Tory vow to scrap Human Rights Act
Published 09/03/2013 | 19:36
Theresa May has promised that a Conservative government would scrap the Human Rights Act and could go further by pulling out of its European obligations on rights altogether.
The Home Secretary told Tory activists the party must "consider very carefully our relationship" with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), suggesting it was restricting Britain's ability to act in the national interest.
She pointed to the case of radical preacher Abu Qatada, who has been ordered to remain in custody following his arrest for allegedly breaching his bail conditions, accusing Strasbourg of constantly moving the goalposts on his deportation.
Ms May, who is being touted as a possible future Tory leader, told the Victory 2015 conference staged by website conservativehome, that Britain must stop human rights laws interfering with its ability to protect the nation.
The confirmation comes after speculation last week that the Cabinet minister wanted to pull the UK out of the ECHR.
Ms May said: "We need to stop human rights legislation interfering with our ability to fight crime and control immigration. That's why, as our last manifesto promised, the next Conservative government will scrap the Human Rights Act, and it's why we should also consider very carefully our relationship with the European Court of Human Rights and the convention it enforces.
"When Strasbourg constantly moves the goalposts and prevents the deportation of dangerous men like Abu Qatada, we have to ask ourselves to what end are we signatories to the convention?
"Are we really limiting human rights abuses in other countries? I'm sceptical. But are we restricting our ability to act in the national interest? Are we conceding that our own Supreme Court is not supreme?
"I believe we are. So by 2015 we'll need a plan for dealing with the European Court of Human Rights. And yes, I want to be clear that all options - including leaving the convention altogether - should be on the table."
Ms May also told Tory grassroots at the London conference that she expects the Conservative Party's public sector reform agenda to "become even more radical" and could include allowing companies to make a profit delivering frontline services.