Widdecombe says 'We cannot have interference' from ECHR
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Nigel Farage’s demand to leave the ECHR comes following a last-minute ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) to halt the departure of the first flight carrying asylum seekers to Rwanda. Mr Farage tweeted on Wednesday, June 15: “Left-wing lawyers now dictate our immigration policy. Time to leave the ECHR and finally complete Brexit.”
The GB News presenter and former MEP’s call comes as Downing Street said it was not ruling out exiting the ECHR.
Asked if the Government could withdraw from the convention, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We are keeping all options on the table including any further legal reforms that may be necessary.
“We will look at all of the legislation and processes in this round.”
Richard Tice, Reform UK leader, supported Mr Farage’s view and said: “Rwanda deportation blocked by European Court of Human Rights – helpful as proves we must withdraw from ECHR, replace with domestic equivalent.
“As a sovereign nation, with a proud human rights record, don’t need foreign political court telling us what to do.”
Attorney General Suella Braverman said that many would be frustrated by the role played by a “foreign court”.
She told the BBC’s World At One programme “we’re not ruling anything in and we’re not ruling anything out” with regards to withdrawing from the ECHR.
She added: “We are definitely open to assessing all options available as to what our relationship should be going forward with the ECtHR.”
The ECtHR rules on issues relating to the ECHR and is not an EU institution so has not been affected by Brexit.
However, withdrawing from the convention risks damaging the UK’s reputation.
Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab said that the UK has no plans to leave the ECHR but would like the Strasbourg-based court to take a more limited view of its powers.
Mr Raab told the BBC on Thursday, June 16: “Our plans involve staying within the Convention, the European Convention.
“It is also important the Strasbourg court reflects and stays faithful to its mandate as part of the convention.”
Mr Raab added that he did not believe the ECtHR had the power to issue injunctions to block Government action under the ECHR as it had done.
Three asylum seekers who were bound for Rwanda on Tuesday night were backed by the ECtHR and another three were granted injunctions by the Supreme Court preventing their immediate removal.
Home Secretary Priti Patel confirmed that the Government will continue with its plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda but admitted she was surprised by the Strasbourg court’s intervention.
Ms Patel told MPs it was “inevitable” that there would be legal challenges to the policy.
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