Justice Secretary Robert Buckland denies Boris Johnson set to opt out of major human rights laws

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Justice Secretary Robert Buckland has denied Boris Johnson is set to opt out of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Mr Buckland said leaving the Convention would be “wholly wrong” and that the UK Government should instead focus on streamlining its domestic laws.

It comes despite reports the Prime Minister is planning to withdraw from major parts of European human rights laws in a bid to ease migrant deportation cases.

But speaking on Sunday, the Justice Secretary batted down these suggestions.

Boris Johnson was said to have been planning to withdraw from major parts of European human rights laws (REUTERS)

The European Convention on Human Rights, a landmark treaty that was drawn up in the aftermath of the Second World War, aims to protect the civil and political rights of the continent’s citizens.

Mr Buckland told Times Radio: “Now, the Act (Human Rights Act) is now 20 years of age, I think it needs to be looked at carefully, we’re working on ways on which we can examine that and do it in a mature and sensible way.

“But… the idea that we’re going to leave the convention is for the birds.

“You know, it was British Conservative lawyers who wrote the damn thing back in 1950. We wrote it because we were leaders of Europe when it came to freedom, we wanted to underline the importance of fundamental rights and freedoms back then and that frankly for me is hugely important.

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“It is a badge of honour for this country that we did that. Yes there have been moments when we have had disagreements and clashes about aspects of its interpretation, but you know there is a wide margin of appreciation that allows member states, Britain, France, other countries, to make their own laws which give us a huge amount of freedom.

“And I do think that rather than focusing on the European Convention we should be focusing on our own domestic laws and working out where perhaps we’ve gold-plated laws a bit too much in what is often an English Law tradition, rather than criticising the convention itself.

“Let’s see what we can do at home to streamline our laws and make them more responsive rather than suggesting that we should withdraw from the convention. That would be wholly wrong in my opinion.”

Reports that the Government is set to opt out of the convention emerged on Saturday and have been heavily criticised by the opposition parties.

Shadow justice secretary David Lammy said: “Instead of giving unattributed briefings designed to distract, the Government should focus on getting a Brexit deal and defeating the virus.

“Any attempt to abandon human rights would make life in Britain less secure and hold our country back on the world stage.”

Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Wera Hobhouse added: “With these plans, Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings are trying to enable the Government to run roughshod over people’s rights and allow ministers to break the law with impunity.

“Liberal Democrats will always defend individuals’ abilities to challenge any Government and uphold their human rights. We will not stand by and allow this Conservative Government to undermine the rule of law, which is so fundamental to our society.”

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