Conservatives plan to diminish European court’s authority

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Move to prevent European court of human rights overruling UK legal decisions will be in Tory manifesto, says justice secretary.

The European court of human rights will be prevented from overruling decisions made by British courts under plans set to be announced by the Conservatives this week.

The justice secretary, Chris Grayling, said that the Conservatives wanted to scrap the Human Rights Act so that the final decisions in controversial cases could be made by the supreme court rather than the European court of human rights.

The policy, to be included in the party’s manifesto ahead of the general election in May, was an attempt to return power to Britain, he told the Daily Telegraph.

“Decisions like ‘do prisoners get the vote?’ or ‘can you send brutal murderers to prison for their whole lives?’ seem to be outside our control,” he said. “I want our supreme court to be supreme. Decisions that affect this country should be taken in this country.”

The Tories have long wanted to curb the power of the Strasbourg-based court, which they believe has forced unacceptable decisions on Britain.

The party is planning a bill of rights to place the Human Rights Act that would abolish the right to appeal to the ECHR against decisions made by British courts.

Meanwhile, as the Tories prepare to gather for their annual conference in Birmingham, the culture secretary, Savid Javid, said Britain should not be afraid of the prospect of leaving the European Union.

Javid said that the UK could still prosper economically even if it left the EU. “I think it would open up opportunities. I am not afraid of that at all,” he told the Daily Mail.

David Cameron is preparing to fight the election on a pledge to renegotiate the terms of Britain’s EU membership and then hold an in/out referendum.

Javid insisted there was “reason to be confident” about the outcome of the negotiations. “Look at what we have already achieved – getting us out of the EU bailout fund, reducing the budget of the EU, vetoing a treaty,” he said.

But while the prime minister has said that he wanted Britain to remain a part of the EU, Javid argued that there was no reason to fear a no vote

He said: “We should have a referendum on in/out, and if the British people decide Britain is better off outside, I would respect that decision.”

Report By The Guardian

Niamh Harris
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