A record number of foreign criminals won appeals against deportation on human rights grounds last year in a major blow to the Government’s tough stance on immigration, The Telegraph can disclose.
Home Office data, disclosed for the first time, shows that 602 appeals were allowed by the immigration courts in 2012-13.
They included 324 criminals who won the right to stay in Britain under the controversial “right to private and family life” set out in Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Article 8 was the focus of a vote in the House of Commons last month that undermined the authority of David Cameron.
Dozens of Conservative backbenchers supported an amendment, tabled by Dominic Raab, to the Immigration Bill that would have stripped the judges of their discretion to allow appeals on Article 8 grounds.
The latest figures, which show the continuing and significant impact of the “family life” measures, will raise questions about ministers’ decision not to back Mr Raab’s amendment, which failed after Labour MPs were ordered to vote against it.
The 602 total was slightly higher than the 600 recorded in 2010-11, and a significant leap from the year before the Coalition came to power, when the figure stood at 507.
Critics of the Government’s record on immigration will seize on the figures as evidence that Theresa May, the Home Secretary, has failed to get tough on human rights abuses by foreign criminals.
The total included 113 offenders who were convicted of serious or violent offences, including murder, manslaughter, rape, indecent assault and child sexual abuse. In 2012-13, three foreign criminals convicted of murder or manslaughter won appeals on human rights grounds – the highest figure on record.
Last year’s figures also included 28 foreign offenders convicted of causing grievous or actual bodily harm, 30 robbers and 16 burglars.
The 113 serious or violent offenders who won appeals was a similar figure to the previous two years, but represented an increase on 2008-09 when the number stood at just 13 and the following year, when it was 82.
The overall number of appeals lodged by foreign criminals also reached a record high last year with 2,329 cases, up 36 per cent year on year.
A Home Office spokesman said: “Those who come to the UK and break our laws should be deported.”
The Telegraph last week disclosed two high-profile cases in which foreign offenders had won the right to stay in the UK. One involved Jason Efred Raje Francis, 26, who took part in the gang rape of a 14-year-old girl. Judges ruled that he cannot be deported because he has fathered two children in Britain, by different mothers.
The other case involved Earl Daren Rodney, 25, who was convicted of looting a shop during the rioting that swept British cities in August 2011.