The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) is selling the Great British Public down the river. Its increasingly spurious judgments – placing the rights of terrorists above the rights of the public – are bringing the British justice system into disrepute and threatening our national security.
Whilst it is welcome that the Conservative party is beginning to recognise this fact, plans to downgrade this Court – announced at their annual conference last week – are doomed to fail. By repealing Labour’s destructive Human Rights Act, the Tories hope to reinstate the supremacy of British courts.
But this is simply not enough to restrain the ECHR, which has expanded its legal reach way beyond anything its founders intended. Standing squarely in the way of any reform is Britain’s European Union membership. This unspoken fact was the elephant in the Birmingham conference hall.
Although the Europhiles deny it, the ECHR has everything to do with the EU. Whilst it is true the EU is a wholly separate institution – since the passing of the Lisbon Treaty by the last Labour government in 2009 – it has become completely entangled with the Human Rights Convention and Court.
The EU and the ECHR are intrinsically linked. Under article 6 of the Lisbon Treaty, the entire EU acceded to the European Convention of Human Rights – under the authority of the ECHR. This Treaty created a ‘single market for law’ – in essence an open door to Britain’s legal system.
Our Justice Secretary Chris Grayling wishes to relegate the ECHR. The sad truth for Grayling is – Britain no longer has that power. We are unable to withdraw from the ECHR without being in breach of our EU Treaty obligations. Signing the Lisbon Treaty surrendered the sovereignty of Britain’s legal system – permanently.
This is no secret either. The European Commission has confirmed this – with shock comments threatening to withdraw Britain’s entire EU voting rights if MPs vote to withdraw from the Human Rights Court. It is clear from this statement – British influence is dead!
In any event, these doomed plans are reliant upon an unlikely Conservative majority government in 2015. Another Coalition would dash any hopes of reform. This has been demonstrated by the outspoken comments of the Liberal Democrat’s Deputy Leader, Tim Farron, at their party’s annual conference this week.
Farron declared his party was wholly opposed to any attempts to ‘tamper’ with the Human Rights Convention – accusing the Conservatives of ‘trashing’ the legacy of Winston Churchill. With the Labour party also opposed to the plans, it is unlikely they will ever see the light of day again.
Even if David Cameron secures his majority at the general election, for all the Prime Minister’s rhetoric, removing Britain from the ECHR is reliant upon his same failed renegotiation strategy – fatally discredited by his failure to stop the appointment of Jean Claude Junker to the position of Commission President, in July of this year.
Our political class will never accept the simple truths. The EU’s free movement allows anyone to enter Britain – whilst the ECHR prevents our elected officials from deporting them. To restore sense to our justice system – as well as regain control of our borders – we need to Get Britain Out of the European Union as soon as possible.
Jack Wharton is a Research Assistant at Get Britain Out.