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Nick Clegg: We Are Determined to Deport Abu Qatada

Thursday 28th March 2013

Nick Clegg says the Government is determined to do everything it can to remove Abu Qatada.

The Court of Appeal yesterday rejected another attempt to have the radical preacher deported to Jordan to face terrorism charges.

The former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith signed the extradition order in 2009 after a Court of Appeal ruling was thrown out by Law Lords.

Speaking during his weekly LBC 97.3 show Call Clegg the Deputy Prime Minister said they are all determined to get him out of the country.

"No one wants this guy to stay here," Nick Clegg said. "This has been going on for years and years. He should be deported. I wish we could have deported him years ago, never mind over the last few months. It's been this endless legal ping pong.

"The European Court, interestingly enough, actually found against Abu Qatada and said that his appeal against deportation was wrong but the courts both here and elsewhere have said that there is this legal issue about whether the assurances that the Jordanians have given us about how their court system works is kind of sufficiently strong.

"That's where the legal arguments have got stuck."

Qatada's legal team have long argued the cleric will be tortured, if he's sent back to Jordan to face terror charges.

But Nick Clegg explained they will continue to argue that isn't the case, and are working with the country to prove it.

"[Home Secretary] Theresa May has been out to Jordon. Shes going to work flat out to make sure that we strengthen those assurances from the Jordanians. We are absolutely determined as a Government to deport this guy."

When questioned by Nick Ferrari over what would be the consequence if we were simply to deport him anyway, Nick Clegg had this response:

"You just can't I'm afraid. The Government is not above the law, however frustrating these court proceeding are. I'm a great defender of the independence of the courts but I'm as frustrated as anybody. I think we wil get here."

Qatada is currently locked in Belmarsh Prison and the Deputy PM reiterated the Government's stance that this isn't the end of the road for the battle to get him out of the UK.

"It is important for people to remember though that the point of dispute of law is whether the assurances that the evidence that would be made available in the Jordanian Courts is up to scratch. That's where the dispute lies, we're determined to resolve this and we think we can do so."