If a foreign criminal commits a crime in this country, it is surely self-evident that Britain should be able to deport the offender. And yet this simple thing has proved oddly difficult to accomplish. Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, enshrined into UK law by the Human Rights Act, permits a "right to family life" to be used as a barrier against deportation - and it has been exploited by bad people in order to remain in the country. Classic examples include the Bolivian man who said that he and his boyfriend owned a cat, and that this helped show their family life together; or the cocaine pusher who was in a 10-year relationship and intended to marry, yet who this newspaper revealed to be a bigamist who had already gone through a marriage ceremony with another woman, and had not divorced.

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