At 6:45am each morning, I listen to Yesterday in Parliament on BBC Radio 4. This morning there was extensive coverage of the statement by the Home Secretary, Theresa May, regarding the arrest and possible deportation of Abu Qatada.
There were soundbites from a number of MPs who were self congratulatory, taking the moral high ground, and talking about the irony of Abu Qatada taking advantage of the checks and balances within British law to prevent his deportation. These checks and balances, they said, were the very things that Abu Qatada was pledged to destroy.
Yesterday I watched four hours of live coverage from the House of Commons on the Parliament Channel, as these self same politicians debated the future of legal aid. Some of the checks and balances that have been in place for many years were systematically undone as the House of Commons voted to reverse amendments to the Bill recently agreed in the House of Lords.
It wasn’t Abu Qatada who yesterday destroyed some of the checks and balances that enabled ordinary, specifically poor, people from accessing justice.
Yesterday was a sad day for British justice as MPs voted to destroy many of the measures that have, for many years, allowed fair and equal access to the law.