Brexit campaigners have complained that EU rules have stopped the UK from deporting 50 foreign criminals, including the Italian murderer of headteacher Philip Lawrence.
Vote Leave published a dossier on Tuesday listing the cases, saying it was evidence of Britain being safer outside Europe.
Vote Leave’s list named one of the people the UK was prevented from deporting as Learco Chindamo, an Italian national who murdered Lawrence in 1995. Attempts to deport him failed because he had been in the UK since he was six years old and for more than a decade before he committed the crime.
Another on the list was Mircea Gheorghiu, who served a jail sentence for rape in Romania before moving to the UK, where he was convicted of drink-driving. He was deported but a tribunal ordered his return on the grounds he did not pose a serious enough threat to society to restrict his freedom of movement.
In the case of a second rapist, known as MS, from Lithuania, a tribunal said his deportation could not be justified “on the basis of his previous criminal conviction even of such a serious nature as rape and attempted rape”.
Many of the others on the list include people convicted of assault, fraud and drugs offences.
Dominic Raab, a justice minister, said: “This is yet more evidence of how EU membership makes us less safe. Free movement of people allows unelected judges in the rogue European court to decide who we can and can’t deport. This puts British families at risk. It squanders UK taxpayers’ money on keeping them in prison – and that’s on top of the £50m we send to the EU every day.
“Outside the EU, we can take back control of our borders, deport more dangerous criminals, and strengthen public protection. That’s why the safer choice is to vote leave on 23 June.”
However, the remain campaign rejected this argument, highlighting the 6,500 European criminals who had been deported since 2010 because of the European arrest warrant system that comes from being in the EU.
“That’s 130 times the number of criminals Vote Leave have identified,” said James Brokenshire, an immigration minister.
The in campaign has put security at the heart of its arguments, saying it was crucial to share intelligence with other partners and make use of the European arrest warrant.
Brokenshire said: “The UK sought greater control over the deportation of foreign criminals in its EU renegotiation – and that’s precisely what the prime minister’s deal delivered.
“The international law decision we secured means our ability to deport foreign criminals is strengthened, and it is now clear that the UK can take into account the full background of a criminal in a decision over whether to deport.”
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