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Send them packing


Home Secretary Theresa May.

LONDON — Home Secretary Theresa May has accused judges of making the UK more dangerous by ignoring rules aimed at deporting more foreign criminals.

Last year, MPs approved new guidance for judges making clear a criminal’s right to a family life had limits.

But in the Mail on Sunday, May said she now wanted to introduce a law to require most foreigners guilty of serious crimes to be deported.

Some judges were choosing to “ignore parliament’s wishes”, she argued.

Last year’s guidance was designed to put an end to circumstances in which the right to a family life as set out in Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights was used to justify granting foreign criminals the right to remain in the UK, rather than being deported.

Avoided deportation

Last year, Conservative MP Charlie Elphicke obtained Home Office figures suggesting that 177 foreign criminals avoided deportation in the year 2011 to 2012 after convincing judges of their right to a family life in Britain.

At the time, Labour questioned whether the guidance would be sufficient to override the precedent set by earlier cases and said it would support primary legislation.

The home secretary, in her newspaper article, blamed judges who had “got it into their heads that the ECHR Article Eight ‘right to family life’ could not be curbed”.

“Unfortunately, some judges evidently do not regard a debate in Parliament on new immigration rules, followed by the unanimous adoption of those rules, as evidence that Parliament actually wants to see those new rules implemented,” she wrote.

She noted that one judge had justified his decision on the basis that the new guidance had been subject only to “a weak form of Parliamentary scrutiny”. (BBC)

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