POLITICS
04/18/2013 08:35 am ET | Updated Apr 18, 2013

Abu Qatada: Theresa May Says Strasbourg Has 'Moved The Goalposts'

Home Secretary Theresa May has defended her failure to deport Abu Qatada under angry questioning from a Conservative MP.

Tory Mark Reckless accused her of a "craven surrender" to the European Court of Human Rights and asked why she was persisting with the same lawyers and legal strategy.

May said she was "deeply frustrated" that the hate preacher remained in the country but said it would be wrong to pledge a timetable to have him deported.

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Cleric vs Conservative: It's become personal for the Home Secretary

On Wednesday, the UK government asked permission to take its fight to remove hate preacher Abu Qatada from the UK to the highest court in the land.

It came after judges rejected the latest in a long line of attempts to deport the terror suspect to Jordan.

Speaking to the Home Affairs Select Committee on Thursday, May accused the European Court of Human Rights of "moving the goalposts" by proposing new tests that had to be satisfied before Qatada could be sent to Jordan.

The Home Secretary could not provide an estimate into the cost of the long-running saga.

She faced criticism from the MPs on the commtittee. Tory Michael Ellis said: "People are fed up with how long it's taking" and asked how the process could be speeded up.

Committee Chair Keith Vaz compared the battle to the Wimbledon final, "May versus Qatada, in the fifth set, it seems to go on for ever and ever."

May replied: "My intention is that the end of the road is when Abu Qatada is deported.

"I can't put a date on it, it would be silly for me to try to put a date on it."

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