Friday, 23 Feb 2024

Rishi Sunak urged by readers to ‘take back control’ and leave ECHR

Emily Thornberry slams Government over ECHR debate

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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is reportedly considering withdrawing the UK from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) if his new crackdown on migration is rejected in Strasbourg. A new Express.co.uk poll has found that almost 90 percent of readers support the UK withdrawing from the international convention.

Mr Sunak is said to be working on plans with Home Secretary Suella Braverman which push the “boundaries” of international law to curb immigration. Official estimates suggest that there will be an almost 50 percent increase in illegal migrants compared to last year.

The Sunday Times reported a source familiar with Sunak’s thinking as saying: “This bill will go as far as possible within international law. We are pushing the boundaries of what is legally possible, while staying within the ECHR. And we are confident that when it is tested in the courts, we will win.

“But if this legislation gets onto the statute book and is found to be lawful by our domestic courts, but it is still being held up in Strasbourg, then we know the problem is not our legislation or our courts. If that’s the case, then of course he will be willing to reconsider whether being part of the ECHR is in the UK’s long-term interests.”

The ECHR came into force in the UK in 1953 and sources have told publication that leaving is unlikely to occur before the next general election but withdrawal would be at the heart of the Conservative Party’s manifesto.

In a poll that ran from 12:30pm on Tuesday, February 14, to 3pm on Thursday, February 16, Express.co.uk asked readers: “Should Rishi Sunak push for the UK to leave the ECHR?”

Overall, 12,891 votes were cast with the vast majority, 89 percent (11,483 people), answered “yes” in favour of the UK withdrawing from the ECHR.

Whereas 11 percent (1,377 people) said “no” against leaving the convention, and a further 31 people said they did not know either way.

Thousands of comments were left below the accompanying article as readers debated the UK’s future in the ECHR.

Many readers argued in favour of the UK leaving the ECHR, with username ValBrooker writing: “Absolutely, we should leave the ECHR and the sooner the better off the UK will be.”

Similarly, username DoggyPaws said: “It’s the only way we can control our borders and implement our own laws for the protection of the people and the good of our country, we have to leave!”

Username london town. agreed, commenting: “Sunak needs to get on with it now and leave ECHR and let the UK take back control.”

Username DaemonStorm said: “ECHR functions can be performed by our own courts. There is no reason to stay in the ECHR.”

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Another, username SanjayP wrote: “The UK doesn’t need to belong inside the ECHR, to protect the rights of its citizens.”

Username Almost Dead added: “We should have left the ECHR years ago.”

While some readers commented that the convention was no longer suitable for the UK. Username manx99 said: “The ECHR is not fit for purpose.”

Likewise, username stevedon99 said: “The ECHR was set nearly three-quarters of a century ago and unsurprisingly is no longer fit for purpose!”

Former cabinet minister Simon Clarke said that Mr Sunak was “completely right” to consider withdrawing the UK from the ECHR. He explained: “It is a fundamental question of trust and competence that we should very significantly curb illegal immigration into the UK.

“We hear a great deal about how the UK played a key role in drawing up the convention, but the issues now being litigated under the ECHR were not in contemplation post world war II. Our human rights architecture is being abused by criminals to endanger the lives of desperate people.”

However, some readers thought that the UK should remain in the convention, with username ken, preston commenting that leaving the ECHR would “totally destroy the UK’s international credibility”.

Meanwhile, username Uncivilservant said: “Leaving the ECHR is long overdue but the Tories would be ill-advised if they believe that is going to save them.”

Tory chair of the Commons justice committee, Sir Bob Neill, warned that Mr Sunak could fash backlash from pushing to withdraw from the convention. He told the Financial Times: “t’s not a virtue to push the law to the limits. Adherence to and membership of the ECHR is a red line for many Conservatives. It would be unbelievable for a Conservative Government to leave it.”

Former Justice Secretary, Sir Robert Buckland, also told the Financial Times: “It would be an undesirable state of affairs if the UK was to follow Russia out of the Council of Europe.”

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