The Daily Telegraph
Bill of Rights dropped as ministers look to bypass European court
‘We don’t want to make it worse than it is now where European judges say we can’t do things’
‘There is still an appetite to forge ahead with what the Bill was seeking to achieve around immigration’
THE British Bill of Rights was scrapped on day one of Liz Truss’s premiership after Tories who say they are prepared to quit the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) were given senior jobs.
In one of her first acts as Prime Minister, Ms Truss told the Cabinet that the Bill would be shelved as there were better ways to reform human rights laws. It had been due to return to Parliament next week.
It is understood that the Bill could be replaced with a package of legislative measures designed to prevent illegal migrants and foreign criminals using the ECHR to avoid deportation.
New laws on human rights are regarded as critical to solving the Channel migrant crisis that has seen nearly 28,000 arrivals on small boats so far this year, double the rate of 2021.
Ministers believe the deportation of Channel migrants to Rwanda to claim asylum will be a key deterrent, but it has been stalled after the European Court of Human Rights blocked the first flights pending the outcome of a challenge to the policy’s legality, which got under way this week in the High Court.
One government source said the work on the immigration elements of the new measures could be led by Suella Braverman, the Home Secretary, who, in July, said leaving the ECHR was the only solution to solving the Channel migrant crisis.
Ms Braverman is said not to be preparing to push for withdrawal from the ECHR, but one ally said she wanted a tougher approach than Dominic Raab, the author of the Bill of Rights who was sacked by Ms Truss on Monday.
“She wants to go further. In its current form, it was a product of Dominic Raab but he was much softer on this than her,” said the ally.
“What we would not want to have done is to incorporate all of the convention rights into English law and make the problem worse than it is now, where, for example, we have European judges saying we can’t do things.”
Ms Truss told Tory MPS during the leadership campaign that she was “prepared” to pull the UK out of the ECHR if reforms aimed at reducing the influence of judges in Strasbourg were not successful.
Brandon Lewis, who replaced Mr Raab as Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor, will be “reviewing the most effective means to deliver objectives through our legislative agenda”, a government source said.
He said the Government was “reviewing the most effective means to deliver objectives through our legislative agenda”. While the Bill was “unlikely to progress in its current form,” he said the “principles and objectives more generally [are] not shelved”.
Another Government source said: “There is still an appetite to forge ahead with what the Bill was seeking to achieve around immigration and deportations.
Mr Raab issued legislation to replace the Human Rights Act with a Bill of Rights last June. He said it would “reinforce freedom of speech” and “enable us to deport more foreign offenders”.
However, it was criticised by the Welsh Secretary Sir Robert Buckland, Mr Raab’s predecessor as Justice Secretary, who warned it could become a “Christmas Tree” Bill with multiple different rights attached to it.