Tuesday, 4 October 2011

lying about the European Humans Rights Act

I wrote yesterday of Theresa May's dodgy reasoning for pulling us out of the European Human Rights Act. That reasoning was simply that politicians felt there were some problems with the way it has been applied, and the lengths people have gone to to avoid falling foul of it. Now, she has been caught in what very strongly appears to be a lie.

"We all know the stories about the Human Rights Act... about the illegal immigrant who cannot be deported because, and I am not making this up, he had a pet cat."

When someone says "I am not making this up", it is meant to imply that the person has done at least due diligence in assuring that what is being said is factually correct. Unfortunately for May, it appears that something has been made up. The case it appears she is referring to does not seem to have been decided on the basis of ownership of a cat. The Judicial Communications Office has released a statement that said:

"This was a case in which the Home Office conceded that they had mistakenly failed to apply their own policy - applying at that time to that appellant - for dealing with unmarried partners of people settled in the UK,...That was the basis for the decision to uphold the original tribunal decision - the cat had nothing to do with the decision."

Politicians lying about easily checkable facts as a means to argue citizens out of hard fought for rights? Seems like business as usual. Maybe she was referring to some other case, but she has not clarified her comments but has simply reiterated that she stands by them. The funny part of the story is that another Conservative politician, Ken Clarke, has put a small wager down that she will be unable to provide a single documented case where the ownership of a cat was the reason given for refusing deportation. She is confident that Ken Clarke will owe her a meal at the end of all this.

The BBC has kindly provided a link so that we can see the judgement that appears to be in question. The cat is mentioned, but I see nowhere where it is pivotal in the decision to not deport.

So either she was misleading us about having done due dilligence in checking her facts, or she was misleading us about the case, or both. My vote is both, and there can be no excuse for the xenophobic fear she is peddling in any rational discourse.

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