Horsham MP Francis Maude: lessons from the case of Abu Qatada

Horsham MP Francis Maude
Horsham MP Francis Maude

Sunday saw the conclusion of a 12 year battle to remove Abu Qatada from the UK. In the early hours of the morning he was finally deported to his home country of Jordan to face terrorism charges.

Since 2001, the British people, Parliament and previous governments have called for his removal and finally, Theresa May’s tenacity has paid off.

We should quietly celebrate that Abu Qatada has left our shores and that we went about removing him within the law. That said, it’s a time to acknowledge lessons learned – an opportunity to look at the legal fees spent by defendants, the many layers of appeal available to foreign nationals subject to deportation and the interpretation of human rights laws. There is much to be done!

Now an update on a subject I have mentioned in these pages on many an occasion – deregulation and our ‘red tape challenge’.

Last week we published a draft deregulation Bill and it forms the next step in our determination to remove unnecessary bureaucracy, bureaucracy that costs British businesses millions, slows down public services, frustrates individuals and makes our economy less competitive.

The draft Bill amends 182 different pieces of legislation and will result in savings to public bodies, business and individuals of at least £62m per year.

Measures include:

Scrapping health and safety rules for self-employed workers in low risk occupations.

Removing employment tribunal judges’ powers to issue wide recommendations to businesses brought before them.

Scrapping heavy-handed fines for people who make mistakes putting out their bins.

Deregulating the showing of ‘not-for-profit’ films in village halls, making it easier for charities to hold film nights.

Freeing schools from pointless paperwork and prescriptive central Government requirements.

Our strict ‘one-in, two-out’ rule means that nobody in Government can introduce a new regulation without identifying regulations worth double its value for removal. A total of 1,910 substantive regulations have been identified to be either scrapped or reduced – a saving of £212m per year.

Some of the most significant measures are:

The introduction of a portable Criminal Records check, which employers can view instantly online, saving the need for a new check in the majority of cases.

Increasing the qualifying period for unfair dismissal. to two years, saving business £4.7m.

Major simplification of the registration and payment system for company charges, saving businesses over £21m

I hope readers are interested in these updates.