Theresa May needs to take urgent action to get this deportation back on track - Cooper12 November 2012
Yvette Cooper MP, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, responding to today's ruling on Abu Qatada, said:
“This is an extremely serious and worrying judgement which completely contradicts Theresa May’s repeated assurances that she had the right legal strategy to get Abu Qatada deported to Jordan.
“According to security experts, the Home Secretary and the courts this is an extremely dangerous man, and we all want him to be deported to stand fair trial abroad as soon as possible and to be held in custody in the meantime.
“Yet it now appears we face the prospect of Abu Qatada walking the streets of London and remaining at liberty in this country instead.
“The Home Secretary is right to appeal against this worrying judgement as every avenue to secure his deportation must be pursued.
“But the Home Secretary told us in April that the best way to deport Abu Qatada was not to appeal against the European Court judgment but to rely on evidence from Jordan in the British immigration courts instead. She gave very strong assurances to Parliament and the public that this would mean Abu Qatada would be quickly removed from this country and placed swiftly on a plane. But now all that has collapsed as a result of this court decision.
“The Home Secretary needs to explain urgently why she refused to appeal the European Court Judgement that has now led to today’s decision. And she needs to explain what assurances she did get from Jordan and why they have failed.
“Theresa May needs to take urgent action to get this deportation urgently back on track. We need to know what further work she will be doing in the courts and with the Jordanian government to get this sorted out now.
“And she needs to tell us what will happen if Abu Qatada is released in the meantime. We remain deeply worried that she has watered down the counter terror powers and abolished control orders that could have been used to keep the public safe in the meantime while other action is taken. Instead under her system he will be able to meet his contacts in London, use his mobile phone and have access to the internet despite being deemed a national security threat.
“There has been a catalogue of confusion and mistakes over Abu Qatada from this Home Secretary, including getting basic dates wrong earlier this year. The Home Secretary needs to say urgently what she is now doing to get Abu Qatada's deportation back on track and to keep the public safe in the meantime. We cannot have any more mistakes that simply leave the public at risk.”