EU laws allow foreign criminals to remain in UK, say Brexit campaigners


Dozens of foreign criminals including killers and sex offenders have been allowed to remain in the UK because of European Union laws, Brexit campaigners have claimed.

Brexit-backing justice minister Dominic Raab said British families were being put at risk as a consequence of EU membership.

Vote Leave published a dossier of 50 criminals - including Learco Chindamo, who was convicted of the 1995 murder of headmaster Philip Lawrence - that the UK has been unable to deport.

The dossier also highlighted the case of a Lithuanian rapist identified in court papers as MS, who the upper immigration tribunal ruled could not be deported "simply on the basis of his previous criminal conviction even of such a serious nature".

The hearing in January last year heard there was a low risk of reoffending and noted: "The legal regime for removing or deporting EU criminals is more restrictive than it is for other 'foreign national' criminals and the public interest required to justify deportation in EU cases is significantly narrower than in cases involving the deportation of non-EU nationals."

The dossier includes six offenders convicted of homicides including murder, manslaughter and death by dangerous driving.

It includes the case of Chindamo, who was 15 when he murdered Mr Lawrence outside the head teacher's school in Maida Vale, north-west London, in 1995. He came to the UK aged six from his native Italy and won a battle against being sent back to the EU state.

Vote Leave warned that EU free movement rules prioritise the rights of criminals over public safety by preventing deportation.

The group claimed the problem would get worse as the European Court of Justice uses the Charter of Fundamental Rights to entrench the right of offenders to stay in the UK.

Mr Raab said: "This is yet more evidence of how EU membership makes us less safe.

"Free movement of people allows unelected judges in the rogue European Court to decide who we can and can't deport. This puts British families at risk. It squanders UK taxpayers' money on keeping them in prison - and that's on top of the £50 million we send to the EU every day.

"Outside the EU, we can take back control of our borders, deport more dangerous criminals, and strengthen public protection. That's why the safer choice is to vote Leave on 23 June."

But immigration minister James Brokenshire said: "The UK sought greater control over the deportation of foreign criminals in its EU renegotiation - and that's precisely what the Prime Minister's deal delivered.

"The International Law Decision we secured means our ability to deport foreign criminals is strengthened, and it is now clear that the UK can take into account the full background of a criminal in a decision over whether to deport.

"The bigger picture is that our access to the European Arrest Warrant has allowed us to deport 6,500 European criminals since 2010. That's 130 times the number of criminals Vote Leave have identified.

"If we left the EU, we could no longer use the European Arrest Warrant. That's just one of the reasons we are safer inside the EU, where we can co-operate to deal far more effectively with crime and security."