David Cameron has confirmed he would be ready if a number of planned changes to Britain’s human rights laws are rejected by Strasbourg to withdraw in the European convention on human rights.
No 10 after verified that Cameron remained committed to some policy file, outlined last year by former justice secretary Chris Grayling, to pull away in the convention if parliament failed to secure the right to veto rulings from the European court of human rights.
The prime minister clarified his thinking asked him to rule out pulling away from the convention, which was drawn up by future lord chancellor David Maxwell Fyfe in the wake of the second world war to maintain human rights.
Mitchell said: “There is considerable concern on either side of the home in the proposal that Britain might withdraw in the European convention on human rights.
Cameron said he had no plans to pull away from the convention but indicated that he wanted to keep the option in reserve if his proposals for change were rejected by the European court of human rights, which carries on the custom. The prime minister told his former chief whip: “Let me be very clear about what we want, which can be British judges making decisions in British courts. And also the British parliament being liable to the British people.
“Now our strategies, set out in our manifesto, do not involve us leaving the European convention on human rights. But let us be completely clear. If we can not attain what we want – and I am quite clear about that we can not send them home because of their right and when we have got these foreign offenders perpetrating offence after offence – that needs to change. And I rule out absolutely nothing in getting that done.”
Michael Gove, the fresh justice secretary, is about to implement two key manifesto pledges: declaring the supremacy of the UK’s supreme court over Strasbourg and junking the Human Rights Act.
Senior Tories have also warned No 10 that Gove will face a crippling revolt unless he loses the “deeply offensive” menace by Grayling in his record a year ago to withdraw from the convention when the reforms are rejected by Strasbourg. No 10 confirmed that the Grayling file stayed party policy. A spokesman said: “we’ve published a policy paper on this and that makes clear our view is that we’re assured, we believe we can get a better deal within the convention but we do not rule anything out if that’s not possible.”
Falconer said: Pulling away in the convention would do incredible damage to the UK’s standing in the world plus it’s shocking that this problem should be dithered over by the government.
“David Cameron and Michael Gove have to get their act together and tell us whether or not they plan to take us out of the convention. What’s clear is that when they suggest scrapping people’s human rights protections, Labour will oppose them all the way.”
Meanwhile, the prime minister ame under pressure on his planned renegotiations of the EU membership terms of Britain when the German vice-chancellor challenged his plans. Sigmar Gabriel, the economy minister in the grand coalition government in Germany, made his remarks after talks between centre-left leaders in Paris.
Gabriel is chairman of Germany’s SPD party, which is hostile to Cameron than the centre-right CDU party led by Angela Merkel. But senior CDU figures have voiced concerns in recent days about Cameron’s plans to need a revision of the Lisbon treaty to underpin his proposed reforms.