So we have seen the review into the Karel Sroubek case and there’s really only one thing to take away from this.
Iain Lees Galloway stuffed up badly.
He stuffed up so badly that this review is now recommending that future decisions like this shouldn’t go to the Immigration Minister.
This report confirms what we already know, that Karel Sroubek should have been left to be deported, that there was enough in that file to deport him.
In fact, the grounds were so “sufficiently powerful” that the “decision of the Minister was unexpected”
Read into that, Lees-Galloway’s decision surprised officials.
Yes, they didn’t tell Lees-Galloway that Karel Sroubek had been back to the Czech Republic.
But again, that didn’t matter officials had given enough information to warrant deportation.
Which as I said, means Lees-Galloway when he intervened and stopped the deportation, got it badly wrong
So, now on account of one incompetent minister things apparently need to change.
And decisions like these should be left to officials, not ministers in the future.
Because apparently the minister needs to remain ‘above the fray’ and not put in such a situation of risk.
Doesn’t that just sound like ministers need to be saved from their own incompetence, because presumably the risk is that they get the call wrong?
That is a knee-jerk reaction based on the fact that this guy did his job badly.
The system works.
Other ministers have had very similar circumstances.
I point you to the case of Danny Butler in the 90s. His argument was that if he was sent back to Northern Ireland he’d be killed. Immigration officials presented the case to then Immigration Minister Max Bradford.
He made his own inquiries. He made his own call and sent the guy back.
Danny Butler is still alive and according to Max Bradford, "Making life very difficult"
So it works. When the minister knows what he’s doing, asks a few questions and takes a bit of time.
Keeping immigration ministers out of these decisions is not the solution.
That is the point of being the minister, that the buck stops with them. They are they elected politician who represents us, the citizens of this country.
Not the bureaucrats with their rules and technicalities but us with our values and our empathy and our expectations.
Decisions like this should be made by ministers who represent us and who we can appeal to for compassion, or for a stronger line if that’s what we want.
The problem here isn’t who was making the decision, the problem was the competency of the person making this decision
And as a thought, it was wanting.