Brexit: Conservatives set to drop pledge to withdraw UK from European Court of Human Rights

Britain looks likely to stay wedded to European human rights law - a bête noire for right-wing politicians and media outlets - until 2022

Thursday 27 April 2017 13:48
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European Court of Human Rights
European Court of Human Rights

The Conservatives are expected to drop a pledge to withdraw the UK from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in their election manifesto.

Theresa May last year said she wanted to quit the ECHR but is now expected to drop the commitment to ensure it is not a distraction during Brexit negotiations.

The move will keep Britain wedded to European human rights law until 2022 – the end of the next parliament.

"We have so much on our plate that we just don't have enough time to do this. We have enough to do with Brexit, let alone the ECHR," a senior minister told the The Daily Telegraph.

Ms May’s initial plan was to enshrine the same rights in UK law, which would then prevent the Strasbourg court from having an overriding power.

Previously, as Home Secretary, Ms May had raised concerns after Strasbourg blocked the government from expelling Abu Qatada, the hate preacher.

The ECHR exists entirely separately from the European Union and therefore Brexit does not necessarily provide a mandate to pull Britain out of the convention.

The news comes as Ms May hosted a working dinner with Michel Barnier and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker at Downing Street.

She told Mr Juncker that Britain is committed "to achieving a deep and special partnership with the European Union".

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