What to do about Qatada?

  • 13 November 2012
  • From the section UK Politics
  • comments

He's out...again.

Not as promised on a plane to Jordan but, this morning, in a car taking him back home here in Britain.

It wasn't meant to be like this.

Seven months ago the home secretary said: "We can soon put Qatada on a plane and get him out of our country for good."

The opposition have mocked Theresa May in public but in private they understand the problem.

After all the British government - first Labour, now the Coalition - have been fighting Abu Qatada's lawyers in the courts for 11 years at a cost, some claim, of more than a million pounds.

In theory ministers now have three options.

To charge Abu Qatada under British law - BUT so far there is simply not the evidence to do so.

To appeal against this week's ruling - they'll try but success is, as they surely know by now, far from guaranteed.

That's why the most likely option is that Jordan is lobbied to change its law again - in an effort to reassure the British courts.

The home secretary's officials are in Amman now. The King of Jordan is in London for talks next week.

Cheerleaders for human rights legislation say this proves that it can even change laws in the middle east.

Critics say that's at a high cost to people here in Britain.