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May hits out over human rights laws

The Home Secretary has told MPs something must be done to address the "crazy interpretation of our human rights laws" to prevent a lengthy and costly deportation battle - as seen with terror suspect Abu Qatada - from happening again.

Met with a huge cheer from Tory backbenchers in the House of Commons, Theresa May was speaking a day after Qatada was finally sent back to Jordan, bringing a near-decade long fight to boot him out of the UK to a close.

Turning to lessons the Government needs to learn from the case, which has cost the taxpayer more than £1.7 million, Mrs May said: "I have made clear my view that in the end the Human Rights Act must be scrapped.

"We must also consider our relationship with the European Court very carefully, and I believe that all options - including withdrawing from the Convention altogether - should remain on the table."

Mrs May, who was greeted by cheers from the Tory benches as she arrived in the Commons, said it had taken 12 years to deport Qatada because of the "many layers of appeal", along with "real problems" with the "crazy interpretation" of human rights laws in the UK.

She said the Government had "not acted outside the law", telling MPs the hate preacher had to concede that the "game was up" and accept the inevitable.

With Prime Minister David Cameron sitting on the Government front bench to hear the statement, she said the treaty signed with Jordan could be applied to other terror suspects, adding that it was "the key that unlocked the door" to Qatada's deportation.

Mrs May said Justice Secretary Chris Grayling was reforming the legal aid system to stop terror suspects claiming huge costs, while Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith was investigating how to make it harder for the likes of Qatada to claim benefits.

She said the Immigration Bill will make it easier to deport foreign nationals.

Mrs May said: "That Bill will stop illegal immigrants accessing services to which they are not entitled, it will make it easier to remove foreign nationals, it will make it harder for them to prolong their stay with spurious appeals, and it will make clear to the courts once and for all that foreign nationals who commit serious crimes shall, other than in exceptional circumstances, be deported."


From Belfast Telegraph