Gary McKinnon: Theresa May admits she has not spoken to US attorney general for five days
PUBLISHED October 19, 2012
The Home Secretary also tried to play down suggestions that she had let the US Government believe that she would go ahead with the extradition.
The Daily Telegraph disclosed on Saturday that a furious Mr Holder was refusing to take Mrs May's phone calls because of the decision. Officials have described the US's relationship with Mrs May as "finished".
The row over Mr McKinnon is threatening to become the biggest cooling in trans-Atlantic relations since Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Al-Megrahi was released three years ago.
Mr McKinnon had faced 60 years in prison if he had been found guilty in a US court of hacking into military computers from his north London home over 10 years ago.
But he won his battle against extradition after Mrs May told MPs on Tuesday there was a risk Mr McKinnon could kill himself if he was sent to face trial in America.
Mr Holder is said personally to feel completely screwed" by Mrs May's decision not to extradite Mr McKinnon because of doctors' fears that he might kill himself.
Pressed over the row by BBC presenter Andrew Neil on the BBC's Sunday Politics, Mrs May admitted she had not spoken with Mr Holder since Tuesday - but she denied he had been refusing to take her calls.
She said: "No, we've been arranging to set up a call, we haven't yet spoken. I expect that we will be speaking about this issue, I spoke to the US ambassador here in the United Kingdom on the day the decision was made."
"I've not had a conversation with the US Attorney General yet. I took my decision on the basis of the material that was available to me, as was open for me to do."
Mrs May also denied that she had received a written complaint from Mr Holder. The Daily Telegraph understands Mr Holder was preparing to write to Mrs May last week. By yesterday any letter had not yet delivered.
There are real fears that the depth of ill-feeling could jeopardise co-operation with the US over security because Mrs May leads for the UK in talks with Washington.
Mrs May denied claims that she had told Mr Holder in a letter on July 12 there were no legal or medical grounds to block McKinnon's extradition.
Former Labour home secretary Alan Johnson, who wanted to extradite Mr McKinnon, has said Mrs May also admitted there were also "ramifications for national security" if the extradition was blocked.
But Mrs May said: "There were no categorical statements made of that sort, the decision was open to me to take up until the point at which the court required me to take that decision, which was October 16.
"I took the decision on the material that was available to me and remember there was evidence coming in through until relatively soon before I actually took that decision.
"It has always been understood that the decision was mine to take finally on all the material available up to the point at which I took that decision and that was the basis on which I took the decision."
Mrs May insisted the UK-US relationship remained close, adding: "We have a strong and secure relationship with the United States administration across a whole range of issues, on national security matters, on extradition, the special relationship generally."
Mrs May also indicated that the Government would be working with other EU nations to clamp down on abuse of freedom of movement of workers within the union.
She was particularly concerned to stop people from outside the European Union using "sham marriages… to gain access through to a country like the United Kingdom". She said: "It is a growing concern among other member states as well.