Britain threatens to ignore European Court of Human Rights rulings

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 03, 2014 3:20 AM

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain will quit the European Court of Human Rights unless it agrees that the Westminster parliament has the final say over its rulings, Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservatives said on Friday.

Cameron has said rulings by the European rights court had prevented Britain deporting suspected militants, insisted on human rights on the battlefields of Afghanistan and upheld the rights of prisoners to vote.

"We do not require instruction on this from judges in Strasbourg," Cameron told Conservative activists this week in the English city of Birmingham on Oct. 1.

Under the proposal, if the Conservatives are re-elected in May 2015, Britain will pass a Bill of Rights that would set out the application of human rights law in Britain.

The proposed changes would mean the European court's rulings would no longer be binding over the Supreme Court and the Westminster parliament would have the right to veto the European court's judgments.

The Human Rights Act, domestic legislation which enshrines the international principles of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) into British law, will be scrapped.

"We can’t go on with the situation where changes to our laws are made in an international court with no democratic override in the UK," Justice Secretary Chris Grayling told the Times.

"These changes will mean that the UK parliament will have the final say," he was quoted as saying.

The original text of the 1950 Human Rights Convention would be put into primary British legislation, according to the Times.

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Alison Williams)