The official Brexit campaign has been accused of “distorting” the facts after complaining that EU regulations have prevented the UK from deporting dozens of foreign criminals, including killers and sex offenders.
The dossier of 50 criminals, published by Vote Leave on Tuesday includes Learco Chindamo, who was convicted of the 1995 murder of headmaster Philip Lawrence. The UK has been unable to deport him, according to the Brexit campaign.
Dominc Raab, the justice minister who disclosed the details, said British families were being put at risk as a consequence of EU membership.
The dossier also highlights the case of a Lithuanian rapist identified in court papers as MS, who the upper immigration tribunal ruled could not be deported “simply on the basis of his previous criminal conviction even of such a serious nature”.
It includes six offenders convicted of homicides including murder, manslaughter and death by dangerous driving. It includes the case of Chindamo, who was 15 when he murdered Mr Lawrence outside the head teacher's school in Maida Vale, north-west London, in 1995. He came to the UK aged six from his native Italy and won a battle against being sent back to the EU state.
Remain campaigner Lord Mandleson, however, speaking on Sky News accused Vote Leave of “distorting” the facts and said that while it was right to raise the 50 criminals, they must also take into account the 6,500 criminals deported from the UK since 2010 because of the European Arrest Warrant
He said: "They take a germ of truth, they then generalise from it and in the process they distort the real picture.
Vote Leave warned that EU free movement rules prioritise the rights of criminals over public safety by preventing deportation. The group claimed the problem would get worse as the European Court of Justice uses the Charter of Fundamental Rights to entrench the right of offenders to stay in the UK.
“This is yet more evidence of how EU membership makes us less safe,” Mr Raab added.
“Free movement of people allows unelected judges in the rogue European Court to decide who we can and can't deport. This puts British families at risk. It squanders UK taxpayers' money on keeping them in prison - and that's on top of the £50 million we send to the EU every day.
“Outside the EU, we can take back control of our borders, deport more dangerous criminals, and strengthen public protection. That's why the safer choice is to vote Leave on 23 June.”
But James Brokenshire, the immigration minister, dismissed the complaints and also highlighted the 6,500 European criminals deported because of the arrest warrant.
What has the EU ever done for us?
What has the EU ever done for us?
1/7 1. It gives you freedom to live, work and retire anywhere in Europe
As a member of the EU, UK citizens benefit from freedom of movement across the continent. Considered one of the so-called four pillars of the European Union, this freedom allows all EU citizens to live, work and travel in other member states.
2/7 2. It sustains millions of jobs
A report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research, released in October 2015, suggested 3.1 million British jobs were linked to the UK’s exports to the EU.
3/7 3. Your holiday is much easier - and safer
Freedom to travel is one of the most exercised benefits of EU membership, with Britons having made 31 million visits to the EU in 2014 alone. But a lot of the benefits of being an EU citizen are either taken for granted or go unnoticed.
4/7 4. It means you're less likely to get ripped off
Consumer protection is a key benefit of the EU’s single market, and ensures members of the British public receive equal consumer rights when shopping anywhere in Europe.
5/7 5. It offers greater protection from terrorists, paedophiles, people traffickers and cyber-crime
Another example of a lesser-known advantage of EU membership is the benefit of cross-country coordination and cooperation in the fight against crime.
6/7 6. Our businesses depend on it
According to 71% of all members of the Confederation of British Influence (CBI), and 67 per cent of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the EU has had an overall positive impact on their business.
7/7 7. We have greater influence
Robin Niblett, Director of think-tank Chatham House, stated in a report published last year: “For a mid-sized country like the UK, which will never again be economically dominant either globally or regionally, and whose diplomatic and military resources are declining in relative terms, being a major player in a strong regional institution can offer a critical lever for international influence.
He added: “The UK sought greater control over the deportation of foreign criminals in its EU renegotiation - and that's precisely what the Prime Minister's deal delivered.
“The International Law Decision we secured means our ability to deport foreign criminals is strengthened, and it is now clear that the UK can take into account the full background of a criminal in a decision over whether to deport.
“The bigger picture is that our access to the European Arrest Warrant has allowed us to deport 6,500 European criminals since 2010. That's 130 times the number of criminals Vote Leave have identified.
“If we left the EU, we could no longer use the European Arrest Warrant. That's just one of the reasons we are safer inside the EU, where we can co-operate to deal far more effectively with crime and security.”
On Monday Vote Leave were accussed of “fanning the flames of division” after publishing a map highlighting how the EU will a share a border with Syria if Turkey gains membership. In their referendum campaign material, set to be sent to millions of people across the UK , Vote Leave claimed that five countries – Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey – are "set to join the EU”. Only three territories are actually named on the map: the UK, Syria and Iraq.Reuse content