Leaving European Court of Human Rights would be a disaster, says former minister

Former attorney general, Dominic Grieves, has said that the UK pulling out of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) would be a disaster.

Mr Grieves spoke about Britain’s relationship with the court in Strasbourg during an interview on the BBC’s Today Programme following the ECHR’s decision not to award compensation to ten British prisoners denied the right to vote.

During the interview he said that Great Britain had an international legal obligation to remain part of the ECHR and added that the current conflict in Northern Iraq demonstrated just how important human rights were to British society.

It comes after reports that the Home Secretary, Theresa May, may have been advising the Prime Minister, David Cameron, that Britain must withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights.

Senior members of the Conservative Party have also indicated that the Party is preparing to repeal the Human Rights Act and produce a British Bill of Rights in place of it, which would place a strain on the UK’s relationship with the court in Strasbourg.

“There are suggestions that my own party wants in some way to enact legislation if we get into government to prevent the court’s judgments being implemented unless the Parliament approves it,” said Mr Grieves. “That would be, in my view, a disaster.”

He added: “It would put us in breach of our international legal obligations, would place us in great difficulty in terms of our international standing on human rights.”

Mr Grieves left the Government during last month’s cabinet reshuffle, amidst claims of a clearing out of europhiles by PM, David Cameron.

The former Attorney General added that rather than quitting the court, the UK ‘ought to be acting prudently and moderately’ to get the changes it wants.

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