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Volume 490: debated on Monday 30 March 2009

Immigration (Tony Lola)

I wish to submit a petition on behalf of more than 2,000 people who are campaigning against the deportation of my constituents Tony Lola and his mum, Mireille, back to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The petition has my full support and states:

The Petition of persons concerned at the Government’s decision to refuse Tony Lola’s application for asylum,

Declares that over Christmas 2005, Tony Lola, then aged 6, was being held in custody by police in the Democratic Republic of Congo; notes that his parents had objected to the politics of the governing party; further notes that soon after, Tony was released but because he was felt to be at risk, he was sent to join his mother, Mireille, who had fled the DRC in 2002; further declares that, since his arrival, Tony has amazed and delighted those in the community he has joined at Didsbury CE Primary School and in the congregation at Emmanuel Church, Didsbury; further notes that he is fully integrated and participates with evident enthusiasm in his studies and activities at both the school and in the church; believes that he shows real potential to develop his already impressive talents to the benefit of the whole community; further notes that in 2007, his application for asylum was turned down by the Home Office as HM Government believes the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo does not pose a threat to Tony or Mireille; and further declares that he and Mireille are now at risk of removal back to DR Congo.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to review its decision and the Home Office to use their powers of discretion and allow Tony and Mireille to stay.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


Sea Defences (Essex)

The massive petition, supported by thousands of people, shows the strength of feeling of Canvey residents against the Environment Agency plan to flood a large section on the west of Canvey Island. The Environment Agency wants to do that to reduce flood risk along the Thames corridor and provide tidal habitat, as required by the European Union. At least it is now starting to consult Canvey residents, as I demanded, and the consultation commences tomorrow. I think that it will find that sacrificing part of Canvey Island is totally unacceptable, and rejected by Canvey people. If necessary, I will personally stand defiant in front of the diggers to protect Canvey people from the disastrous scheme.

I am delighted that so many people have joined my Stop Canvey Flooding campaign, and I congratulate and thank each one who signed the position. They are all stars.

The petition states:

The Petition of Councillor Dave Blackwell, Canvey Island residents, and others,

Declares that the Environment Agency proposal to abandon to the sea 800 acres of land on the west of Canvey Island is wrong. Sacrificing such a large ecologically and environmentally important area could increase Canvey’s problems. Canvey issues, such as flooding, building 1,000 more houses, an additional Canvey access road, hazardous industrial plants and protecting Canvey’s very special environment, are interlinked. These should be considered together as they affect island people’s future safety and quality of life.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Government to abandon its plans to flood such a large area of Canvey Island and to meet the hon. Member for Castle Point, Councillor Dave Blackwell and Canvey councillors to discuss their plans.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.