In a shocking revelation at yesterday’s Conservative Party Conference the Home office Secretary, Amber Rudd, declared she will not hesitate to deport EU nationals that commit repeat minor crimes, threatening to impose a  5-10 year ban from the UK for such individuals. The question now remains … what constitutes a minor crime?

 

As we continued our reporting of the Conservative Party Conference we naturally attended the Home Office secretary’s speech. The Home Secretary, Amber Rudd began by openly stating that she had campaigned for a Remain win. This did not go down well with the audience, with some even booing. However, she regained the crowed with a series of interesting and somewhat controversial pledges.

She began with a pledge to give £18 million to support women in rape and domestic violence cases — a welcome one indeed considering the rise in both, possibly because more victims have started to speak out so the pledged support comes just in time. Rudd also touched on child sexual abuse, an issue that has affected our society and the Government when considering the likes of Rotherham and Jimmy Savile. She reassured people at the conference that the independent enquiry into this will continue and expand.

Rudd also pledged to combat illegal migrants, tackling their ability to find homes and raise money. Her first target were landlords, saying it will now be a criminal offence for them to give properties to an illegal migrant. Rudd also wants to ensure that taxi jobs and bank activities receive more stringent checks concerning individuals’ legal status to remain in Britain.

Rudd was insistent that this is not an attack on migrants or migration, but a means of ensuring that the people who come to this country ‘bring a positive contribution’ — an argument many will not disagree with. To do this, she has pledged £140 million to a ‘Control Migration Fund’ which will allow and assist local communities as well as prevent people from coming to this country who are a security threat. It is unclear though what this money will actually be used for. To teach migrants English? Or to inject funds into the Border Force? It will be interesting to also see where this money will come from.

Then she dropped a bombshell … to a cheering crowd. Rudd announced that she ‘will deport EU nationals that repeat minor crimes with bans of up to 5-10 years from coming back into the UK’.  Apart from this being incredibly anti-European, what constitutes a minor crime?

A minor crime can be anything from parking on a yellow line to pickpocketing. It was yet another catch-all pledge that gives a morally strapped government a legitimate reason to begin deporting EU nationals in the future, if it so wished. When I heard it, I remembered the Snoopers’ Charter which was fought against by all sane corners of politics. Similarly to the Snoopers’ Charter, this pledge would give the Government too much leeway to do as it wishes given its vague meaning.

What was more worrying though were the cheers of joy from the crowd, some of whom I am sure are European. I do not disagree that some form of immigration control is required, nor do I disagree with a debate on this issue, but a blanket power that is as vague as what Rudd is suggesting is incredibly dangerous. It gives the Government the power to deport anyone of European nationality at any given time for any ill-defined ‘minor crimes’. It’s the same as the Snoopers’ Charter, which by the way is back under Rudd, allowing for indiscriminate snooping of anyone’s emails and texts on the grounds of possible terrorist activity. Again, a very vague and broad term.

This growing trend of tightening control by the incumbent Government is a very worrying issue indeed. More so perhaps, given that these people will be in charge of rewriting our Human Rights Act, entitled the Bill of Rights. Since the Government will be dismantling the Human Rights Act, they are quite free to dictate a new definition of ‘minor crime’ — a definition that can be as broad or narrow as seems necessary.