Abu qatada

Britain doesn’t need hateful laws to defeat hate preachers

If the Labour party conference in Manchester felt like a funeral, the Conservatives’ gathering in Birmingham had the air of a wedding. It had jazz bands, champagne bars and a near-universal mood of celebration — which is odd, given that every opinion poll and bookmaker reckons the Tories are on course to lose power next year. Almost every speech delivered from the floor was more substantial, forceful and credible than any delivered at the Labour party conference. And one of the highlights was the tour de force delivered by Theresa May. For almost two decades the job of Home Secretary has been a political graveyard. Theresa May has made it into

The long-term political benefit for both Coalition parties of Abu Qatada’s deportation

If you had the misfortune to miss Theresa May’s statement on the deportation of Abu Qatada this afternoon, it would hardly stretch your imagination to work out how the occasion went. It involved MPs cheering May, May making it clear that the government has done very well and then pointing out (again) that she does want reform (which the Lib Dems disagree with). MPs took care to praise the Home Secretary, mindful of all the chatter about Qatada’s departure being good for her own leadership ambitions. Even if you’re not on the TM4PM bandwagon, you might as well ingratiate yourself with her in case something unexpected happens. All pretty formulaic

Finally! Abu Qatada deported – and here are the pictures to prove it

The Home Office has released pictures and video footage of Abu Qatada being escorted to an aircraft heading to Jordan where he is to stand trial. He left Belmarsh at midnight and his private jet (carrying a Jordanian welcoming party) took off (yes, they have pictures of that too) from RAF Northolt at 2.45am. He’s likely to appear in a Jordanian court today before being transferred to the high-security Muwaqqar prison. The UK and Jordan have signed a treaty which ensures torture will not be used. This agreement has facilitated his ejection, stopping him appealing to the European Court of Human Rights. His departure is a significant accomplishment for Theresa

What enemy within? Britain is not losing the battle against Jihadism.

To read Douglas Murray’s cover story from this week’s edition of the magazine (subscribe!) you might think the British government is not only losing the battle against Islamist extremism and Jihadism in this country but that it wants to lose that struggle. I think this is weak but pretty pernicious sauce. But it is the sort of thing that will appeal to some. Especially those with a mania for betrayal. Only the strong and the vigilant and the this-is-how-it-is-chum brigade are tough enough to see the pathetic and craven weaklings currently staffing the government, the legal profession and the civil service for what they really are: the next worst thing to

The View from 22 — Theresa May’s terrorist trap, Universal Credit in crisis and saving the British Museum

How will Theresa May deal with the calls to tackle Islamism in the wake of the Woolwich murder? In this week’s Spectator cover feature, Douglas Murray argues the steps the Home Secretary needs to take are ‘not hard’ but her hands are tied by the problematic mixture of European law and her colleagues. On the latest View from 22 podcast, Douglas discusses why politicians offer the same response to terrorist incidents, the need to take radical steps now and why Britain should step away from the ECHR to deal with controversial figures such as Abu Qatada and Anjem Choudary. Christian Guy of the Centre for Social Justice also joins to

Portrait of the week | 2 May 2013

Home In the run-up to local elections, Kenneth Clarke, the Minister without Portfolio, described the UK Independence Party candidates as ‘clowns’. RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire, assumed control of ten Reaper drone aircraft in use over Afghanistan. Irfan Naseer, 31, from Birmingham, the ringleader of a plot to use eight suicide bombers in attacks that could have killed thousands, was sentenced to five life sentences; of ten others charged, four men who admitted an offence of travelling overseas for terrorism training were sentenced to three years, and six men to between four and 18 years. Six men from the West Midlands pleaded guilty to planning to bomb an English Defence League rally

Nick Clegg: No one has proposed to me that the UK should leave the European Court of Human Rights

