Calls to get tough on European judges to end border crisis

Tory MP calls for new law on ECHR

Tory wrangling over Britain leaving the ECHR intensified after a senior party figure said the Government may have to take “drastic measures” to solve the migrant crisis.

At least eight Cabinet ministers, along with other senior Tories, are prepared to back quitting the international convention on human rights.

Immigration minister Robert Jenrick lit the blue touch paper after suggesting on Wednesday the Government could pull out. But other senior Tories have warned against leaving, insisting there are other ways to solve the migrant crisis.

The row comes ahead of a Supreme Court decision over whether the Rwanda policy is legal. The Court of Appeal had ruled that the flights should be blocked because of the risk that asylum seekers’ human rights would be breached.

The deportation flights have been suspended since June when a judge from the European Court of Human Rights issued an 11th-hour injunction halting the first removal of asylum seekers to the African country.

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Rishi Sunak has resisted calls to leave the ECHR. The Illegal Migration Act gives ministers powers to ignore future ECHR injunctions, known as rule 39 orders.

As new figures showed 100,000 migrants have crossed the Channel since 2018, Tory deputy chairman Lee Anderson said it was time to leave the convention.

He told GB News: “You know, we’re a team. If things don’t work, if things don’t go to plan, then we’ve got to take drastic measures, and I would fully support the Government in doing that.”

But former Brexit secretary David Davis said calls to leave the ECHR are from those who “clearly do not understand the basis of the problem”.

He said: “Sweden, for example, have no problem turning down 100% of asylum applicants from Albania. They have done this by writing their laws completely within ECHR and ECJ case law. This is not difficult.

“We have to address the difficulties there, including the backlogs and badly drafted regulations. If Sweden accepts zero Albanian applications and Britain clears 55% to stay, then where do you think the Albanian gangs will send their clients?”

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Sir John Redwood urged the recall of Parliament and action now to “disapply” rulings made by European judges.

He told Talk TV: “My advice to the Government today is don’t have this long conversation about the overall European human rights position with some kind of manifesto pledge for a year or more’s time, we have got to solve the problem now.

“And the legal fix now is to get Parliament back and put through a very short, simple piece of legislation which instructs all British courts to say it is Parliament [that] will take these necessary actions to stop the boats, notwithstanding anything that the European Court might have in mind.

“If you did that, the European court ruling on that would disapply without having to get out of the whole thing and cause all that kind of row and you’d get an instant result.”

Ministers are confident they will win the Supreme Court case but cannot appeal to the European Court if it loses because only individuals can lodge appeals.

If the Government does win the Rwanda case, it is likely lawyers representing migrants will challenge the ruling by going to Strasbourg.

The Government may tweak the Human Rights Act to give Britain a carve-out on immigration under the ECHR. The ECHR would still be applied to all other matters.

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