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The government was defiant today after it emerged former boxing champion Mike Tyson was banned from entering the UK under new immigration rules.
Immigration Minister Mark Harper said the fact that the former heavyweight champion had been refused entry was "welcome" and proof that the Home Office was getting to grips with immigration. He said:
"The rules don't change just because the offender is famous.
"People have to obey the law, this Government makes no apology for toughening up the rules in 2012, and they will apply to people evenly, whether they are famous or not."
Mike Tyson has said changes to UK immigration law banning him from entering the country are "disheartening".
The former boxer is barred from the UK due to a six-year sentence for rape that he received in 1992.
Former heavyweight champion boxer Mike Tyson has said he was "greatly disappointed" when he learned he could not enter the UK and would "continue taking the proper steps for re-entry".
The ban on former boxer Mike Tyson from entering the UK is "mandatory" because of the length of his jail sentence for rape.
Under tougher immigration rules introduced in December 2012, there is "a mandatory refusal where a person has been convicted of an offence and sentenced to at least four years' imprisonment, at any point in the past."
Although Tyson only served three years in prison for the crime, he was sentenced to six years.
A campaign group that tackles disbelief around domestic and sexual violence has praised laws barring former boxer Mike Tyson from visiting the UK.
Ending Victimisation and Blame said the ban "sends a message" about the consequences of criminal actions.
Former world heavyweight boxing champion and convicted rapist Mike Tyson has discovered he is banned from entering the UK.
The 47-year-old has cancelled a string of appearances in London as part of a promotional tour for his new book after finding out he was banned from Britain.
His publishers said recent changes to UK immigration rules, including any person sentenced to more than four years in prison being banned from Britain, meant he was unable to travel.
Tweets posted on Tyson's official Twitter account as recently as Friday suggest the boxer was unaware he would be hit by the changes. He wrote: "So, UK fans, who is brave enough to get in the ring and ask me a question?"
Tyson will now promote his autobiography Undisputed Truth in Paris.