Clegg: “Tories are with Putin” - as UK gets closer to steamrolling EU human rights laws

Could David Cameron’s new cabinet provide the perfect opportunity for the government to re-engineer Britain’s human rights laws?

That is what Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has suggested, saying “the Conservative Party wants to turn its back on a long, long British tradition of upholding human rights across the world.”

Currently, human rights decisions are adjudicated by the European Court of Human Rights, but under Conservative proposals, Britain will decide what constitutes a breach.

The decision to go solo is not without international consequences and would likely see the UK expelled from the 47-member strong Council of Europe. The only other country in Europe not in the council is Belarus.

The legislation could even be the centrepiece of Cameron’s Conservative Party conference speech in September, according to the BBC’s political correspondent Nick Robinson.

The cabinet reshuffle this week shuffled out any major government opponents to such reforms, including pro-European party veteran Ken Clarke, and former Attorney General Dominic Grieve.

Grieve described the proposed legislation as “incoherent” policy and said it was “a legal car crash with a built-in time delay”.

But Clegg went further, speaking on LBC’s Call Clegg programme the Deputy PM lashed out at the vaunted policy, accusing David Cameron of aligning himself “with Vladimir Putin and other tyrants around the world by tearing up our long tradition of human rights”.

“What on earth are we going to say to the dictators in Belarus, to Vladimir Putin, if we do as the Conservatives now appear to recommend, which is to basically say we are going to stamp our little feet and not abide by binding, international human rights practices and conventions?” he added.

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Readers' comments (2)

  • I don't think we need a shepherd when it comes to human rights. Human rights today mean a right to a free ride to do what everyone else pays to do unlike the old days when it was a right to vote pray to the maker of your choice with free will.

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  • If we leave 'because our courts do it better' then that sounds like an excuse for Putin to take Russia out on the same basis. Winston Churchill will be turning in his grave!

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