Home Secretary May lays down human rights gauntlet to judges

12:19 10 June 2012

Home Secretary Theresa May on The Andrew Marr Show PIC: Jeff Overs/BBC/PA Wire

Home Secretary Theresa May on The Andrew Marr Show PIC: Jeff Overs/BBC/PA Wire

A battle between judges and the government is brewing over the rights of immigrants like London-based terror suspect Abu Qatada.

Home Secretary Theresa May said new laws could be drafted unless judges stop refusing to deport criminals or criminal suspects on human rights grounds.

May wants MPs to make clear that the public interest must come first – not automatically the right to family life of the claimnant.

Last year 185 foreign prisoners cited the right to family life in order to dodge deportation.

The move comes as the Government is preparing to impose a new “financial independence” rule intended to curb the spouses, children and other dependants of migrants coming into the country and becoming a burden of the taxpayer.

Terror suspect Qatada lives in south London and has successfully resisted attempts by the government to deport him to Jordan to face trial.

Immigration Minister Damian Green said: “We will shortly be announcing a major overhaul of the existing family migration rules, to reduce burdens on the taxpayer, promote integration and tackle abuse.

“The reforms will protect the British public from foreign criminals who try to abuse human rights laws to avoid deportation.

“We plan to make it clear when the rights of the law abiding majority will outweigh a foreign criminal’s right to family and private life.”

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