May's deportation warning

Home Secretary Theresa May accused judges of "subverting" British democracy and making the streets of Britain more dangerous by ignoring new rules aimed at deporting more foreign criminals.

Duncan Smith supports May's attack on judges

Iain Duncan Smith
Iain Duncan Smith has backed Theresa May. Credit: BBC's Andrew Marr

Iain Duncan Smith has backed Theresa May’s attack on judges who she blames for "subverting" British democracy by ignoring new rules aimed at deporting more foreign criminals.

The Work and Pensions Secretary told The Andrew Marr Show: “The point she is making, I think, is generally supported by pretty much anyone in Parliament who has any common sense.

"Over a period of time, judges seem to have moved across to the idea that somehow this right to have a family life trumps all other rights…

“Parliament [wants to] know that if a criminal committed a crime, they [judges] should be in a much stronger position to extradite them and kick them out if they came from overseas.”

May: We need to 'balance human rights against each other'

Home Secretary Theresa May added judges who allowed prisoners to remain were also guilty of reinforcing public perceptions of human right as "legal dodges that allow criminals to escape proper punishment and to continue to prey on the public.

This is not a dispute about respect for human rights, which I certainly agree is an essential part of any decent legal system.

It is about how to balance rights against each other: in particular, the individual's right to family life, the right of the individual to be free from violent crime, and the right of society to protect itself against foreign criminals.

Mrs May insisted that she was "a great admirer of most of the judges in Britain" and accepted the need for the power of government ministers to be "reviewed and restrained" by the judiciary.

"But the law in this country is made by the elected representatives of the people in Parliament. And our democracy is subverted when judges decide to take on that role for themselves."

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May: Deportation should be the norm for foreign criminals

The Home Secretary said she was determined to bring forward a new law making it clear the deportation should be the norm in everything but "extraordinary circumstances".

It is depressing that the steps we have already taken should have been insufficient to produce that result.

The inevitable delays inherent in passing primary legislation will mean that there will be many more foreign criminals who successfully avoid deportation on the basis that they have a family here.

There will also be more victims of violent crimes committed by foreigners in this country - foreigners who should have been, and could have been, deported.

Home Secretary vows to introduce new deportation legislation

Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Theresa May warned judges that primary legislation needs to be brought in to enable the Government to deport more foreign criminals.

Unfortunately, some judges evidently do not regard a debate in Parliament on new immigration rules, followed by the unanimous adoption of those rules, as evidence that Parliament actually wants to see those new rules implemented.

One judge, she noted, had justified his decision on the basis that the new guidance had been subject only to "a weak form of Parliamentary scrutiny".

It is essential to democracy that the elected representatives of the people make the laws that govern this country - and not the judges.

Yet some judges seem to believe that they can ignore Parliament's wishes if they think that the procedures for parliamentary scrutiny have been 'weak'. That appears actually to mean that they can ignore Parliament when they think it came to the wrong conclusion.

May warns judges over deportation of foreign criminals

Home Secretary Theresa May wants to introduce primary legislation to restrict the human rights of offenders.
Home Secretary Theresa May wants to introduce primary legislation to restrict the human rights of offenders. Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Home Secretary Theresa May accused judges of "subverting" British democracy and making the streets of Britain more dangerous by ignoring new rules aimed at deporting more foreign criminals.

In a scathing attack, she vowed to introduce primary legislation to restrict the human rights of offenders after a minority of the judiciary decided to "ignore parliament's wishes".

But she warned the delay in getting that onto the statute book would inevitably mean "more victims of violent crimes committed by foreigners in this country".

MPs approved new guidance for judges in July last year making clear the right to a family life - set out in Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights - was only qualified.