Express.co.uk has had a briefing from a senior minister which shows there is now a push in Cabinet to end the rule of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) once and for all after a series of “egregious” decisions on illegal immigrants, gipsy travellers, prisoners and other areas. The Prime Minister has been warned that the only way to stop ECHR rulings is to cut ties with it altogether.
The row has broken out after the first flight to Rwanda was grounded by an ECHR ruling where the judge did not even hear oral evidence.
The foreign court based in Strasbourg overruled Britain’s domestic courts including the Supreme Court which had dismissed attempts by leftwing activist lawyers to wreck Home Secretary Priti Patel’s new policy to end the flow of illegal migrants being brought over by human traffickers in small boats across the English Channel.
Now ministers and Tory backbenchers are telling the Prime Minister that he needs to “complete Brexit” and get Britain out of the ECHR.
One very senior minister told Express.co.uk: “The only way to extract ourselves from the jurisdiction of the Strasbourg court is withdrawal.
“Huge swathes of our lives are directed by ECHR law- and in a bad way: asylum and migration is the big one, but also gypsies/ travellers, parole board decisions and whole life sentences, NI legacy issues, military protections, protest rights, Colston statue case – they used ECHR to get off the hook. I could go on.
“It’s horrendous. It’s a political, interventionist euro-trash undemocratic institution. All the bad things about the EU plus, plus plus!”
The minister added: “Boris needs to go for it. Politics is on his side in my opinion.
“We couldn’t have hoped for a more egregious example of the court being awful. This is the best advert for withdrawal ever. Better than any argument any politician can make.”
Meanwhile, the powerful Common Sense Group of Tory MPs is pushing for an end to the ECHR jurisdiction and an overhaul of the Human Rights act.
Friends of Sir the group’s chairman Sir John Hayes have pointed out that had the Government accepted his “notwithstanding” technical amendment to the Borders Bill then the eCHR could not have ruled on the Rwanda case.
But at the time it is understood Ms Patel did not feel she could get it through Parliament because “she was fighting on too many fronts with the Lords and her own department [the Home Office].”
Meanwhile, Sir John has been vocal about Mr Johnson “seizing the moment.”
He said: “Boris needs to understand that this is Brexit 2. He has a tremendous chance to unite the Red Wall and traditional Conservatives by ending the jurisdiction of the eCHR and reforming the Human Rights Act properly.
“It will put Partygate behind him and will be a proper Conservative move which will be hugely popular and is even more important in terms of taking back control of our own laws.”
It is understood that the group hope to meet with the Prime Minister to make the case to act swiftly.
The ECHR is not part of the European and derives its authority from the European Convention of Human Rights which was originally drafted by British lawyers.
But already split in Government is emerging over what to do.
It is understood that Justice Secretary Dominic Raab, who is in charge of reforming the Human Rights Act, is looking for a lighter touch reform which would just give UK courts priority.
But Attorney General Suella Braverman and Ms Patel are understood to want a more drastic overhaul which is supported by many Tory MPs on the backbenches including withdrawing from the ECHR altogether.
One minister Guy Opperman, who currently is responsible for pensions but as a lawyer once defended former Labour education secretary Ed Balls against an ECHR case, has come out against leaving the ECHR today.
He told Times Radio: “I don’t believe it is our policy, nor would it be something I will be advocating for withdrawing from the ECHR.
“I think the situation is that, as I understand it, the UK courts have primacy on this matter, but as I understand the decision last night from the ECHR, a decision was made that not everything had been considered by the UK courts in those circumstances.”
He added: “This is not necessarily a final prevention that has taken place last night. This is a temporary delay whilst matters are considered in more detail by the UK courts.
“And I think that is the thrust of it, that the ECHR has basically said that there needs to be more time to consider the applications involved and that the UK courts should do that.