WE can probably guess what West Hampstead Lib Dem councillor John Bryant thinks of the Border Agency’s touring billboard van telling illegal overstayers to ‘go home’, quickly dubbed ‘the racist van’ by critics. It’s a bit hard to ask him right now – he’s 3,000 miles away in west Africa celebrating his marriage to his Ghanian wife Nana – but then he did recently describe the agency as “institutionally racist”.
Both he and new parliamentary candidate Maajid Nawaz have struggled to get their partners into the country. John married his partner, Nana, in 2011. You may remember him blogging, candidly, about taking down his Naomi Campbell poster from his bathroom after finding love on holiday.
Everything seemed like it was going swell until he found himself deluged in paperwork with his wife in the wrong continent. It led him to call for a ‘root and branch’ review of how the agency operates.
He’s now having a second ceremony for friends and family in Ghana who couldn’t make it to London… (a party he is keen to point out he saved up for in a credit union deposit).
Maajid found it all a topic to mull over with John over lunch because he wants his American fiancee Rachel to join him in north west London and is running into visa problems.
“I had found the agency to be rigid, incompetent and institutionally racist when I tried to secure the safe passage of my Ghanian wife into the country,” John wrote in a letter to the New Journal recently.