Britain’s Interior Minister is fighting for his political survival but he has,for the moment, the backing of the Prime Minister.
Tony Blair apparently rejected Charles Clarke’s resignation when he offered to quit after learning of a major security blunder. Clarke’s ministry has released more than 1,000 foreign criminals over the last seven years when they should have been considered for deportation.
The Shadow Interior Minister, David Davis, held nothing back in his criticism:“How many foreign convicted killers, how many foreign convicted paedophiles, how many foreign convicted rapists, how many foreign convicted drug dealers are at large today as a result of his policy failure?”
In a statement to the lower house, Clarke admitted it was deeply regrettable but that it was his responsibility to put things right rather than to resign:“It was a failure, I’ve acknowledged it was a failure and it must be got right. And as part of that – apologise says the honourable gentleman from a sedentary position – I do apologise, I have apologised, I continue to do so, it is not right that that should be the state of affairs.”
But the Interior Ministry is being accused of knowing about the problem as early as 2003 when a report warned that the immigration service was not monitoring those liable for deportation.