The UK’s Attorney General, Victoria Prentis, has insisted that Britain can tackle the small boats crisis while remaining signed up to European human rights law.
In a statement to the Justice Committee, she stressed that the UK, like other nations, would be able to deal with migration issues “within” the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
She added that the Government was “committed to remaining a member of the ECHR” and dismissed suggestions that Britain could quit the convention as “press speculation.”
However, Mrs Prentis’s comments came just hours after Justice Secretary Dominic Raab, who is also Deputy Prime Minister, refused to rule out the UK leaving the ECHR in order to tackle illegal migration.
Despite this apparent split within the Cabinet, UK PM Rishi Sunak has committed to delivering on the proposed Rwanda migration scheme and pledged to pass new laws in the coming weeks to “stop small boats”.
The Rwanda scheme, which was championed by ex-PM Boris Johnson as a means of cracking down on Channel migrant crossings, was blocked by judges in an 11th-hour ruling last June.
It has recently been claimed that the legislation being drawn up by Downing Street and the Home Office will take Britain to the “boundaries” of international law, with Mr Sunak said to be prepared to withdraw from the ECHR if necessary.
Mrs Prentis, however, maintained that the Government was “committed” to remaining part of the ECHR.
She said that the UK was “highly valued” as part of the court and had the “fewest infractions” against it of any nation.
She also suggested that Northern Ireland’s Good Friday Agreement would need to be rewritten if the UK were to leave the ECHR.
Despite having refused to rule out Britain leaving the ECHR, Mr Raab told MPs that his Bill of Rights “will envisage us remaining a state party to the ECHR”.
Source: PM’s top legal adviser says Britain CAN tackle small boats crisis within European human rights law