By Ray Fleming

HAVING done her best to antagonize Britain's police with criticism, cuts and commissioners the Home Secretary, Theresa May, is now unwisely turning her attention to the country's judges. She believes that they are not being tough enough in ordering the deportation of foreign offenders who claim the right to serve their sentences in Britain under Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights. Mrs May may be correct in thinking that more of them should be deported but she is wrong in criticising the judges for their interpretation of the law as it stands. Lord Wolff, a former Lord Chief Justice, has called her criticism “damaging and undermining the rule of law”, adding that “It behooves ministers to be circumspect in their remarks, particularly the Home Secretary who has responsibilities for upholding the rule of law.” That can be regarded as a reprimand from a distinguished senior judge who also told the Home Secretary that if she does not like a judgement she should take it to the Court of Appeal. Her particular complaint is that judges have not listened carefully enough to opinions expressed in parliamentary debates on the subject but the judges rightly say they cannot base their decisions on what may be conflicting views of MPs. Mrs May is said to be considering new legislation in the Queen's Speech in May. That would be the correct course.