ID: The exclusion of that American talk show host Michael Savage. That seemed to be to be completely and utterly preposterous. What had the guy done?
JS: I got quite a lot of challenge from the opposition, rightly, to strengthen the approach that we took to the exclusions, so we changed the presumption so that those people who had basically expressed views that were likely to promote hatred to promote inter-community violence to glorify terror images that that would be a justification for excluding some people from their country then they would have to effectively recant that in order to get that exclusion lifted. Over a period of time we took decisions on a variety of different people and we published, as we said we would to be more open, the names of 22 of them and I am glad that I had made that decision. The vast majority of it was people who were Islamist extremist who were expressing views like support the jihad or were expressing the view that suicide attacks particularly against Jewish people were legitimate. Michael Savage had numerous public statements including one in which he explicitly said and called for the killing of Muslims. Frankly, had they been transposed into the mouth of a Muslim extremist with a change of faith in there people would have been up in arms and would have been demanding that we excluded him, so I think there’s a certain amount of hypocrisy that because someone’s a white U.S shock jock that it’s alright for him to say these things.
ID: You could have picked any number of them. Why him?
JS: And I suspect there are more in the public. It wasn’t just him, there were others that weren’t Islamist that were also excluded. He chose to make a big thing of it, that’s what he does. I still don’t think it was the wrong thing to do, in fact it identified , not a completely level handed, but a consistent approach across those that needed excluding and it made the point as well that I wanted to make pretty clearly, which is that it’s a privilege to come to this country it’s possible for us to exclude people and frankly we should do if they’re not willing to live by the values that we live by.
The Mail on Sunday reports that Alan Johnson is ditching this policy, although it has to be said there is no quote from the Home Secretary confirming it. One consequence of a reversal would be that Michael Savage would win his case by default, thereby costing the taxpayer a packet.