» Monday, May 8, 2006

Foreign Prisoners

Put that the new Home Secretary had announced today that there could be "several hundred" more serious prisoners still in Britain, and was this the reason that Charles Clarke had to go, the PMOS said that in terms of the figures, there were certain strict criteria as to what came under the "serious offenders" category. We had identified 90 of those, and the rest of the 1023 figure had now taken it up to last week to 150. Secondly, in terms of an investigation why the figures had increased, the PMOS explained it was precisely because the Home Office was interrogating the figures in a more detailed way that in the past.

Asked again if that was the reason that Mr. Clarke had to go, the PMOS replied that the Prime Minister had set out the reasons last week, which were that we had hoped that this matter could be resolved without Charles Clarke having to go, but it became clear that unfortunately, that was not going to be the case. Therefore, the Prime Minister very reluctantly took the decision to move Mr. Clarke, but he had decided that he did not want another job.

Asked why did it take almost two weeks for the list of names and who had committed serious offences to be released, the PMOS replied that because of the practice that had been going back decades, it was quite a complicated process. Therefore, to do so in a detailed way did take time.

Asked how confident the Prime Minister was that the issue could be resolved rapidly, the PMOS replied that the fact that of the original 90, most of the more serious offenders, 75 were now under control, compared to 32 last week. That gave an indication of the seriousness and the speed with which the Home Office was addressing the issue, and therefore, we needed to recognise why the process was not yet completed. The PMOS said that the fact that we could now say 75% of the 1023 could expect to be deported, and a higher percentage of the more serious offenders gave an indication of the real progress that was being made.

Briefing took place at 8:00 | Search for related news

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