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Nick Clegg 'Optimistc' About Deporting Abu Qatada

Thursday 25th April 2013

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has told LBC 97.3 he is now feeling 'optimistic' about the chances of deporting Abu Qatada.

Home Secretary Theresa May has struck a new deal with Jordon designed to address issues that were preventing the radical cleric from being returned to the country, where he is wanted on terror charges.

It is hoped that the new agreement wil reassure the courts that torture evidence will not be used against him.

Speaking on his weekly LBC 97.3 show Call Clegg Mr Clegg praised Theresa May for her work.

"It is so infuriating. It makes you want to pull your hair out in frustration to see this guy constantly play this along in the courts and not be deported.

"We want to see him deported, I want to see him deported. Theresa May has done actually a fantastically good job in making sure we can deport him."

However, despite reports this morning, Mr Clegg denied he has been approached about proposals for withdrawing from the ECHR in order to bypass the human rights laws that are keeping Abu Qatada here.

"I have no idea even in theory whether jumping in and out of the ECHR would make the blindest bit of difference... no one has made that case, no-one has made that proposal," he said, refusing to be drawn on the subject.

"I'm not going to be hypothetical about something which hasn't been put to me and hasn't even been demonstrated it might actually help get rid of him.

He went on to add the human rights are there to protect us all and it is in no-one's interest to "brush them aside."

However he is hopeful the new measures will render that argument unnecessary.

"I am for the first time in a long time quietly a little but more optimistic than I have been that we will eventually get rid of this guy," he said.

"It's not going to happen next Tuesday. No doubt there will be some further legal steps. But I think what Theresa May and her team has done has really, really helped increase the chance of getting him out of the country."