Justice ministers 'clear' UK will remain in ECHR

After home secretary Theresa May had suggested the UK should leave the European Convention on Human Rights, justice ministers are insisting there are no plans to do so.

Only a day after May said in a speech in central London that 'it isn’t the EU we should leave but the ECHR and the jurisdiction of its court', justice secretary Michael Gove and justice minister Dominic Raab were among those to support remaining a member in a debate in parliament. Raab said the government’s policy on the ECHR ‘remains clear’ and insisted there are no proposals to withdraw in the forthcoming British bill of rights. He added that: ‘We are confident that we can replace the Human Rights Act with a bill of rights and reform our relationship with the Strasbourg court, and that is precisely what we intend to deliver.’

‘May have no option but to consider withdrawal’

It was left to attorney general Jeremy Wright to answer Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael’s call for a statement from May to clarify her position, as she was absent from proceedings. According to Wright, the government still prefers to achieve reforms while remaining a member of the convention. However, he added that: ‘We have been clear that if we cannot achieve a satisfactory settlement within the ECHR, we may have no option but to consider withdrawal.’

‘Contradictory’ statements

Carmichael said the home secretary had left ‘total confusion at the heart of government policy’, with the attorney general contradicting May’s statement.

Source: Law Society Gazette

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