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Thursday, 18 May, 2000, 12:26 GMT 13:26 UK
Full text of Straw's decision
Home Secretary Jack Straw has decided to allow Mike Tyson to return to the UK for a fight in Glasgow next month, despite anger from politicians and pressure groups.

This is Mr Straw's statement in full.

I am fully aware of the strong opinions which have been expressed on Mr Tyson's application, especially in Scotland - as I was when this matter last came before me in January.

It is, however, my responsibility to make decisions of this kind as fairly and impartially as I can and that is what I have sought to do.

The reasons for my decisions are explained in a Parliamentary Question.

Replying to a Parliamentary Question from Clare Ward MP, Mr Straw said:

I have today informed Mr Tyson that he will be granted entry clearance for a single visit of three weeks' duration, strictly for the purpose of a boxing match in Scotland on 24 June 2000.

The decision to grant entry clearance has been taken in accordance with Rule 320(18) of the UK Immigration Rules which requires that admission will not normally be given to those with criminal convictions for relatively serious offences unless it can be justified for strong compassionate reasons, but also bearing in mind the residual discretion which I have under the Rule.

In reaching my decision, I took note of the fact that Mr Tyson has relevant convictions for the purposes of the application of this Rule.

I also noted that there are recent allegations of an assault on an employee of a nightclub in Las Vegas, but we understand this is still under investigation.

And I took into account the views expressed by the public about Mr Tyson visiting the UK.

I did not consider that there were strong compassionate reasons which would justify admission in Mr Tyson's case for the purpose of the Rule.

However, I concluded that there were other exceptional circumstances which justified his entry to the country for the purpose of participating in the boxing match.

My decision took account of the following factors:

  • that Mr Tyson's behaviour on his previous visit to the UK was satisfactory;

  • that any risk to the public which his criminal convictions and the other allegations referred to above might be relevant, would be minimised by the circumstances of his proposed visit ie. his high media profile, the presence of his trainers and other supporting entourage and the limited duration of his visit;

  • and that a refusal to permit entry would result in a loss of economic benefit to the UK, and in particular, to the areas in which engagements took place, and would not enhance the UK's standing as a venue for major sporting events.

I also took account of the fact that Rule 320(18) currently operates in an inconsistent manner in that those in the public eye whose convictions are known are more likely to be caught by its provisions.

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18 May 00 | Scotland
Tyson cleared for UK fight
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