Ken Clarke brands Cameron plan for Bill of Rights as 'xenophobic'

Kenneth Clarke has branded David Cameron's proposals for a British Bill of Rights "xenophobic" and "anti-foreigner".

In the fiercest challenge yet to the new Tory leader the former chancellor warned that Mr Cameron would "struggle" to win support from lawyers for his plan to replace the Human Rights Act.

Mr Cameron's aides immediately hit back, dismissing Mr Clarke's comments as ludicrous.

In a speech on Monday Mr Cameron said the Act was "practically an invitation for terrorists and would-be terrorists to come to Britain".

He declared: "I believe it is wrong to undermine public safety, and indeed public confidence in the concept of human rights, by allowing highly dangerous criminals and terrorists to trump the rights of the people of Britain to live in security and peace."

Mr Clarke, chairman of the Conservatives' democracy task force, told The Daily Telegraph yesterday that Mr Cameron's plan was "xenophobic and legal nonsense". He added in an interview on the the BBC's Daily Politics show "His remarks were anti-foreign. I think the convention on human rights - I haven't looked up the history - was written by a conservative lawyer after the war."

Mr Clarke said: "In these home affairs things I think occasionally it's the duty of politicians on both sides to turn round to the tabloids and right-wing newspapers and say, 'You have your facts wrong and you're whipping up facts which are inaccurate'."

The former Tory leadership contender, who was defeated by Mr Cameron in a ballot of MPs, said he had not been consulted about the proposals for a new Bill of Rights. He said: "I think he is going to have a separate task force on the Bill of Rights. He never mentioned to me he was going to make these remarks. He is going out there to try and find some lawyers who agree with him, which I think is will be a struggle myself."

Mr Clarke, one of the strongest pro-European voices in the Tory party, has clashed with Mr Cameron over his plan to pull Conservative MEPs out of the European Parliament's main centre-right group, the European People's Party.

Mr Clarke's comments came as Mr Cameron's plan to scrap the Human Rights Act provoked a strong backlash from lawyers and civil rights campaigners, who pointed to a string of people who had benefited since the legislation came into force six years ago.

Mr Cameron was heavily criticised by ministers and human rights activists, despite making it clear that he planned to keep Britain in the European Convention on Human Rights.

A spokesman for Mr Cameron said last night: "Ken is Ken. He has a very colourful way of expressing himself. We totally reject the comments he made.

"It's ludicrous to suggest that a Bill of Rights is somehow anti-foreigner or xenophobic. This issue is outside the remit of Mr Clarke's task force which is why there is no need to consult him on it."

The spokesman insisted that Mr Cameron was "relaxed" about Mr Clarke's comments.

He said: "David does not believe in making examples of people for the sake of it. He will judge him on the work that he produces."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Lewis Hamilton walks back to the pit lane with his Mercedes burning in the background
Formula 1
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con
comic-con 2014
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
News
i100
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
people
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

BI Developer - Sheffield - £35,000 ~ £40,000 DOE

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

Employment Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - Senior Employment Solici...

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Day In a Page

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride