LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) – Prime Minister David Cameron spoke of his delight on Sunday after Britain finally succeeded in deporting the radical Islamist cleric Abu Qatada to Jordan after a decade-long legal saga.
"I was absolutely delighted. This is something this government said it would get done, and we have got it done," Cameron told reporters.
"It's an issue that, like the rest of the country, has made my blood boil."
Abu Qatada, 53, was convicted in absentia in Jordan in 1999 for conspiracy to carry out terror attacks.
Britain has been repeatedly frustrated in its attempts to deport him to Jordan, with both British and European courts blocking the expulsion over fears that evidence used in a Jordanian retrial could have been obtained through torture.
The Palestinian-born preacher finally arrived in Jordan on Sunday after the two governments ratified a treaty guaranteeing that no evidence obtained by torture would be used in a retrial.
Cameron said Abu Qatada -- once dubbed Osama bin Laden's right-hand man in Europe -- had been a threat to Britain, and he expressed frustration that "it took so long and (was) so difficult to deport him".
Interior minister Theresa May said she would work to ensure that the drawn-out legal battle over the deportation, which became increasingly farcical with appeal after appeal, could not be repeated.
"We'll be looking to ensure that we don't have so many appeals processes," May told BBC television.
She warned that "nothing should be off the table" when it came to renegotiating Britain's relationship with the European Court of Human Rights, whose influence in the British legal system is loathed by many in Cameron's eurosceptic Conservative Party.
"As far as I'm concerned, nothing should be off the table in terms of looking at how we work with and how we deal with the European court," she said.