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Thursday, 23 October 2014

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Home Secretary Theresa May teased about bid to deport Abu Qatada

On a visit to Cumbria, Theresa May showed she had a sense of humour about her latest failed attempt to deport Muslim cleric Abu Qatada.

Theresa May meeting photo
Ian Powley at the meeting

The home secretary was on her second visit to the county in as many months to support Conservative candidate Richard Rhodes ahead of tomorrow’s crime commissioner elections.

At a meeting at Penrith’s George Hotel, Ian Powley from Penrith said he was concerned that punishments handed out in court did not often fit the crime.

Referring to Qatada’s release on bail on Monday, he joked: “I understand you’ve had a little local difficulty in that regard yourself.”

It coaxed a smile from Mrs May who said it was important for the judiciary to maintain its independence and added: “I admit I don’t always get the judgements I want.”

She said the government would seek leave to appeal the judgement by the UK’s Special Immigration Appeals Commission.

Mrs May spent around 40 minutes speaking to those gathered and taking questions about the importance of tomorrow’s elections and urged people to get out and vote.

“People are voting for a significant role,” she told the News & Star. The crime commissioner will set the budget for policing in Cumbria.

“The post will be the local voice for local policing.”

Four candidates are vying for the role in Cumbria – Liberal Democrat Pru Jupe, Conservative Richard Rhodes, Labour’s Patrick Leonard and Mary Robinson, Independent.

Mrs May said that policing had always been politicised but insisted that politics would not interfere with day to day operations.

“What is important about this role is that the commissioner will be elected,” she said. “This idea that policing has never had anything to do with politics, I’m perplexed by.”

Gordon Cartmell from Stainton told Mrs May he thought the election had not connected with people.

He added: “I was very concerned to realise I knew nothing about this election until the weekend. I’ve not received a polling card and am very concerned the public as a whole know nothing about it.”

Mrs May said that no one needed a polling card to vote and added that a government advertising campaign had reached an estimated 85 per cent of the population.

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