Coffee House

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

7 December 2012

5:00 PM

7 December 2012

5:00 PM

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 confirmed by the House of Lords in Othman v SSHD 2010, when the House of Lords was at that time the highest court in the land for this country.

Reckless had asked the Home Secretary for assurance that she would plead in the appeal that it was the House of Lords test which binds the Court of Appeal and must be applied. The reply from May says:

‘As you will appreciate, our strategy in the case has been carefully considered at every stage by Government lawyers and leading counsel. A decision was taken to adopt the test laid down in January by the Strasbourg court, essentially because we considered the domestic courts were bound to follow it, and moreover if we are to win it would remove the opportunity for Qatada to re-open the case in Strasbourg.’


The letter says that if the test applied by the House of Lords was used, ‘it would be open to Qatada to go back to Strasbourg, where he would inevitably get a further rule 39 indication restraining his removal pending a further hearing, so in practice we would be no further forward’. It adds:

‘Our arguments before the Court of Appeal are that SIAC misinterpreted and misapplied the Strasbourg test in various respects. I assure you that we will pursue the appeal vigorously. At the same time we are actively pursuing with the Jordanians a range of options to deal with the concerns identified by SIAC and thus permit Qatada’s removal as soon as possible.’

Reckless is horrified that the Home Office is submitting to the Strasbourg court, saying:

‘I see no reason why the Home Secretary should handicap herself by having Strasbourg approval. I think it’s a dereliction of duty, it’s putting people on our streets in danger.’

He told Coffee House that there was ‘no reason’ not to use the House of Lords’s test in the case.

A Home Office spokesperson said:

‘We are committed to removing Abu Qatada and we believe our approach, based upon legal advice, is the most effective one. We considered that the UK courts would have been bound to follow the Strasbourg test and applying a different test would have added further delay. Our position is that the Strasbourg test was misapplied by SIAC and the Court of Appeal have given us permission to appeal on that basis.’

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Show comments
  • Klas

    I come and go from the Coffee House and having returned from a period of absence it is clear it has descended into an absurd online war between Conservative and Labour paid commenters.

    Having done this game myself in the past I am saddened at how obvious, overstated and above all self-defeating this activity has become.

    Yours bosses need to go back to the drawing board because you amateurs have screwed this pooch.

  • H. N .KHAN

    good news kick him back to jorden. no place for crimenal and terrorist here.

  • William Blakes Ghost

    What have Theresa May, The Home Office and Abu Qatada got in common?

    The country would be better off without all of them!

    Deport Qatada, Sack May, break up the dysfunctional Home Office.

  • ben corde

    No wonder Owen Paterson in todays Telegraph says ‘we want our country back’. It seems the Conservatives have a large number of dissenting rebels who are backing the wrong horse and whose views tally much closer with UKIP than with this weak, vacillating,untrustworthy, treacherous coalition, of which neither party stands a hope in hell of re-election in 2015. In my opinion they should do the right thing by their conscience and defect to a party that will defend Britain’s heritage and future not betray it. We are sick to death of the LIB/LAB/CON merry go round. Time for change. Oliver Cromwell summed it up nicely. His speech is as relevant today as it was then.
    “It is high time for me to put an end
    to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonoured by your contempt for
    all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice; ye are a factious crew,
    and enemies to all good government; ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and
    would like Esau sell your country for a
    mess of pottage…. Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there
    one vice you do not possess? Ye have no more religion than my horse; gold is
    your god; which of you have not bartered your conscience for bribes?…Ye are
    grown intolerably odious to the whole nation; ye were deputed here by the
    people to get grievances redress’d, and are yourselves gone….In the name of
    God, go!”

  • mcclane

    Malmström is younger than I am (though I might have Alzheimer’s). comes from a smaller country. Theresa May at least has electoral accountability. So why on earth is she talking to Malmström?

    • Daniel Tekel Thomas

      My thoughts exactly. Why is the Home Secretary of an independent, sovereign country with the global status of Great Britain giving this unelected bint the time of day?

  • Alexandrovich

    Caption: “When I was younger they used to be this big.”

  • swatantra

    If you’ve read Dickens then you will be aware of The Circumlocution Office. The European Court is rather like that. Or if you’ve played Snakes and Ladders then just when you think you’ve won, you land on a Snake and its back to square one.
    You can imagine the Frustration of HenryII when he cried: Who will rid me of this turbulant priest!

  • Andy

    The Home Office need to get some better lawyers. The Special Immigration Appeals Commission seem to be inventing things as they go along. I simply do not believe that they cannot find a way to return this odious man to Jordan. If necessary they should use the Prerogative.

    • telemachus

      Or call MI6

    • Austin Barry


      Surely ypu mean Polonium.

      If our security services don’t have any bottle, perhaps Mossad could be sub-contracted.

  • telemachus

    More bonkers recklessness
    Can he not see that weighing a winning strategy against his crackpot euroscepticism leaves us with unaccustomed appreciation of May

    • Rahul Kamath

      Unaccustomed is truly the right phrase here.

      • telemachus

        She has nice shoes

  • HooksLaw

    Off topic but I guess it has some real connection with the recklessness of the press and media that is of current interest – this is both shocking and sad news. And my previous disgust that the so called journalists who perpetrated the hoax has increased a thousand fold
    ‘Duchess of Cambridge hoax call nurse found dead’

    • Airey Belvoir

      Who has called them journalists? Radio lightweight chat show jockeys, surely.

  • salieri

    The points made in Theresa May’s reply are entirely sensible and fair. Regrettably. It is bewildering that they even needed to be made.

  • HooksLaw

    Absurd hyperbole to use phrases like ‘dereliction of duty’. Yet another numpty tory backbencher.
    In what danger is the country in from this well known troublemaker and agitator? Is he manufacturing bombs in his garage?

    • telemachus

      The European Court of Human Rights orininally said evidence against him was gained through torture and, if deported, he would face a “flagrant denial of justice”.
      Just why has this changed.

    • Rahul Kamath

      You talking abt Qatada or the Tory backbencher 😉

  • MirthaTidville

    I`m off to see what odds William Hills will give me on this useless shower of a government collapsing anytime soon…….They cant surely last until 2015….come on Guido find that e mail!!

    • Vulture

      The way things are going, the only seat the Tories can be sure of holding is Brighton Kemptown.

      • telemachus

        That would be good

      • Chris lancashire

        Well done Mirtha, that’s it Vulture, let’s look forward to the next Labour Government. Totally brainless.

        • MirthaTidville

          Really… think that any future Labour Government can be worse than the present shower of shite????..of course they will be awful but no worse than we have now….If you think any different you are deluded sir..

          • Chris lancashire

            Yes and no, in that order.

  • Madame Merle

    This is difficult, both Mark Reckless and Theresa May make valid points.

    Who is to say that the House of Lords will not be trumped by Strasbourg or that Mrs. May will get the desired ruling from the ECHR a second time?

    Of course, if, one day, while out walking, Qatada were to cross the road when a lorry hit an icy patch and………

    • MaxSceptic

      I don’t have an HGV licence, but if you tell me when and where, I’ll drive by in my car…. 😉