May to tackle legal loophole on foreign criminals

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Theresa May will order a crackdown on the “abuse” of human rights laws that is stopping foreign criminals being deported, it was reported yesterday.

The Home Secretary will put in place tougher immigration rules by the summer, according to the Sunday Telegraph.

She has pledged to stop all but the most “exceptional cases” succeeding on appeal after becoming convinced that tougher controls were needed to prevent criminals using the “right to a family life” –– under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights – to stay in Britain.

“It’s been causing a lot of concern, not just to the Government but also to an awful lot of members of the public,” she told the newspaper. By the summer we will have in place new immigration rules which I believe will end that abuse.”

Mrs May will direct judges rather than introducing fresh legislation but concedes the move may be challenged, it was reported.

She said: “If it doesn’t, if it’s tested in the courts and we find there’s a problem, we’ll obviously look at other measures but I’m confident in what we’re proposing to do.”

Mrs May has come in for criticism over the last week following moves to legislate for real-time surveillance of all email, text, website and phone call traffic. Civil liberties groups condemned the move as a “snoopers charter” and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg indicated he would curb the plans.

Mrs May said: “I would hope that we will be able to do this in a Bill in the next session, but in a way that enables people to have a sight of the clauses.”

A leading Palestinian activist has won his appeal against the Government’s attempts to deport him. Sheikh Raed Salah, 53, leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel, was held in June on the orders of the Home Secretary after he flew into Britain despite being banned from the country.

He launched a legal battle against moves to expel him and a tribunal has now found in his favour. The Home Office said it was “disappointed” with the tribunal’s decision.