Mr. Stephen Purcell
Monday 4th July 2004
Dear Mr. Blair,
I am a British citizen resident in London with my American wife and
month-old British daughter. We married at the beginning of this
year, and decided then that we would like to settle our family in the
UK. To that end, we solicited and carefully followed the
immigration advice of the Home Office in February.
The Home Office later contradicted its advice, and now insists that my
wife must leave the country by the end of this month in order to fulfil
the requirements of a subsequent change of policy. Doing so would
require our breast-fed daughter to travel abroad for an indeterminate
period without the usual infant immunisations and myself, which we
In reaching this state of affairs, we have been subjected to such a
degree of inconsistent and impersonal bureaucracy that we fear we must
instead plan to leave the country and settle overseas.
Our Member of Parliament, Mr. Chris Smith, has firmly supported our
case in recent months, but he has failed to obtain a helpful reply from
the responsible minister, Mr. Des Browne. Please find enclosed
copies of all correspondence relating to our situation.
In his latest letter to Mr. Smith, Mr. Browne asserts that discretion
to grant my wife leave to remain is available to the Home Office, but
that the issue of our daughter's safety to travel is not sufficient
compassionate grounds for that discretion to be applied.
Further, Mr. Browne states that the form of my wife's application was
valid at the time it was made, and that the rules used to refuse it
were introduced only a number of weeks after the application was
received by the Home Office.
My wife and I must currently choose between risking the health of our
daughter by travelling abroad at great expense to make a second
application that will be a formality, and remaining in the country
after my wife's current visa expires at the end of this month, possibly
resulting in deportation.
In either case, we are sorely disappointed that our honest efforts to
follow procedure have been met with such a lack of consideration, and
we are not inclined to undergo further distress in order to be granted
the privilege of settling our family and continuing to pay taxes in my
home country. It appears to me that our case reflects very poorly
upon the current state of immigration policy in this country, and would
doubtless surprise the average person as much as the many friends and
acquaintances to which we describe it.
It is our hope that you might be able to bring some additional
consideration and reason to bear on our case, and we anxiously await
With many thanks in advance for your time and trouble,