The Conservative party is prepared to withdraw from the European convention on human rights (ECHR) after the next election, the home secretary Theresa May has said, as she detailed a fresh drive to curb the appeal rights of 70,000 people who face deportation every year.
“The next Conservative manifesto will promise to scrap the Human Rights Act. It’s why Chris Grayling is leading a review of our relationship with the European court [of human rights],” she told the party’s conference. “And it’s why the Conservative position is clear – if leaving the European convention is what it takes to fix our human rights laws, that is what we should do,” she said to applause.
May was followed by the justice secretary, Chris Grayling, who set out a timetable for the development of their policy for a radical reform of human rights law. He said the Conservatives would publish a document in 2014 “setting out what we will do, when we will do it, and how we will do it”, followed by a draft bill setting out the legal detail later in the year.
May’s explicit statement followed David Cameron’s hint on Sunday that the Tories were openly considering the “nuclear option” of withdrawing from the ECHR, despite warnings from the attorney general, Dominic Grieve, and others, of the damage to Britain’s international standing.
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