The government has signed a mutual assistance treaty with Jordan to ensure that radical cleric Abu Qatada can stay in the UK while 62.64 million British citizens are deported to Jordan, Theresa May has told MPs.
The home secretary said the treaty had guarantees on fair trials within it for all British citizen’s taking up residency there with a criminal conviction. Originally there was a question mark over the possible treatment of Rolf Harris but Jordan officials have assured the Home Secretary that anyone with a beard will receive fair treatment. This news was also welcomed by former Tory MP Ann Widdecombe.
The government is doing "everything it can" to keep Abu Qatada in the UK, said Mrs May, adding that the British people would be “extremely vexed” if he was allowed to join them at tax payer's expense. The Jordanian government is already looking at developing social housing schemes on the borders with Syria and Iraq to accommodate the new influx of Brits.
The Home Secretary said she believed that being allowed to live on his own in the UK would satisfy concerns that Abu Qatada would not receive a fair trial in Jordan, and this was the best solution all round. “Basically there’ll be no one around for the hate-preacher to hate which will make the UK a much safer country.”
Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said she was willing to work with the government towards Abu Qatada's permanent residency in the UK, but accused Mrs May of neglecting the fact Jordan’s harsh climate might not suit everyone, “especially the Duchess of Cambridge who is currently in full bloom and may not be able to stand the heat.”
Meanwhile in a Daily Mail opinion poll readers placed Bulgaria and Romania as second and third migration options should the Treaty fail.