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Comes after Cameron indicated the Tories are ready to quit the European Court of Human RightsHome Secretary will also cut the number of grounds of appeal for migrants
Home Office officials expect the crackdown will halve the 68,000 cases lodged against the Government every yearIn shiny patent brogues May vowed to kick out illegal immigrants
Britain’s immigration system is like a ‘never-ending game of snakes and ladders’, Theresa May claimed today as she vowed to end the culture of endless appeals.
The Home Secretary used a speech at the Tory party conference to announce that foreign criminals, terrorists and illegal immigrants will be kicked out of Britain before they get the chance to claim their human rights are being breached.
She also promised to slash the number of grounds on which migrants can lodge an appeal from the current 17 to just four after the fiasco of the deportation of Abu Qatada, who finally returned home to Jordan earlier this year after a 12-year legal battle.
Home Office officials expect the crackdown to more than halve the astonishing 68,000 cases lodged against the Government every year.
‘I am clear that the law must be on the side of people who respect the law, not those who break it,’ Mrs May said.
Her move came as David Cameron gave the strongest signal yet that the Tories are ready to quit the meddling European Court of Human Rights.
The Prime Minister said he would do ‘whatever it takes’ to ensure Britain can throw out people who pose a threat to the country and have no right to be here.
The court’s interpretation of the European Convention on Human Rights, which is enshrined in British law in the Human Rights Act, has been condemned by many Conservative MPs.
Asked if the party is considering complete withdrawal, the Prime Minister said: ‘It may be that that is where we end up.’
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling told the Conservative Party conference in Manchester today that the court has become a ‘big international frustration’.
A Tory government would ‘scrap Labour’s Human Rights Act and make sure that with legal rights go legal responsibilities’.
Ministers have tried for years to take a hard line against preachers of hate, foreign criminals and illegal immigrants.
But they can drag out the appeal process for years – usually by citing the Human Rights Act and the European Convention on Human Rights.
The ECHR has been invoked by scores of people fighting deportation from Britain. They argue its provisions mean they are entitled to various rights, including the right to a family life. As soon as an appeal is lodged, deportation proceedings are halted.
In a Daily Mail interview, Mrs May said public trust was being undermined – and tens of millions of pounds squandered – by migrants and their lawyers playing the system.
In future, officials will be told to throw people out of the country as soon as their case has been decided by the Government – a system which is already in place in France. They can still appeal, but only from their homeland.
The only exception would be in cases where there is a ‘risk of serious irreversible harm’, such as torture or execution.
Migrants who claim to have a right to a ‘family life’ under article 8 of the Human Rights – the biggest frustration to the public – can still be thrown out.
Tory backbenchers will hope the tough stance, which will be unveiled in Mrs May’s speech to the conference today, will help to win back voters who have defected to Ukip.
Mrs May said: ‘The Abu Qatada case proved that we need a dramatic change in our human rights law. We’re going to cut the number of appeal rights, extend cases where we deport first and hear the appeal later, and use primary legislation to make sure judges interpret the “right to a family life” properly.’
Mrs May also wants to end the farce of migrants being able to build up ‘rights’ to stay in Britain by stringing out an appeal for as long as possible. The longer a person can remain in the UK – even if they are facing removal – the easier it is to claim they have established a ‘family life’.
A new Immigration Bill will be introduced when Parliament returns. The 17 existing rights of appeal will be cut to just four. A right of appeal will only exist where the decision is complex and fact-specific.
The Tories say it will reduce the number of appeals by nearly 60 per cent, leading to an estimated net saving of £219million over ten years.
In her speech to the Tory party conference in Manchester today, Mrs May said: ‘The Government will soon publish the Immigration Bill, which will make it easier to get rid of people with no right to be here.
‘First, we are going to cut the number of appeal rights. At the moment the system is like a never-ending game of snakes and ladders with almost 70,000 appeals heard every year.
‘The winners – foreign criminals and immigration lawyers, while the losers are the victims of these crimes and the public.
‘So we’re going to cut the number of appeal rights from 17 to four and in doing so cut the total number of appeals by more than half.
‘Last year human rights were cited in almost 10,000 immigration appeal cases so the second thing we will do is extend the number of non-suspensive appeals.
‘That means that where there is no risk of serious and irreversible harm we should deport foreign criminals first and hear their appeals later.’
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