In a detailed interview on the Sunday Politics, Nick Clegg claimed that neither the Home Secretary nor Downing Street have ever proposed to him that Britain should temporarily leave the European Court of Human Rights so that it can deport Abu Qatada. Clegg was adamant that ‘no one has put a proposal to me.’ Under questioning from Andrew Neil, Clegg defended his decision to block any communications data legislation in the Queen’s Speech. He maintained that the proposals were ‘neither workable nor proportionate.’ Clegg conceded that the UKIP offer was ‘very seductive’ to voters. But he then attacked them for their flat tax proposal. Highlighting this policy is, according to

Ministers mull dramatic measures to succeed in Qatada battle

When Theresa May makes her statement on Abu Qatada to MPs today, she will be expected to give further details on plans reportedly mooted by the Prime Minister to temporarily withdraw Britain from the European Convention on Human Rights. This is a high-risk strategy for two reasons. The first is that by so clearly involving himself in the process, the Prime Minister risks being damaged by the fallout from another failed attempt to get Qatada out. The second is that a temporary withdrawal from the Convention, even to remove a hate preacher than all agree should have left this country long ago, will send Cameron’s Liberal Democrat coalition partners into

Isabel Hardman

How far will the government go to deport Abu Qatada?

This morning, after the Sun and the Mail reported that ministers might go as far as to leave the European Convention on Human Rights in order to get their way, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman refused to rule out such a move. He said: ‘The government will explore every option in seeking to deport this dangerous individual and that’s what we are going to keep doing. ‘The Prime Minister met with the Home Secretary, the Justice Secretary and the Attorney General yesterday to discuss the case. I’m not going to get into specifics as to what the Government is considering, as I say, we are going to explore every option.’

Isabel Hardman

Wisecracking May announces new treaty with Jordan for Qatada deportation

So in spite of great excitement beforehand, Theresa May didn’t confirm that the UK will seek a temporary withdrawal from the European Convention on Human Rights. Instead, she announced a new treaty – a mutual legal assistance agreement – with Jordan in order to enable Abu Qatada’s deportation. This wasn’t nearly exciting enough for Tory MPs, who started demanding that the UK ignore the Convention and jolly well put Qatada on a plane today. May decided the best way to respond to this would be to crack a joke using Mark Reckless’ surname while explaining to him why the government must abide by the laws to which it is currently

The British Prime Minister’s insignificance

Here is David Cameron’s problem in a nutshell. During his immigration speech on Monday he said: ‘Put simply when it comes to illegal migrants, we’re rolling up that red carpet and showing them the door.’ Just two days later it was once again made clear that the red carpet is firmly in place and no such door in sight. Abu Qatada came to the UK illegally on a forged passport in 1993. He is wanted in Jordan to face terrorism charges. Abu Qatada is an illegal migrant. Yet he ‘cannot’ be shown the door. The government needs to realise one thing: that as long as we remain a signatory of

Exclusive: Tory MP accuses Theresa May of ‘dereliction of duty’ over Qatada case

A Tory MP has accused the Home Secretary of a ‘dereliction of duty’ that will put the British people at risk. His criticism concerns the way in which she is handling the Abu Qatada case. Theresa May won permission this week to appeal against the Special Immigration Appeals Commission’s decision to block the deportation of Abu Qatada to Jordan. But the Home Office has confirmed in a letter to Tory MP Mark Reckless, seen by Coffee House, that it will base its strategy for the case on the judgement of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, which rejected the Islamist cleric’s appeal in May, rather than the test

Hopeless in Gaza

I have already tweeted my feeling of utter despondency at the situation in Gaza. I feel hopeless, both in the sense of having no hope and in the sense of being useless to help. Compared to the misery of what is happening on the ground my soul-searching is a mere pimple of suffering and I realise that I have no right to lose hope, when hope is what Israelis and Palestinians who want peace must cling to. But what has struck me in this conflict, more even than during Operation Cast Lead in 2008-9, is how quickly those who care to comment about such matters have retreated into pre-rehearsed positions.

