PM accused of undermining devolution after reports UK Government could quit European Convention on Human Rights
A Plaid Cymru MP has accused Rishi Sunak of undermining devolution after reports the Prime Minister could take the UK out of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The Sunday Times quoted an anonymous source as saying that, should the European Court of Human Rights deem the legislation designed to stop migrants crossing the English Channel to the UK in small boats unlawful, then the Prime Minister would be “willing to reconsider whether being part of the ECHR is in the UK’s long-term interest”.
The source told the newspaper that Mr Sunak, alongside Home Secretary Suella Braverman, will be “pushing the boundaries of what is legally possible, while staying within the ECHR”, with the UK Government plan for halting the boats.
Downing Street, in a briefing on Monday, said the UK Government is “confident” proposals being drawn up will be “compliant with our international obligations”.
Plaid Cymru Westminster leader, Liz Saville Roberts MP described the threat to take the UK out of the ECHHR as being the “last desperate gasps of a dying government, drowning in their own ideological chaos and division.”
She said that while the threats could not be treated seriously, as they only revealed the “ideological chaos and division” of the Conservatives. She warned, however, that the threats revealed how “powerless” Wales is when faced with a “destructive” government in Westminster.
Ms Saville Roberts also urged the Welsh Government to accelerate plans to implement a Welsh Bill of Rights to “more directly incorporate international human rights law”, which should be done alongside the “wholesale devolution of justice”.
“These reckless threats to abolish human rights are nothing short of a blatant attack on democracy and basic human dignity. They are the last desperate gasps of a dying government, drowning in their own ideological chaos and division,” Ms Saville Roberts said:
“The Conservatives’ refusal to rule out taking the UK out of the ECHR is a direct threat to not only the rights of refugees, but also to the very foundations of the devolution settlements. It’s a clear indication of their utter disregard for the well-being of the people of Wales, as well as for the foundational principles of justice.
“These are not credible threats – but their mere existence reveals how powerless we are in Wales faced with a destructive government in Westminster. The supremacy of the UK Parliament over the Senedd means that were the UK Government to follow such a senseless route, we could do nothing to stop them.
“The Welsh Government must do everything in their power to act swiftly and decisively by accelerating their plans to implement a Welsh Bill of Rights, incorporating international human rights law directly. This must be done alongside the wholesale devolution of justice so that we can uphold, better enforce and expand on universal human rights in Wales.”
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman called The Sunday Times report “unsourced speculation on future plans”.
The spokesman told reporters: “We will of course comply with all our international obligations, and we are confident the measures being worked through will tackle the problem while being compliant with the ECHR.”
Asked if there are any circumstances in which the UK would consider leaving the ECHR, he replied: “There are no plans for Government to take that approach.”
The comments follow backlash from Conservative MPs over the suggestion the UK could threaten to leave the convention.
Former Welsh secretary Sir Robert Buckland and Sir Bob Neill, Conservative chairman of the Commons Justice Committee, have rallied against the idea.
Sir Bob said adherence to the ECHR is a “red line” for many Tories, telling the Financial Times: “If Conservatives don’t believe in the rule of law, what do we believe in?
“Are we going to put ourselves in the same company as Russia and Belarus?”
Tackling the flow of small boats across the Channel has been set as one of Mr Sunak’s top five priorities in the run up to the next general election.
According to Downing Street, the proposals for cracking down on the crossings are due to be published “fairly soon”.
So far this year, some 1,442 migrants have crossed the Channel to the UK, according to Home Office figures.
Those numbers include 262 people who made the journey this weekend.
Last year, a record 45,755 succeeded in making the trip, UK Government figures show.
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.
Some people forget that the ECHR and the EU are not the same thing. Just because we voted to leave the EU doesn’t mean we voted to leave the European Convention on Human Rights as well. This was actually established by Churchill in the 1950s to ensure that our human rights are upheld, so that fascism or communism cannot prevail.
Even if the Tories are being genuinely honest when they say that our rights will not be affected, it sets a dangerous precedent.
Our human rights should be enshrined as non-negotiable, they are not up for a democratic debate.
The only way Cymru (PLEASE, stop calling it “Wales”) can be safe from the fascist oligarchs, robber barons and scum that slop around in the Westminster spitoon is by being independent of that vile and corrupt system that is run for the profit of the already wealthy.
We are not worthy Liz, you really are the ‘parliamentarian’ of the ‘house’ day after day but that was for the life and liberty of every person in Wales and the rest of the UK…
Now, I know you can’t appear to like aeroplanes and are not often seen on the Mach Loop hillside but I wish we had a Squadron of you…
ps I notice that you were born in the year of the Dragon, how appropriate and with Xi in mind I shall refer to you as Dragon Warrior in future…
I wonder if my Tory MP Fay Jones realises that by removing my right to life she is removing her own?
Mrs Thatcher was hoisted aloft on her ‘poll tax’ Fishi will disappear up his own rope if he carries on being Rishi, the country cannot afford him right now and everyone knows it…
He is no less afflicted than Truss. Let’s just hope Brutus (why did I think of Barclay as I wrote that?) and his mates get on with the hit job…
Make no mistake the Tories are TOTAL CONTROL FREAKS they want to take back control Of Cymru Scotland and Northern Ireland
Fascism lives.I find it weird they say number 10, as if to remove a person of the blame. The English only government has nothin to offer us in Cymru. Especially air miles Sunak. They have destroyed a history of evolving deceny into a game of laughing at refugees deaths.
The Tory front bench contains the some of the worst people in the UK outside of HMP Broadmoor…
Then it’s a simple question – Does Plaid plan to leave Westminster? Cause there will come a point when complaints won’t mean a damn thing, you can argue that is the current case.