Patrick Mercer: May I draw the Prime Minister back to one of the answers he gave my right honourable friend? Last week he said quite unequivocally: “Everyone who is a foreign national who serves a prison sentence will be automatically deported.” Then a few days later the Lord Chancellor said: “Unless there are special circumstances we need to think about whether or not somebody who commits an imprisonable offence should be deported.” Can the Prime Minister tell the House just who is determining government policy?
Tony Blair: Let me explain to the honourable gentleman why the point that he is making is wrong. The fact is that the people who should be deported are foreign prisoners. In other words: one, they are foreign and two, they have been in prison. So the point my right honourable friend was making was not that it’s everyone who is convicted of an imprisonable offence, because some of those people may not go to prison, but everyone who is in prison should be deported. That's why they're called foreign prisoners.
So that'll be fewer foreign criminals getting prison sentences in the future, then.