Abu Qatada and the who governs Britain question

No government ever wants to look like it is in office but not in power. This is why this country’s inability to deport Abu Qatada is causing such concern in Conservative circles. David Cameron will be well aware of the symbolism of the issue. In his conference speech this year, he boasted that “For years people asked why we couldn’t get rid of those radical preachers who spout hatred about Britain while living off the taxpayer……well, Theresa May – a great Home Secretary – has done it – and she’s got Abu Hamza on that plane and out of our country to face justice.” Today, Cameron declared himself ‘completely fed

Abu Qatada walks free at our expense

Just last month I wrote about the inverted priorities of our judiciary and police who busy themselves with the arrest of individuals for things posted on social networking sites. Earlier today police bailed a 19 year old man after he was arrested for posting a video of a burning poppy on Facebook. The video was allegedly accompanied by a statement which read: ‘How about that you squadey c****.’ The sentiment is undoubtedly crass and offensive, but I suspect few would support his prosecution for offences under the Malicious Communications Act 1988. In itself this is a remarkable indication of just how inverted the police’s priorities have become. Yet, he is

Douglas Murray

Abu Qatada’s victory proves how low we have been laid

For years a collection of politicians and commentators said that the ECHR and ECtHR would have no impact on British justice. Then they said that they would have no negative impact on British justice. Then it was said that while they might have some negative impact on British justice this would be out-weighed by the good done. Now some say that though the good may be outweighed by the bad the ECHR and ECtHR are still worth something anyway. They, and we, should be plain. It no longer matters what the British government or Home Secretary wants. It no longer matters what the British courts want. It no longer matters

What can Theresa May do to deport Abu Qatada?

Theresa May gave a defiant statement to the house on the Special Immigration Appeals Committee’s (SIAC)  decision to uphold Abu Qatada’s appeal against deportation to Jordan on grounds that he would not receive a fair trial. She vowed to fight on by ‘appealing the decision’, which prompts the question: how will she do that? It’s necessary to understand what the SIAC considered (here is its judgment and here is a précis). First, it examined whether or not evidence given by Qatada’s former co-defendants in an earlier trial (from which Qatada was absent), Abu Hawsher and Al-Hamasher, is admissible in Qatada’s retrial. This question is not initially concerned with whether the

The BBC saga distracts from Abu Qatada deportation and bail decision

The decision to award George Entwistle a £1.3 million payoff appears, as my colleague Rod Liddle notes, to have misjudged the public mood (and indeed the mood of the majority of hard working and underpaid BBC staff). It is the sort of development about which the government feels it ought to comment, to provide a source of moral leadership. There is an added complication because the government must do so without infringing the BBC’s independence. There is even more danger in this case because the Chairman of the BBC has launched a very spirited assault on the corporation’s detractors in the Murdoch press and elsewhere; this is a possible culture war in the making. Naturally, the

James Forsyth

Abu Qatada evades deportation, again

On any normal day, the fact that Abu Qatada has won his appeal against deportation would be a major news story. But today it has been pushed down the running order by the slew of BBC stories. The court’s reason for granting his appeal is that Qatada, in its judgement, would not receive a fair trial in Jordan. The government, which negotiated extensively with Amman to try and satisfy the courts on this point, will appeal. I suspect that Theresa May’s statement to the Commons on the matter later this afternoon will be defiant. It does seem absurd that someone who is not a British citizen, came here illegally and

Alex Massie

Abu Qatada and the problem of freedom-stomping friends – Spectator Blogs

And so, once again, the judges are in the dock for insisting that due process be followed even when, as in the case of Abu Qatada, it is inconvenient to do so. On the face of it, the decision to thwart Qatada’s deportation to Jordan seems unreasonable. But the truth is that few of us are in any position to judge the worth of the Jordanian government’s assurances that none of the evidence used against Qatada will have been tainted by torture. It may be that, as the ECHR ruled, those assurances are credible (and if so, that’s in part thanks to the work of bodies such as the ECHR)