It`s all Maya: Cameron govt`s cat out of the bag?
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Last Updated: Thursday, October 06, 2011, 23:46
  
London: A cat named Maya has been caught between two heavyweight ministers in the David Cameron government as this week's Conservative party conference made more cat news than news about challenges facing Britain.

There was much cat talk and cat jokes after Home Secretary Theresa May claimed in her speech on Tuesday that an illegal immigrant had been allowed to stay under the Human Rights Act on the ground that he had a cat (named Maya), which was evidence of his having a family life in the UK.

May, who had made known her opposition to the act, said: "We all know the stories about the Human Rights Act. The violent drug dealer who cannot be sent home because his daughter for whom he pays no maintenance, lives here.

"The robber who cannot be removed because he has a girlfriend. The illegal immigrant who cannot be deported because, and I am not making this up, he had a pet cat".

This was ridiculed by Ken Clarke, Justice Secretary, who said the cat had nothing to do with the judge's decision to allow the Bolivian individual in question to stay in Britain.

He offered May a 5 pounds bet if it were proved to be true.

As May and her deputy Damian Green read out the exact words of the judge in the case to prove her point, Clarke turned the screws further by calling her examples to oppose the act "child-like and laughable".

The debate reflects the division within the Cameron government over the fate of the Human Rights Act, with many ministers opposing May's desire to scrap it on the ground that it was allegedly allowing foreign criminals to stay in the UK under the provision of 'right to family life'.

Clarke said: "It's not only the judges that all get furious when the Home Secretary makes a parody of a court judgement, our commission who are helping us form our view on this are not going to be entertained by laughable child-like examples being given".

He added: "We have a policy and in my old-fashioned way when you serve in a Government you express a collective policy of the Government, you don't go round telling everyone your personal opinion is different".

Clarke, MP from Nottingham, told a local daily: "I sat and listened to Theresa's speech and I'll have to be very polite to Theresa when I meet her, but in my opinion she should really address her researchers and advisers very severely for assuring her that a complete nonsense example in her speech was true".

Last heard, Clarke was expected to be summoned to 10 Downing Street to explain his comments against May.

PTI


First Published: Thursday, October 06, 2011, 23:46


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