The home secretary, Theresa May, has ordered “a full investigation” after a leading Palestinian activist in Israel entered Britain despite a travel ban.
Sheikh Raed Salah, leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel, was detained at 11pm on Tuesday and taken to Paddington Green police station in west London.
May has said the UK Border Agency is taking steps to deport him. “We do not normally comment on individual cases but in this case I think it is important to do so. I can confirm he was excluded and that he managed to enter the UK. He has now been detained and the UK Border Agency is making arrangements to remove him. A full investigation is now taking place into how he was able to enter.”
Salah’s solicitor, Farooq Bajwa, said Salah had no knowledge of any ban and had made no attempt to conceal his identity when he entered Britain on Saturday. He had addressed a meeting in Leicester on Tuesday night and been due to attend a Palestine Solidarity Campaign meeting in the House of Commons on Wednesday evening attended by Labour MPs Jeremy Corbyn and Richard Burden.
It is understood that the Home Office accepts Salah was open about his identity when he arrived. The investigation is believed to be about how the exclusion order could have been made but not served on Salah before his arrival and how UKBA officials waved him through once he landed.
The decision to arrest Salah followed an appeal by the Conservative MP for Finchley and Golders Green, Mike Freer, to May in the Commons on Monday that Salah be banned from Britain because of his “history of virulent anti-semitism”.
“I have been questioning the propriety of providing a platform to a speaker who reportedly peddles the conspiracy theories of Jewish involvement in the 9/11 plots,” Freer said. “I am pleased he will not be speaking in parliament.”…