More than six in ten Britons want Abu Qatada deported to Jordan no matter what the courts say and regardless of what happens to him when he gets there
Last Wednesday Home Secretary Theresa May said that the UK government was doing "everything it can" to deport cleric Abu Qatada to his home country of Jordan. The statement came as May announced that the UK had signed a new treaty with Jordan to assure Qatada could be deported there.
Now, new YouGov research reveals that most of the nation is behind May when it comes to Qatada: 61% of Britons, including more than half (53%) of Labour voters and almost three-quarters (74%) of Tories, support the view that Britain should "ignore the court ruling" and "deport Abu Qatada anyway, regardless of what happens to him in Jordan".
Among UKIP supporters, fully nine in ten (90%) want Britain to ignore the courts on Qatada's deportation. The other 10% of UKIP voters, and one quarter (25%) of the general population supported the view that he should be deported, but only after the courts were satisfied that the new treaty ensured evidence gained through torture would not be used to try Qatada in Jordan — the key sticking point with Qatada's case.
When asked whether, in principle, it would be acceptable for evidence obtained by torturing someone to be used against Qatada, the slimmest majority (51%) say no.
May has said the Home Office plans on taking the treaty to the Supreme Court in a direct appeal, and if the request to deport Qatada is rejected again, she has also said the government will not rule out withdrawing from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) on a "temporary" basis in order to deport him.
On this matter, May has majority support again, albeit by a narrower margin. 52% say they would support Britain temporarily leaving the human rights convention if it's necessary to deport Qatada, while three in ten (30%) say they would oppose.
There is also evidence that the wide support for May's positions on Qatada come despite her lagging personal popularity: in the same survey Britons were asked to imagine a number of politicians as Prime Minister or Chancellor; of the politicians mentioned, May received the lowest ratings in each case.