Home Secretary May 'wants Human Rights Act scrapped'

Home Secretary Theresa May risked angering Liberal Democrat Cabinet colleagues today by throwing her weight behind calls for the Human Rights Act to be scrapped.

In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, she said she would "personally" like to see it go because of the problems it has presented the Home Office.



Her comments, on the eve of the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, will endear her to many Tories infuriated by its use by foreign criminals to avoid deportation.



But senior Lib Dems, including Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Energy Secretary Chris Huhne, have pledged that the Act will stay.



Ms May said: "I'd personally like to see the Human Rights Act go because I think we have had some problems with it."



She added: "I see it, here in the Home Office, particularly, the sort of problems we have in being unable to deport people who perhaps are terrorist suspects. Obviously we've seen it with some foreign criminals who are in the UK."



Mr Clegg promised Lib Dem delegates at his party's conference last month that the Human Rights Act, which enshrines the European Convention on Human Rights in UK law, was "here to stay".



Mr Huhne suggested the issue, if forced, could topple the coalition.



"If Conservative backbenchers persist in wanting to tear up the European Convention on Human Rights, then I can foresee a time when this party would be extremely uncomfortable in coalition," he said.



Shami Chakrabarti, director of human rights organisation Liberty, said: "Modern Conservatives should think again about human rights values that were truly Churchill's legacy.



"Only a pretty 'nasty party' would promote human rights in the Middle East whilst scrapping them at home."





Prime Minister David Cameron said he and the Home Secretary shared a concern that the Commission would work "more slowly" than the Tories wanted.



But he said action was already being taken to help end the "chilling culture" which the Act had fostered among people fearful they would fall foul of it.



Speaking on BBC1's Andrew Marr Show, Mr Cameron cited the recent example of a prison van driven nearly 100 miles to transfer a defendant the short walk to a court.



"I agree that it would be good to replace the Human Rights Act with a Bill of Rights. I think that is the right thing to do."



There was a concern however that it would "go more slowly than Theresa and I would want".







Shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan accused Mrs May of "pandering to the Tory right" and said Government policy on the Human Rights Act was "a shambles".



Mr Khan said: "Theresa May's comments show just how two-faced and weak this Government's commitment to human rights is.



"The Human Rights Act is the most significant defence for ordinary people against state power ever passed into law. Simply scrapping it is a lazy and incoherent position to hold.



"Two weeks ago the Deputy Prime Minister said of the Human Rights Act: 'It is here to stay'. Now the Home Secretary is saying his words aren't worth the paper they were written on. Government policy is a shambles.



"Someone in the Government now needs to be clear exactly what the policy is. Either the Deputy Prime Minister has been overruled, or this is another fantasy policy from Theresa May."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
Powdered colors are displayed for sale at a market ahead of the Holi festival in Bhopal, India
techHere's what you need to know about the riotous occasion
Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
News
Details of the self-cleaning coating were published last night in the journal Science
science
News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
News
Life-changing: Simone de Beauvoir in 1947, two years before she wrote 'The Second Sex', credited as the starting point of second wave feminism
peopleHer seminal feminist polemic, The Second Sex, has been published in short-form to mark International Women's Day
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Assistant / Credit Controller

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are an award-winning digit...

Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform Engineer - VMware / SAN / Tier3 DC

£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...

Recruitment Genius: Purchasing Assistant

£10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger Assistant

£17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable