Judges 'on side of foreign criminals' says Theresa May as Tories repeat threat to quit human rights convention
Home Secretary said she would end 'abuse' of article 8, which protects right to family life
Theresa May mounted a provocative attack today on some judges for being "on the side of foreign criminals" when they interpreted the European Convention on Human Rights in British courts.
Speaking at the Tory conference in Manchester, the Home Secretary reiterated that a future Conservative government would be prepared to quit the 62-year-old convention.
Ms May threatened exit from the ECHR - a move opposed by many within the party - as she set out plans to deport suspected foreign criminals before their appeals against removal are heard.
Mrs May told activists that a commitment to scrap the British Human Rights Act would be included in the next Tory manifesto, but said the party supported leaving the convention if that is what it would take to "fix our human rights laws".
She said a forthcoming Immigration Bill would make it easier to deport illegal immigrants.
The Home Secretary said it would end "abuse" of article 8 of the ECHR, which protects the right to family life.
And in an onslaught on the judiciary, she claimed judges sometimes wrongly treated it as an absolute rather than a qualified right, accusing them of "putting the law on the side of foreign criminals instead of the public".
Mrs May said: "I am sending a very clear message to those judges - Parliament wants the law on the people's side, the public wants the law on the people's side, and Conservatives in government will put the law on the people's side once and for all."
She said: "At the moment the system is like a never-ending game of snakes and ladders with almost 70,000 appeals heard every year.
"The winners - foreign criminals and immigration lawyers, while the losers are the victims of these crimes and the public," she said.
"Where there is no risk of serious and irreversible harm we should deport foreign criminals first and hear their appeals later."
Tim Hancock, the Campaigns Director at Amnesty UK, said: "The drum-beat of threats to scrap human rights protections is deeply worrying, and would seriously erode access to justice in this country."
David Cameron indicated on Sunday that Britain could withdraw from the ECHR and said he would do "whatever it takes" to ensure that Britain can throw out people who pose a threat to the country and have no right to be here.
But Attorney General Dominic Grieve warned that pulling out of the convention could cause the entire system to collapse, meaning countries with poor human rights records would be under less pressure to improve and treaties such as the Good Friday Agreement, which paved the way for peace in Northern Ireland, could be broken up.
- 1 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 3 Mystery man who gave mum heart-warming note on train 'wanted to put a smile on her face'
King Salman: Just five days in, Saudi Arabia's new king has already overseen a beheading
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Mystery man who gave mum heart-warming note on train 'wanted to put a smile on her face'
Michelle Obama highlights harsh restrictions faced by Saudi women after meeting King Salman without wearing a headscarf
Chilling drone footage captures Auschwitz ahead of 70th anniversary of liberation
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: This post arises as a result of the need to...
£120 - £150 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: I am recruiting on instruction o...
£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...
£24000 - £28000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Wim...