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Home Office acts to kick out Iceland's hate preachers

No safe haven for Norway or Liechtenstein

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Just weeks after the UK government used the 2001 Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act to seize all of the IOUs in British branches of Icelandic banks, tough-talking Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has made it clear that Britain will no longer be a safe haven for terror preachers from Iceland. Or indeed from Norway or Liechtenstein.

New rules announced today by the Home Office will make it easier to exclude "those who want to come to the UK to stir up religious or racial hatred", and for the first time "we will name and shame preachers of hate", it says here.

Where indeed it also says that the Home Office will "introduce changes that will allow us to exclude from the UK nationals of the European Economic Area, and their families, before they travel to this country where they constitute a threat to public security or policy."

Do all European Economic Area (EEA) nationals and their families constitute a threat when they're in the UK? Who'd have thought? The EEA consists of all the EU member states plus Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein, and it is the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations (2006) that Smith proposes to amend in order to let her exclude/kick out terror bankers, tension-stirring tax avoiders and hate-preaching herring fishermen. At least.

In principle, given that the whole of the EU population plus some counts as EEA citizens, her statement to the House today could be interpreted as meaning she proposes to give herself powers to exclude any or all of them. But if that's what she actually meant, it would entail reversing out the 2004 EU freedom of movement directive (which the 2006 regulations implemented in the UK), and quite possibly out of the EU itself as a consequence.

We doubt that tough-talking Jacqui's that tough, so it's probably just Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein she's gunning for. This time. ®

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