David Cameron: Human Rights Laws Stop Britain Protecting Against Terrorism

Rowena Mason, Telegraph (London), January 27, 2012

The Prime Minister is trying to push through reforms of the European Court of Human Rights over fears it has too many powers to overrule national governments.

In a speech to the Strasbourg assembly, Mr Cameron said the whole concept of human rights laws was in danger of becoming “distorted” and “discredited” because of the court’s decisions.

“We do have a real problem when it comes to foreign national who threaten our security,” he said.

“The problem today is that you can end up with someone who has no right to live in your country, who you are convinced—and have good reason to be convinced—means to do your country harm. And yet there are circumstances in which you cannot try them, you cannot detain them and you cannot deport them.”

“So having put in place every possible safeguard to ensure that (human rights) rights are not violated, we still cannot fulfil our duty to our law-abiding citizens to protect them.”

Mr Cameron’s comments come just a week after the European Court of Human Rights ruled that radical Islamic cleric Abu Qatada cannot be deported for fear he will not get a fair trial in Jordan.

The 47 members of the Council of Europe have agreed that final decisions should be made by national courts where possible, but details of possible reforms are yet to be agreed.

He also wants the European court to defer to national legal decisions, in a challenge to Strasbourg’s ruling that Britain must allow prisoners to vote.

His speech to politicians on the Council of Europe comes just days after the European court overturned the decision of British judges over the deportation of radical Islamic cleric Abu Qatada. The Strasbourg court decided he cannot be returned to Jordan because he would not face a fair trial in his own country.

There is mixed support for Britain’s proposals in Europe, with many arguing for reform but less support for making the court defer to national judgements.

This week, Sir Nicholas Bratza, Europe’s top judge, accused the British Government of pandering to the tabloid press in its criticism of the European Court of Human Rights.

However, Mr Cameron is under pressure from backbench MPs in his own party to claw back power from Europe.

British officials are trying to push through changes while the UK holds the chair of the Council of Europe over six months until May this year.

It wants to address the backlog of 150,000 cases that have built up, with more than half of these against Russia, Turkey, Italy and Romania. Only eight cases against the UK—or less than one per cent of all decisions—were successful last year.

Dominic Raab, a Conservative MP and member of the joint committee on human rights, argues the European Court of Human Rights is conducting a “surreptitious attack on basic democratic principles”.

Writing in The Daily Telegraph today, he says the recent Abu Qatada ruling “subverts our democracy”.

“Strasbourg ignored three failed UK appeals to block the deportation of a terrorist suspect deemed dangerous by domestic judges, because he might not receive a fair trial in Jordan,” he says. “Putting aside the moral acrobatics in making Britain responsible for other countries’ justice systems, Strasbourg had never upheld the unfair trial defence to deportation before.”

On Tuesday night, Denis McShane, the former Europe minister, said he “doubted very much if there will be any support for any mechanism that gives the UK a privilege”.

“I am not sure what the Prime Minister can achieve,” he said. “It is good he is going and shows respect for the Council of Europe, which is the right place to be in to try and change the way the European Court of Human Rights works but I would be very surprised if he can bring anything back to placate the backbenchers. It is mission undeliverable because of the continuing Tory isolation in the corridors of European power.”

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  • Anonymous

    Looks like David “call me dave” Cameron is finally saying the things that we want and need to hear. Apparently, his entire speech was delivered to a chamber that was as quiet as the grave, followed by a hostile question and answer session from political journalists and MEPs. But it is one thing to talk the talk, will he walk the walk?. Even though the Council of Europe has made some noises about being open to reform – as it has done many times in the past – nothing substantive has come of it. Why should this time be any different?. Because we could threaten to pull out of the EU?…most of Europe would be pleased to see the back of us (which makes it all the more surprising that we don’t hold that vital referendum – actually we could, but the government is too frightened of the pro-EU forces at home; the BBC and the Foreign Office amongst many). After Cameron’s speech, Britain’s Sir Nicolas Bratza, a top EU judge, refused to even meet the Prime Minister – preferring, instead, to hear cases. This just goes to show the contempt that Europe’s elites have for national democracies. Finally, Labour lefty Dennis Mcshane (a former Europe Minister under the previous diabolical Labour administration) who whined of “Tory isolation in the corridors of European power”, should know full well that Britain has NEVER had any influence in Europe, because all the other countries (especially France, Germany, Spain) have always made sure that we don’t – we get vetoed on just about everything!. The only way that we can really secure our borders, expel foreign born terrorists and restore some semblance of national democracy is to get out of Europe altogether – and I’m not sure that David Cameron will take that route, despite the widespread support of most of his backbenchers, and indeed, most of the country.

    • Anonymous

      You’re right that Cameron is “saying the things we want to hear”, but that seems to be about all the Tories have done since coming to power. They talked a tough game regarding immigration, asylum seekers, etc. while on the campaign trail but the numbers have gone up, not down. Brussels simply serves as a convenient foil for the conservatives, allowing them to say all the right things at home and score easy points without having to actually move forward because EU courts won’t allow it. Labour’s strategy of importing Labour voters was a smashing success. The Tories won’t undo it wearing EU handcuffs.

      • Anonymous

        You’re quite right, DC did promise a lot before the last election; reduce immigration, tax-cuts, reform of public services etc, and none of those promises have materialised. I just keep hoping that whenever I hear DC say someting Conservative that ‘This will be it’!. Judging on past and current performance, looks like I’m in for serial disappointments. And Labour’s deliberate mass immigration policy HAS been a success, I’ve read of Labour MP’s gloating about it – I despise them!

  • Anonymous

    Can you believe that joker Nick Clegg actually lost 2 (or was it 3?) seats at the last election, now he’s the Deputy PM?. The only satisfaction I got was the fact that the Lib-Dems got comprehensively thrashed on the AV referendum – a system devised, of course, to keep minority parties like Cleggies in coalition government in perpetuity. HA!.

  • Anonymous

    TO MODERATOR – is there a problem with your black history month article page? I tried to post a comment on it and it just disappeared – as if into thin air. Did you remove the post?. I didn’t even get a “comment removed” under ‘loyalwhitebriton’ – so I thought my comment must have mega-annoyed you. If you did remove it, could you atleast tell me, so I can moderate my comments accordingly. I wont be offended if you did remove the comment – it was mildly provocotive – I would just like to know. Thanks.

  • Anonymous

    So why don’t they just ship his butt to country more in line with his radical Islamic beliefs like Egypt or Iran and be done with him? How much you want to bet he’s living off the British taxpayer too.

    • Anonymous

      Correct. Abu Qatada is a muslim, Jordan is a muslim country. Don’t muslims believe in the divine supremacy of islamic (sharia) law?. The real reason is that Abu Qatada is wanted in Jordan for terrorist offences, and because the establishment feel that he’s obviously guilty there’s a good chance that he will be executed after a guilty verdict is delivered. The EU, and to a large extent the British government, will not deport suspects to a country which practices capital punishment because they disagree with it. Unfortunatley.

      • Anonymous

        Dear reader, I actually said “Correct. This particular p——e”…not “Correct, this particular person”. I’m beginning to think that the moderator is picking on me, because the word I used is not a swear word nor blasphemous. Or it could be that the moderator does not understand that the majority of the viewers to this site are ordianry working class folk who use working class language. We are not all intellectualls like Jared Taylor.  I also expect this post to last precisely 5 minutes before it’s removed.