South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine today welcomed the news that the Home Office has dropped its threat to deport the head teacher of a local primary school as a "victory for common sense".
Ms McAlpine has campaigned tirelessly to ensure the Home Office drops its case against David MacIssac, who has been in charge of Ae Primary School for seven years. On Thursday Ms McAlpine, accompanied by local councillor Andrew Wood, introduced Mr MacIssaac to Michael Russell, Scotland's Education Minister, in a bid to aid his case which had cross party support.
The Home Office has now made a major U-turn and dropped its refusal of the 58-year-old American's application for leave to remain in the UK.
Previously Mr MacIsaac had applied for permanent residency but was rejected because the Home Office did not think his marriage to his Scottish wife Susan was "genuine and subsisting".
The Home Office admitted making a mistake in declaring his marriage “invalid” and suggested he could be offered a 30-month visa extension on compassionate grounds because Susan has cancer and insisted he drop his appeal.
He will now re-submit his application for residency and will retain a right of appeal.
Ms McAlpine said:
"This is a victory for common sense and I'm extremely pleased the Home Office has dropped its threat to deport Mr MacIsaac.
"The meeting with Scotland's education secretary clearly sent a strong signal to the Home Office that its harassment of Mr McIsaac as wrong.
"The Home Office should be ashamed that its archaic system has brought about this highly stressful and unsettling situation.
"I hope Home Office officials learn from this situation and address the serious concerns it has raised about this barbaric Westminster system."