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THE EUROPEAN Court of Justice's ruling that member states cannot expel foreign nationals without an official hearing except in the case of emergency is "entirely reasonable" and the UK Government should support it, the Liberal Democrats say.
The ruling, handed down in Luxembourg last Thursday, followed a challenge by Irish national John Gallagher who argued against an exclusion order issued against him in 1991.
Gallagher, who had worked in the UK since 1990, had previously been sentenced to three years imprisonment in Ireland for illegal possession of two rifles.
He was expelled under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 1989 after he was suspected of being a terrorist. On his return to Dublin he appealed the order arguing that community law gave him the right to defend himself before expulsion.
He also challenged the interview procedure used to hear his appeal because the interviewer did not identify himself or explain why Gallagher was expelled.
"The Court of Justice of the European Union has required no more of Britain than that we should adhere to rules agreed by the British Government as long ago as February 1964," said Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Alex Carlile.
"The European Court decision is entirely reasonable and the British Government should support it as representing a just decision which in no way inhibits the exclusion of any terrorists."