Raab refuses to commit to remaining in human rights convention ‘forever’

Raab Refuses To Commit To Remaining In Human Rights Convention ‘Forever’
In response, Mr Raab told peers: “A fundamental principle of the ECHR and a quintessentially British right is to express yourself freely.”
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By David Hughes, PA Political Editor

The UK’s continued participation in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) will depend on the actions of Strasbourg judges, Dominic Raab suggested.

The British Justice Secretary insisted the Government’s current position was to remain within the convention, but he said he was not able to guarantee that “forever and a day”.


Home Secretary Suella Braverman has stated that her personal view is to withdraw from the convention, which has been blamed for frustrating efforts to send asylum seekers to Rwanda.

On Monday, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told MPs: “The UK is and will remain a member of the ECHR.”



But at a Lords committee on Wednesday, Deputy Prime Minister Mr Raab said that while the Government’s position was to “stay a state party” to the convention, he did not rule out a change.

“If you’re asking me whether we are committed, forever and a day, to staying in the ECHR, the answer is that’s not a commitment that we’re able to make. And that depends a little bit on the court.”

The ECHR is a Council of Europe convention and pulling out of it would put the UK at odds with the vast majority of countries in the continent.


Mr Raab said he was “frustrated” that there is “any suggestion of moral equivalence” with countries such as Russia by being in a dispute over the ECHR.

But Mr Raab told the Lords Constitution Committee: “We feel more not less committed to the Council of Europe as a result of Brexit. I think we’ve shown our European credentials in relation to Ukraine, what we do in Nato.

“It’s not a question of rejecting Europe. In fact, I actually see the Council of Europe as an opportunity, not just in terms of the court, but some of the other work they do – for example, raising fair trial standards – a good opportunity to show we can be an even stronger European neighbour.”

Domestic abuse
Home Secretary Suella Braverman. Photo: Danny Lawson/PA. 

Ms Braverman has previously stated that her personal position is “ultimately we do need to leave the European Convention on Human Rights”, even though that is not government policy.

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In response, Mr Raab told peers: “A fundamental principle of the ECHR and a quintessentially British right is to express yourself freely.”

Downing Street has insisted there are “no plans” to withdraw from the ECHR, following speculation the Prime Minister could do so if his small boats crackdown faces legal opposition.


The Government is expected to set out further plans for new laws to tackle the problem of migrants crossing the English Channel.

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