Tom Hunt calls for rethink on Human Rights Court
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
Ipswich MP Tom Hunt has called into question the UK's continued membership of the European Court of Human Rights after its judgement on Tuesday forced the last-minute cancellation of the first flight of asylum-seekers to Rwanda.
However, his neighbouring MP, Suffolk Coastal's Dr Therese Coffey, who is also employment secretary, said she was not aware of any government plans to withdraw from the court.
A strong supporter of the government's policy, he said: “My view is that we should not be signatories to treaties or conventions if they limit our ability to control our own borders.
"Being able to control your own borders is clearly crucial to being a sovereign country. I’m also of the view that British courts should be supreme. It feels very wrong to me that a foreign court can overrule our own courts when it comes to a matter like this.
"The Lord Chancellor is currently undertaking a review of all human rights legislation and my understanding is that a new British Bill of Rights will be replacing the Human Rights Act.
"Time will tell whether or not we can remain signatories of the ECHR whilst also finally ending the dangerous small boat crossings we’ve been seeing over the past few years and ensuring the Rwanda policy is a success.”
Several backbench Conservative MPs have called on the government to withdraw from the court but Dr Coffey, speaking on Sky News, said that was not on the agenda.
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She said: “Right now I am not aware of any decisions or even hints about that."
Dr Coffey said she expected the Government would challenge a late-night ruling by the European Court of Human Rights which led to the cancellation of the first deportation flight taking asylum seekers to Rwanda.
“The most important thing is that we tackle this issue right now. We will go back, I am sure, to the ECHR to challenge this initial ruling.”
The European Human Rights Court - which has no connection with the EU - was set up in 1959 by the Council of Europe and has 46 members. The only countries in Europe that are not currently members are Belarus and Russia.
The government's policy of flying out some asylum seekers who have illegally entered the UK has come under fire from many quarters - earlier this week all the bishops in the House of Lords, including the Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, wrote a letter to The Times in protest at the policy.