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12:59pm UK, Sunday April 08, 2012
Home Secretary Theresa May plans to crack down on the “abuse” of human rights laws that prevent foreign criminals being thrown out of Britain.
Vowing to stop all but the most “exceptional cases” succeeding on appeal, Mrs May has said tougher immigration rules will be in place by the summer.
She has become convinced that tighter controls are needed to prevent criminals turning to Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights – “the right to a family life” – in order to remain in the country.
The plans involve directing judges rather than bringing in new legislation.
Mrs May told The Sunday Telegraph: “It’s been causing a lot of concern, not just to the Government but also to an awful lot of members of the public.
“By the summer, we will have in place new immigration rules which I believe will end that abuse.
“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.”
Theresa May plans to direct judges rather than introduce fresh legislation
The Home Secretary has faced criticism over moves to legislate for the real-time surveillance of the emails, texts, phone calls and internet use of every person in the UK.
Civil liberties groups have condemned the move as a “snoopers’ charter” – and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg pledged to curb the plans.
Mrs May said: “I would expect us to 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.”
Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said: “This won’t close the massive gap between the Government’s rhetoric and reality on immigration. Nor will it seriously tackle the Home Secretary’s growing failure to deport foreign criminals.
“Giving the courts stronger guidance on the way family should be considered in immigration cases is sensible although as the independent inspector of UK Border Agency (UKBA) has pointed out, the majority of foreign criminals not deported do not remain here because of human rights.
“The Home Secretary is still not addressing the growing failure by UKBA to deal with foreign criminals.”