Oct 4 2011
Home secretary, Theresa May, says the Human Rights Act should be abolished after it protected an illegal immigrant from deportation on the grounds that he had a pet cat.
UK GUARDIAN The judge in the case said: “The evidence concerning the joint acquisition of Maya [the cat] by the appellant and his partner reinforces my conclusion on the strength and quality of the family life that appellant and his partner enjoy.”
At the Conservative Party’s annual conference in Manchester and the Home Secretary and Minister of State at the Equalities Office, Theresa May, hasn’t wasted the chance to say something controversial and of great concern. In the BBC’s article Home Secretary Theresa May wants Human Rights Act axed, she says that she wants the existing Human Rights Act 1998 (which puts the protections in the European Convention on Human Rightsinto UK law) scrapped and replaced with a Bill of Rights. Why?
I see it, here in the Home Office, particularly, the sort of problems we have in being unable to deport people who perhaps are Muslim terrorist suspects.
Obviously we’ve seen it with some foreign criminals who are in the UK.
May told the conference she would amend immigration rules to restrict the ability of illegal immigrants and foreign criminals to resist deportation by invoking the right to a family life under the Human Rights Act. This incorporates rights enshrined in the European convention on human rights (ECHR).
The Labour-created and Tory/Lib Dem-backed Human Rights Act (HRA) is being used to let at least 350 foreigners guilty of serious criminal offences stay in Britain each year, according to UK Border Agency (UKBA) figures.
The case was one of several alleged cases the home secretary used to illustrate her claim that the Human Rights Act should go, and to justify her intention to clarify the immigration rules to ensure a right to family life is not used to block immigration deportations.
Sadiq Khan, the Muslim shadow justice secretary, said: “The energy and time this government is spending on arguments about the HRA shows how completely out of touch it is with the British people who are not interested in cat fights between ministers but how the safety of their communities will be protected after cuts in police budgets which go too far and too fast.”
May also introduced Colonel Tim Collins, the Iraq war veteran, as the first declared Conservative candidate to run as a police and crime commissioner next November. Collins set the tone for his campaign by declaring he wanted the police to be “ratcatchers and not social workers”, claiming they currently gave undue preference to political correctness and that he wanted to see ex-business and ex-military figures stand as PCC candidates, not “sunset councillors or retired policemen with axes to grind”.
But it was on immigration that May came unstuck. She repeated her pledge to reduce net migration to the “sustainable levels of tens of thousands”, then said: “We need to make sure that we’re not constrained from removing foreign nationals who, in all sanity, should have no right to be here.
“We all know the stories about the Human Rights Act. The violent drug dealer who cannot be sent home because his daughter – for whom he pays no maintenance – lives here. The robber who cannot be removed because he has a girlfriend. The illegal immigrant who cannot be deported because – and I am not making this up – he had a pet cat.”
She said she was announcing the change in the immigration rules to “ensure that the misinterpretation of article eight of the European convention on human rights, the right to family life, no longer prevents the deportation of people who shouldn’t be here.”