In each case, the Home Office accepted their argument that deporting them would breach their human rights rather than asking a judge to decide. The number has increased fivefold in four years, throwing into doubt the commitment of Theresa May, the Home Secretary, to deporting foreign criminals.
They were allowed to stay despite Damian Green, the immigration minister, telling the Commons last December that the Government was "doing everything in our power to increase the number and speed of removals".
The figures, disclosed to The Telegraph under the Freedom of Information Act, show that there were 56 such cases in 2008, rising to 80 in 2009, 217 in 2010 and 250 in 2011 and that:
• In 2011, at least one terrorist – and possibly up to four – was allowed to stay, as well as up to eight killers and rapists. Also among the total were 20 robbers and up to eight paedophiles, plus as many as four people convicted of firearms offences.
• In 2010, the Home Office conceded in the cases of up to four murderers and up to four people convicted of manslaughter, as well as up to four rapists, up to eight paedophiles and 43 people convicted of violent crime or robbery.