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Tory challenger hits back at Welsh Secretary over criticism of plans to leave European Convention on Human Rights

13 Jul 2022 5 minute read
Attorney General Suella Braverman. Picture by Attorney General Suella Braverman / PA Wire. New Welsh Secretary Robert Buckland. Photo Jonathan Brady PA Images.

An unexpected challenger to become the next Prime Minister of the UK has hit back against the Welsh Secretary after he called her plans to leave the European Convention on Human Rights an “abrogation of global leadership”.

Llanelli-born Buckland, who is MP for South Swindon, said that plans by Suella Braverman to leave the ECHR were “at best naïve” and “profoundly un-Conservative”.

The former Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice also described leaving the ECHR as “using a political sledgehammer to crack a legal nut”.

In an article for Politics Home however, Suella Braverman responded directly to his criticism, saying that the halting of flights to Rwanda which were given the OK by the UK’s own Supreme Court showed that there was a mismatch between the UK and European justice system.

“The truth is that transferring decision-making powers means you might get decisions you don’t like,” she said.

“That is what we saw recently with the grounding of the Rwanda flight. Our Supreme Court agreed that it was legal for the flight to depart. Strasbourg did not.”

She said that Buckland’s suggestion of renegotiating the ECHR wasn’t viable as that would “require a consensus between 46 member states, most of which simply don’t see the ECHR as a problem, because of their more permissive socio-legal cultures”.

“Some say – in hushed tones – why don’t we stay in and quietly breach it?” she asked, but added: “Even if we tried, the Strasbourg court would pass a Rule 39 injunction (as with the Rwanda flight), and a UK court would likely mirror that.

“It would be clear to anyone that our Rwanda policy had no hope of actually deporting anyone, and the number of illegal migrants would grow. We would be incapable of meeting our 2019 manifesto promise to ‘take control of our borders’.

“To fulfil that promise, we need to leave the ECHR, and retain the Human Rights Act, as strengthened in Dominic Raab’s British Bill of Rights. This would not harm the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement, devolution, or the EU trade deal.

“The Belfast Agreement stipulates that rights should be embedded in law – that was achieved by the Human Rights Act. Likewise, devolution legislation refers to the rights in the HRA itself. Lord Frost was very careful not to bind us to the ECHR in his Brussels negotiations.

“Leaving the ECHR is the only solution which solves the problem, and is entirely consistent with international law.”

She added: “Taking this step will be controversial. Our establishment can’t conceive of a world without the ECHR. But if you ask Commonwealth lawyers or legislators from outside Europe, ‘would you want your Parliament to be second-guessed by a foreign court?’ Invariably, they would say ‘no’.

“Once and for all, we should truly bring rights home.”

‘Culture war’

In an article for the the Telegraph this week Robert Buckland had argued against leaving the European Convention on Human Rights, saying that all candidates should demonstrate their fundamental belief in what Margaret Thatcher described as “freedom under the law”.

“This means a deep-seated respect for the Crown, our United Kingdom, the judiciary and the other key institutions that underpin our democracy and society,” he said.

“The Tory party is not an iconoclastic sect, hell-bent on disruption, division and destruction. We are here to preserve the ties that bind us together, and in the case of Northern Ireland, to be good stewards of the peace process that is now nearly twenty-five years old.

“Talk of withdrawal from the European Convention on Human Rights, which underpins the peace process, is at best naïve and at worst an abrogation of Britain’s European and global leadership.

“It is profoundly un-Conservative and must be resisted. Instead, we should seek to reform and fix any problems, for example with immigration law, rather than following Russia out of the door.”

In an opinion piece that made no mention of his new job as Welsh Secretary, he said that the focus in the Conservative leadership race should be on “the economy, plain and simple”.

“So-called ‘culture war’ issues are important, but no-one wants to fight a war on an empty stomach,” he said.

“Any candidate worth their salt has to place themselves firmly in the shoes of the people we serve. From my own extensive conversations with constituents, friends and family, the cost of living and the prospect of an economy that is slowing down are the issues that matter.”

However, he then roamed into the ‘culture war’ himself, adding that while Conservatives “should be proud of all the diverse parts of our modern society, and that love and compassion must always prevail, we know what a woman is”.


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The Original Mark
The Original Mark
4 months ago

This Braverman is a full on hardcore pro brexit muppet, if you think johnson was bad, you ain’t seen nothing yet, she was involved with the ERG, that was the right wing anti EU group that is behind most of the problems we see now, she makes Priti Patel look like an amateur. nasty, nasty, nasty.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
4 months ago

First chair person…married to Scottish aristocracy…a danger to our society…

Mark Hoffer
Mark Hoffer
4 months ago

It seems that if you follow her twisted logic, we should forget about the Geneva Convention too.
Stupid person, elevated far beyond her capabilities already.

Rob
Rob
4 months ago

Braverman really is a nasty piece of work. What people don’t realise is that the European Convention in Human Rights and the European Union are not the same thing. The ECHR was established by Churchill after the Second World War to ensure our human rights remain upheld. Every country has signed up to it, except for Russia and Belarus.

CmnSense
CmnSense
4 months ago
Reply to  Rob

Unless people suggest a different way to stop boats coming in and keep the people in Calais out, NOT admitted as asylum seekers, then frankly leaving the ECHR is the only reasonable thing to do. If the only solution to a problem is a nuke, so be it. I, like most people in the UK, support it.

I would support other ways to keep illegals out and stay in the ECHR, but I haven’t heard of any that don’t involve letting them in. What has this got to do with the EU?

SocialistWalesForEver
SocialistWalesForEver
4 months ago
Reply to  CmnSense

Nasty nasty stupid people who like to give away their rights because posh people told them too, Britain deserves everything it gets because of this consensus.

So glad I’m Welsh, at least I have my socialist country that I can be proud of, we must fight for our freedom and be free of this Westminster mess and all the hateful followers that prop it up.

Why don’t you move to England, your anti socialist views don’t really fit in with our vision of Wales.

SocialistWalesForEver
SocialistWalesForEver
4 months ago
Reply to  CmnSense

If you truly belive this then you are a fascist, look it up, you might learn something about yourself.

Rob
Rob
4 months ago
Reply to  CmnSense

I mentioned the EU because some people think that the EU & the ECHR are the same thing.

Pulling out of the ECHR sets a dangerous precedent. Not only could it mean other countries following suit, but our fundamental rights would become dependent on which ever party is in power in Westminster.

Our basic human rights are not up for a democratic debate, they are non-negotiable.

Carol James
Carol James
4 months ago

Braverman is far more reflective of Conservative Party opinion than Buckland. Her laissez faire approach will succeed, whereas Buckland’s line will diminish. The incoming Tory PM will certainly be to the ideological right of Boris Johnson. Neo-liberalism will be allowed to flourish and the only strengthening of the state will be witnessed in a massive increase in defence spending. We will also see a substantial rolling back of devolution as the Celtic nations are subject to revanchism. The era of New Thatcherism awaits.

hdavies15
hdavies15
4 months ago
Reply to  Carol James

New Thatcherism ? Not really. What we were drifting towards, and now accelerating, is a dangerous corporate state where the needs of large globalist corporates and their financial institutions are given utmost priority while the rest of us can go and whistle. Most of the field of candidates for P.M are into this kind of elitist ideology so it’s good news for that minute % age that is already on the top perch and seriously alarming for the rest of us. Smaller nations will remain dominated by this new form of imperialism unless we fight back.

Sioned
Sioned
4 months ago
Reply to  Carol James

I think the word you are looking for is fascism

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