Mr. Stephen Purcell
[address removed]
London N1

Tel: [removed]
E-mail: [removed]

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 consider unacceptable.

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 your response.

With many thanks in advance for your time and trouble,

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Purcell