Just to update everyone on the Florence and Precious Mhango deportation case, in the early hours of this morning Florence phoned me with the news I've been waiting for. Paul Chen QC, an English advocate, has agreed to fight for them. We can't get too carried away but at this very minute they are on their way to the airport and in 5 hrs their flight will take off so we've really nothing left to lose.
Paul Chen was described to me as a "deportations specialist" who "can pull rabbits out of hats". He's convinced this is a case worth fighting for exactly the same reason as those of you who have emailed and phoned me in droves. It cannot be right to send a ten year old girl who had her early childhood traumatised by her father's violence toward her mother, back to a country where her father's family have already staked their claim and will certainly take her from her mother on arrival.
It particularly cannot be right when he is apparently entitled to live and work here!
Precious has a right to be with her family. And her family is her mum, Florence.
Thank you for everything you have done so far - when it's all over I'll share with you some of the fantastic support we've received from some surprising quarters.
Don't think we can leave it all to the QC however. If he is successful today, the home office may still deport them. They can do that apparently. So they need you to keep emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. UPDATE 5pm - this email is now bouncing back so please email email@example.com instead.
Florence Mhango asked me (you will recall) that anyone contacting Phil Woolas do so respectfully. (She's a very respectful person and brings her daughter up to be the same.) And she also believes that Phil Woolas has a very difficult job to do. I agree. I mean that sincerely. I accept that sometimes deportations have to happen. I just believe that it would be unspeakably awful if the Mhangos were to be deported.
Anyway, emails still welcome but please keep in mind Florence's request for a respectful approach. And thank you again. There is one more thing that you can do. The QC is a private one and we have to raise money to cover any court action. I'll tell you more when the people in Cranhill have set up their bank account for donations.