The deputy leader of the council has criticised the Home Office over a schoolgirl facing deportation to the country from which she fled.

Green councillor Hannah Allbrooke called the Home Office "vicious" after it threatened to deport the 16-year-old and her family to Sudan, which they left in 2020 following persecution over their religious and political beliefs.

The Argus: She delivered a speech in Cardinal Newman Catholic School's chapelShe delivered a speech in Cardinal Newman Catholic School's chapel (Image: Andrew Gardner / The Argus)

Cllr Allbrooke, who also chairs Brighton and Hove City Council's children, young people and skills committee, said: "In Brighton and Hove, we are a city of sanctuary.

"We welcome asylum seekers and refugees. As a city and community, we do everything we can to support them.

"I'm no stranger to fighting the Home Office at this point because their terrible treatment of refugees and asylum seekers is frequent and vicious.

"When they say we must stop refugees and asylum seekers, sending them back to unsafe countries, we must say 'stay, Brighton and Hove is your home'."

The Argus: Hundreds of students attended the vigilHundreds of students attended the vigil (Image: Andrew Gardner / The Argus)

Cllr Allbrooke attended a vigil for Ann Bashir, who is facing deportation by the Home Office after her asylum claim was rejected.

The vigil was organised by students and staff at Cardinal Newman Catholic School in Hove, where Ann is a pupil, and held in the school's chapel to a backdrop of candles.

Cllr Allbrooke said Ann has the support of not only her, but that of the Green party. She pledged to write to the Home Office on the matter, bringing the campaigners "one step closer to winning their fight".

Ann travels over three hours each day to school from her asylum accommodation in London. She and her mother and sister previously lived with a family member in Hove but were offered a place in London and were compelled to take it.

The Argus: Ann and her father, who is presumed deadAnn and her father, who is presumed dead (Image: Supplied)

Hove MP Peter Kyle is also involved in the row. He said: "How dare they. How dare the Home Office do this to a student in her final year and about to sit GCSEs."

"Ann is now commuting to Cardinal Newman from Tower Hamlets, if that is not evidence of a broken asylum system, nothing is.

"Punishing a child when the family is in an asylum claim process is heartbreaking and cruel."