Suella Braverman wants to quit European Convention on Human Rights if judges reject her Rwanda deal
- The move will create significant dividing line between Home Secretary and PM
Suella Braverman will push for the ‘nuclear option’ of quitting the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) if the Supreme Court blocks the Government’s Rwanda asylum deal on Wednesday.
The move will create a significant dividing line between the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister, who favours tweaking UK laws to try to get flights to Rwanda off the ground.
Government lawyers are ‘pessimistic’ about securing a successful verdict on Wednesday, which would strike a blow to Rishi Sunak’s flagship asylum policy.
Ms Braverman is understood to favour running a ‘Quit The ECHR’ Election campaign, similar to Boris Johnson’s 2019 ‘Get Brexit Done’ campaign. But allies of the Prime Minister say he prefers more moderate options. One said: ‘There are intermediate steps we can take.’
A senior Tory MP said: ‘Quitting the ECHR would be very much the nuclear option. It’s Suella’s preferred option. Rishi wants to keep his options open.’
Ms Braverman is understood to favour running a ‘Quit The ECHR’ Election campaign, similar to Boris Johnson ‘s 2019 ‘Get Brexit Done’ campaign (File Photo)
Members of the staff board a plane reported by British media to be first to transport migrants to Rwanda, at MOD Boscombe Down base in Wiltshire, Britain, June 14, 2022.
Ministers have been given legal advice on a number of domestic legislative options, including amending the Human Rights Act (HRA) so that it no longer applies to illegal migration.
A source close to the Prime Minister said: ‘The Human Rights Act is too much of a straitjacket – it could be reformed to be less constrictive’. Another option being discussed involves tweaking the Rwanda scheme to satisfy judges’ concerns.
The source referenced the approach taken to prisoner voting rights in 2018, when Ministers got around a 2005 ECHR ruling by making a small tweak to the law, which the Council of Europe said was sufficient to allay the European court’s concerns.
‘Mild tweaks could be made to the Rwanda scheme,’ the source said.
Last night allies of the Home Secretary said she knows that quitting the ECHR will not be possible while Mr Sunak is Prime Minister, and will therefore push for a full ‘disapplication’ of the HRA to illegal migrants as an immediate solution in the event of a loss in the Supreme Court.
An ally of Ms Braverman said: ‘We need to sort small boats before the Election. Suella has always said we should leave the ECHR in the long run but to derogate from it in the short term.
Last night allies of the Home Secretary said she knows that quitting the ECHR will not be possible while Mr Sunak is Prime Minister, and will therefore push for a full ‘disapplication’ of the HRA to illegal migrants as an immediate solution in the event of a loss in the Supreme Court (File Photo)
‘Her proposed Illegal Migration Bill tried to do exactly that but she was forced by No 10 to water it down after months of wrangling. It seems they’re now accepting she was right.’
Some Ministers back passing a Bill designating Rwanda a safe country, although insiders dismissed this as a ‘bonkers’ solution and said it would not solve the problem. Mr Sunak is spending the weekend deciding whether to reshuffle Ms Braverman out of her job after a series of controversies.
It comes amid concerns among supporters of Ms Braverman that other Cabinet members, including Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick, who has been touted as a potential successor to her as Home Secretary, and Chief Whip Simon Hart, have been working to ‘undermine’ her.
Mr Hart has been accused of drumming up support against Ms Braverman and being behind leaks about her policies to the press.
Mr Hart strongly denies all the accusations.
One Tory MP said there been an ‘irreparable breakdown’ in the relationship between Mr Hart and some MPs on issues including trans rights.
‘It should not be Suella who gets the sack – it should be Simon Hart,’ the MP said.
Critics of Ms Braverman said she is increasingly operating with a ‘bunker mentality’.
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