Crawley MP Henry Smith has told David Cameron of his ‘disappointment’ over a Supreme Court devision not to allow Chagos Islanders to return home.
Mr Smith raised the issue at Prime Minister’s Questions after the verdict to uphold an earlier ruling by the House of Lords which said banning the Chagossians from living in their homeland was legal today (Wednesday June 29).
About 3,000 Chagossians have settled in Crawley after their community was expelled from their homeland to make way for a US Naval base 50 years ago.
Allen Vincatassin, president of the Provisional Government of Diego Garcia and The Chagos Islands, said the ruling was ‘very disappointing’ but urged his community ‘to never lose hope’.
Mr Smith, who is vice-chair of the Chagos Islands All-Party Parliamentary Group, said: “I am very disappointed that the Supreme Court ruled against the right of return for the Chagossian people to the British Indian Ocean Territory today.
“My campaign, however, alongside the Chagossian community, including all those who have made Crawley their home, will continue.
“Hours after the verdict was announced, I told David Cameron at Prime Minister’s Questions of my disappointment, and he said that while the National Security Council are looking into the options, costs and benefits of resettlement, an announcement will be made in the coming months.
“I am grateful to the Prime Minister for raising this issue with President Obama at my request during his visit to London earlier in the year as the US leases a military base on Diego Garcia.
“Supporting the Chagossian people – British citizens – in their efforts on returning to their homeland is one of my priorities as their representative in Parliament.”
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