9 2 mins 9 yrs

Either you really couldn’t make it up, or they really don’t want him to go.

Two days ago Theresa May, the Home Secretary, brandished a piece of paper and declared “extradition for Qatada in our time”. Today, the Council of Europe says: “Oh no you don’t”. The BBC carries the breaking news.

I can barely bring myself to follow this saga anymore, so excuse me if I get it wrong. It seems that on Tuesday, May said the way was clear for Qatada to be deported, following a completed deal with Jordan and the passing of a deadline for him to appeal the decision to some Grand Chamber of High Priests of the European Court of Human Rights. She triumphantly ordered his arrest ahead of deportation that day. Only he did appeal that decision on Tuesday, his counsel claiming the deadline for an appeal was midnight on Tuesday, teeing up two days of spin and arguments over who was right and who was wrong. Theresa May and the legions of legal brains at the Home Office were wrong, we’ve just discovered. So Qatada doesn’t go afterall, because we’re not foreign and we obey laws and treaties, and he’s gonna hang around for a long time yet, and Theresa May looks even more stupid than at the beginning of the week, which is quite an achievement.
Can we get back to governing ourselves now?
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9 thoughts on “WANT TO KNOW WHAT DAY IT IS? DON’T ASK THE HOME SECRETARY

  1. Two points Pete, 1. Is there a plot at the ECHR? One does get the impression that any European Country but the UK seems to have little difficulty in getting rid of their unwanted. 2. Where a date for appeals to be submitted is given as three months why does the ECHR not give a more precise date and time? A month is a movable feast and could consist of 28 days, 29 days, 30 days and 31 days. Surely a Court such as the ECHR could be more precise as to how long 3 moths is? It can be argued, therefore, that this whole farcical situation comes about because the ECHR cannot or does not make rulings which are clearcut and because of this must carry a major proportion of blame and a responsibility for correcting matters ASAP.

  2. Meet the new Boss, exactly the same and just as hopeless as the last Boss … Jaqui Smith Clone MK II 🙁

    Where the hell do they find these people?

  3. Peter T –

    My sense of it is that a month in ECHR terms goes from date-to-date. For example, a one month deadline from the 15th of any month would run out at midnight on the 14th of the following month. But yes, simply setting a time and date would be the sensible thing to do.

    I know we all moan, but I can understand why a British minister would not order a deportation where a French or Italian minister would. In those countries the idea that government is subservient to the law is rather novel. They also happen to be astonishingly corrupt politically. A minister can, and they do, get away with it.

    But can you imagine Theresa May saying “We ignored the ECHR and Qatada is on his way now to Jordan”? An army of lawyers would line up to sue her on behalf of a client now in Amman, and there’s no way she’d be protected by the courts.

  4. Pete,

    Theresa May will have had the best legal advise with regard to whether the deadline was missed or not. I very much doubt that it was a position that she came to herself alone. Attacking her personally for this is unfair. Let’s leave that to Yvette Balls!

    Peter T – agreed on both postings.

    Harri – silly uninformed comment.

  5. I know we all moan, but I can understand why a British minister would not order a deportation where a French or Italian minister would. In those countries the idea that government is subservient to the law is rather novel. They also happen to be astonishingly corrupt politically. A minister can, and they do, get away with it.

    Exactly right Pete. Let’s stick to the rule of law, even when it’s inconvenient.

  6. Firstly why on earth didn’t the Home Secretay wait until at least a few days after what she thought was the deadline to make absolutely sure there was no confusion. What difference would a few days have made after 10 years of trying to deport him.

    Secondly, after 10 years of endless and numerous court cases and appeals at what point does the appeal process stop. Isn’t the Judiciary, both domestic and European simply creating a never ending feather bedded nest for itself ?

    Thirdly, it is time for the government to bring in a law that makes it clear that issues of residency based on security concerns will no longer be within the remit of the Human Rights Act or oprn to judicial involvement but will be decided by a process ending with the Home Secretary’s decision being final. It is the government’s primary responsibility to maintain the safety and security of the country and they should not be contracting that out to the EC judiciary.

  7. “Isn’t the Judiciary, both domestic and European simply creating a never ending feather bedded nest for itself ?”

    Obviously! This has never been in doubt>

    “it is time for the government to bring in a law that makes it clear that issues of residency based on security concerns will no longer be within the remit of the Human Rights Act or oprn to judicial involvement but will be decided by a process ending with the Home Secretary’s decision being final.”

    Ideally, but can it? Have we given this ability to choose away?

  8. Matt

    No we haven’t. Any national government in Europe can amend the way Human Rights laws operate and still be part of the EHCR Treaty by removing certain remits from that jurisdiction. The French did it with matters relating to military personnel, and the Germans with issues relating to their de-nazification laws (free speech restrictions) . They won’t allow European Human Rights judges to rule on disputes relating to those issues. We could easily amend our obligations to ensure that residency rules relating to national security are no longer within the Human Rights legal remit, but successive UK governments never have.

  9. Can someone clear up a confusion for me. I don’t actually understand what the appeal is against. In January the Human Rights courts as I understand it ruled in Abu Qutada’s favour, that he could not be deported to Jordan. Surely the whole business of the 3 months to appeal the ruling would apply to the side which lost (the govt.) rather then the side which won. So what exactly are Abu Qutada’s laywers appealing against ?

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