Theresa May will today tell EU officials that she will deport thousands of “serious and persistent” foreign criminals after Brexit, according to reports.
The prime minister is set to present plans to grant three million EU citizens living in the UK “settled status”, as long as British ex-pats are given the same deal, as Brexit negotiations continue.
On an appearance on the Andrew Marr Show on BBC One, David Davis, the Brexit secretary, hinted at the policy, stating that only those who had “committed a crime or [present] some sort of security problem” would be deported.
A report in The Times states that “Britain’s inability to expel convicted criminals from EU countries has long enraged ministers.”
However, barrister Jolyon Maugham who practises at Devereux Chambers told Yahoo! News that deportation is already possible under current EU law.
“There’s no need to wait for Brexit to deport EU criminals,” he said. “Clear powers to deport exist already – and have done for many years. The real question for The Times is why the Government has failed to exercise them.”
In fact, Mrs May herself referred to this fact, prior to the last year’s referendum when she was campaigning to Remain in the EU.
“Being in the EU gives us access to criminal records sharing and prisoner transfer agreements which help us better identify people with criminal records and, allow us to send foreign criminals back to their home countries to serve their sentences.”
According to the Home Office, in 2015-16, 5,692 foreign criminals were removed from the UK, and of these, 3,451 were from the European Economic Area.
In July 2016, a report found that the top three countries offenders came from were all within the EU.
There were a total of 983 Polish criminals; 764 were from Ireland and 635 from Romania.
A report at the time indicated there were some 13,000 foreign criminals in the UK, both in detention and in the community following release.
In October 2016, Amber Rudd said that the government would get to work on deportation before exiting the EU.
“For the first time, we will deport EU nationals that repeatedly commit so-called minor crimes in this country,” she said.
However, government sources have now said that Europeans who have committed smaller crimes will not be removed from Britain.
Mrs May’s overall proposal to has been slammed by the3million, which represents the rights of EU nationals living in the UK.
“There is something slightly pathetic about the prime minister’s proposal which makes no reference to the detailed, comprehensive offer tabled by the EU. The prime minister described her proposal as fair and serious. It’s neither fair nor serious,” said Nicolas Hatton, the founder of the group.