglove said.
"However many more criminals could have left the UK today. What we have seen over the last 24 hours is more last-minute claims facilitated by specialist immigration law firms, as well as representations from MPs to stop this flight from leaving."
Conservative MP William Wragg asked: "How many dangerous foreign national offenders were due to be on the deportation flight this morning and how many actually left owing to appeals?"
Mr Pursglove replied: "I can confirm that the manifest originally had 112 individuals on it, in the end only seven left our country on that flight."
Tory backbencher Peter Bone could be heard exclaiming: "How many? Seven?"
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Shadow Home Office minister Stephen Kinnock said: "The Home Office must deport dangerous foreign criminals who have no right to be in our country and who should be returned to the country of their citizenship."
He added: "But the Home Office also has a responsibility to get its deportation decisions right."
Conservative MPs lined up to criticise the opposition, with claims Labour and the SNP supported "lefty" immigration lawyers over the British public.
Stoke-on-Trent North MP Jonathan Gullis claimed his constituents were "flabbergasted that the woke, wet and wobbly lot opposite are on the side of their lefty woke warriors, who are making sure these rapists and paedophiles remain in this United Kingdom, rather than standing up for the British people and their safety".
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But the SNP's Anne McLaughlin later said: "Can I say how disrespectful I find it the way members on those benches keep talking about lawyers, who are after all simply protecting people under the laws of this country?
"It is childish in the extreme when every time we mention it all we hear is 'lefty lawyers, lefty lawyers'.
"Who cares what their politics are? They protect people according to the law."
Mr Pursglove replied: "I of course think that it is right and proper that people have access to legal advice and of course the legal profession, and due process is absolutely crucial to ensuring that these matters are handled sensitively and appropriately and correctly in accordance with the law, but what we can't continue to have is this completely unbalanced situation where we do see abuses of the system."
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