IDS calls on Rishi Sunak to tackle European judges ‘head on’

Small boats bill: Julia Hartley-Brewer questions Iain Duncan Smith on TalkTV

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Former Conservative leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith has said Rishi Sunak needs to mount a head-on attack on the European Court of Human Rights and reject their rulings if the UK is to ever solve the small boats crisis in the English Channel. He says the Government must do it speedily to prevent the court from overturning Suella Braverman’s attempts to control our borders.

Sir Iain says his preference is for the UK to “disapply” rulings by the European judges.

Mr Duncan-Smith told TalkTV: “We’re going to have to decide, in the course of this bill, what we intend to do about it.

“Whether we’re going to disapply the direct access to the rules within that certain category, or whether we’re just going to ignore them, which is in a way illegal under the original act.”

He said his preference is to “attack this head-on”.

Sir Iain bemoaned that Britain is unable to copy some European countries who ignore rulings, explaining that they can do so because the ECHR doesn’t have direct applicability in their national courts.

Tony Blair’s Government incorporated the European Convention on Human Rights in 1998, with the Human Rights Act, making it unlawful for any public body including the government to break ECHR rules.

Sir Iain clarified: “Some countries don’t have direct applicability into their domestic courts.

“We used to be like that, the UK government – prior to the Human Rights Act – was able to decide whether something should apply or not, and even the Labour government did.”

The Tory grandee described the European court as “peculiar”.

“The real problem that exists at the end of all this process is the Convention of Human Rights and the court there, which is a peculiar court.

“It’s not like a court that you’d understand over here, quite often the people that inhabit the court have never been jurists, have never been judges.

“They’re supposed to be voted for. It’s a whole very peculiar process which is alien to the way we think.”

Sir Iain said the key question to the whole illegal crossing debate was over where refugees should have to claim asylum.

He said: “The people that we’re talking about are actually situated in the time they leave the coast of France in a country that has human rights, they have crossed borders of countries that have human rights.

“The key question to get straight here across Europe is ‘where do they actually have to declare their interest and claim asylum?’.

“That would help a lot with modern slavery.”

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In June last year, it emerged that a Russian judge continued to sit on the European Court of Human Rights, despite the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

At the time it was rumoured that Russian judge Mikhail Lobov was the justice responsible for blocking a deportation flight from the UK to Rwanda.

Lobov was expelled from the ECHR in March last year, however, despite human rights atrocities in Ukraine was reinstated on a technicality.

Sir Iain mocked the court’s former Russian links, noting Mikhail Lobov’s role in the Rwanda deportation blocking may have been politically motivated.

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