DAVID Cameron did not have a very good day on Tuesday; his campaign to save emergency and maternity services in 29 identified hospitals started badly when some of the hospitals denied they had plans for cuts or closures. An apology from Conservative Central Office to one of the listed hospitals was withdrawn by Mr Cameron, saying it had been wrongly issued by a “junior researcher”. The Conservative leader was probably irritated that his campaign's initial impact had been blunted. That would be a charitable explanation of his decision on Tuesday evening to join the protests of the UK's tabloid press over the Learco Chindamo affair by calling for Britain to scrap the Human Rights Act. A more realistic explanation would be that fundamentally Mr Cameron is no different from his predecessors William Hague and Michael Howard when it comes to taking a populist line that might help win an impending election. Chindamo, 15 at the time, killed headmaster Philip Lawrence in 1995 and was sentenced to life imprisonment; his first application for parole comes up next year and, if it is granted, the government wants to deport him to Italy where he was born but has no family or other link. An Immigration and Asylum Tribunal has ruled that under UK and EU law Chindamo could not be deported. That judgement has little or nothing to do with the Human Rights Act and Mr Cameron must know that. Emotions are running high over the Chindamo case and politicians should not inflame them.


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