Abu Qatada deportation 'took too long and cost too much', says Potters Bar's MP
PUBLISHED: 09:29 17 July 2013 | UPDATED: 09:29 17 July 2013
POTTERS Bar's MP has expressed his delight at the deportation of Islamist hate cleric Abu Qatada, but said it took "far too long".
The Hertsmere Parliamentarian also said proceedings to kick out Qatada burdened the taxpayer with too much financial cost.
Mr Clappison spoke in a Parliamentary debate on the removal, last Sunday, of the man once dubbed “Osama Bin Laden’s right hand man in Europe”, to his native Jordan to face terror charges.
His removal had been blocked by judges sitting at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), but was finally allowed thanks to a treaty with the Middle East kingdom, which guaranteed evidence gathered through torture would not be used against the rabble-rouser.
Mr Clappison said: “I am very glad that he has left, but it has taken far too long and cost the taxpayer too much money.”
In the debate the MP congratulated Home Secretary Theresa May, after the decade-long battle, which had dogged successive Governments came to an end.
He said: “I warmly welcome my right hon. friend’s statement and congratulate her and her team on their steadfastness.”
He added: “Does she agree that, in the field of human rights, now is the time for a re-examination of the balance between microscopic and extended examination of an individual’s human rights, and the safety and security of the constituents who send us to this place?”
Mrs May replied: “In all these cases we are asked to look forensically at the human rights of an individual, but there is no opportunity to balance that with the danger that an individual poses to others in society.
“There is no opportunity to take into account that balance of the human rights arguments.
“It is exactly that sort of issue that we need to address.”
Fellow Tory MP Charles Walker, whose Broxbourne constituency includes Cuffley, Northaw and Goffs Oak went further.
Mr Walker called for the UK to leave the ECHR and said Qatada should have been thrown out regardless of a treaty with Jordan.
But that view was criticised by Lib Dem county councillor Paul Zukowskyj, who said: “Shame that this MP doesn’t even appear to know the title of the agreement, hard fought for and won by British lawyers after the Second World War and designed to ensure the appalling treatment meted out to people was made criminal, that he so easily demands we withdraw from.”