Members of Rochdale child sex grooming gang facing deportation to Pakistan

Shabir Ahmed and Adil Khan, Qari Abdul Rauf and Abdul Aziz

Four members of the Rochdale child sex abuse gang are facing deportation after losing an appeal to remain in the UK.

Ringleader Shabir Ahmed and Adil Khan, Qari Abdul Rauf and Abdul Aziz were among nine gang members jailed in 2012 for grooming girls as young as 13 with drink and drugs.

They had challenged Government moves to strip them of their British citizenship.

But on Thursday, the Upper Tribunal of the Immigration and Asylum Chamber rejected their appeal.

It means the four men, all originally from Pakistan, could be removed from the UK - though the legal battle is expected to take some time.

Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk has called for the men to be deported to Pakistan "as soon as possible".

He said: "We welcome many people coming to the UK, to contribute, but if they break the law then they should lose their right to live here.

"Foreign-born criminals should not be able to hide behind human rights laws to avoid deportation."

Ahmed, who is serving a 22-year jail sentence for offences including rape, wrote a letter to the European Court Of Human Rights last year claiming his convictions were a conspiracy to "scapegoat" Muslims.

Handing down today's judgment, Mr Justice McCloskey, said the cases were "of some notoriety", and described the men's crimes as "shocking, brutal and repulsive".

He dismissed claims concerning human rights and arguments by three of the men that the Government had failed in a duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of their children.

The judge also rejected a ground of appeal that the Home Office action amounted to a "disproportionate interference" with the men's rights as EU citizens.

The latest ruling does not mean the end of the matter, as the four men can apply for permission to appeal against the tribunal's decision.

Applications can only be made on a question of law, and permission is granted in less than 10% of cases.

While Ahmed remains in custody, the other three have been released on licence.

Khan, Rauf and Aziz were convicted of conspiracy and trafficking for sexual exploitation charges.