By Nigel MorrisHome Affairs Correspondent
The deportation of foreign prisoners to countries such as Jamaica and Nigeria will begin as soon as possible, Gordon Brown promised yesterday as he came under pressure over the prisons crisis. The Prime Minister's pledge came amid growing controversy about the 11,000 foreign nationals in the country's jails. There are two prisons without a single British inmate.
Agreements have already been set up with more than 100 countries to enable prisoners to be deported part-way through their sentences. But ministers have struggled to arrange deals with the nations whose citizens account for the majority of foreign inmates. These are essential to enable the Government to hit its target of deporting 4,000 foreigners a year.
The largest national groups in Britain's prisons are Jamaicans (1,374 inmates), Nigerians (1,028), Irish (638), Vietnamese (437), Pakistanis (389) and Chinese (374).
Challenged in the Commons about the problem, Mr Brown told MPs the Government intended to negotiate arrangements with the administrations in Jamaica, Nigeria, Vietnam and China. He said: "We will sign agreements with these countries so we can return prisoners from our cells as expeditiously as possible."
Britain and …