European rulings blocking Rwanda deportation flights could be ignored under new plans

Dominic Raab is introducing a new 'Bill of Rights' to Parliament on Wednesday after the European Court of Human

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European Court of Human Rights judgments blocking removal flights to Rwanda would be ignored under a Bill of Rights also tasked with increasing deportations of foreign criminals.

Dominic Raab is introducing the proposed legislation to Parliament on Wednesday after the Strasbourg court disrupted the Government’s controversial flagship policy for asylum seekers who arrive in unauthorised journeys.

The Deputy Prime Minister wants the successor to the Human Rights Act to assert that British courts do not always need to follow the court in Strasbourg.

Dominic Raab
Dominic Raab

Instead, the legislation states that the Supreme Court in London is the ultimate decision-maker on human rights issues.

The Bill would create a permission stage in court where claimants must show they have suffered significant damage before their case can go ahead, to reduce “trivial” cases.

It would also seek to restrict the circumstances in which foreign-born people convicted of crimes are able to argue their right to family life trumps public safety in a bid to prevent their removal from the UK.

They would have to prove that their child would come to overwhelming and unavoidable harm if they were deported under the plans, which need the approval of Parliament.

Mr Raab, who is also Justice Secretary, said: “The Bill of Rights will strengthen our UK tradition of freedom whilst injecting a healthy dose of common sense into the system.

“These reforms will reinforce freedom of speech, enable us to deport more foreign offenders and better protect the public from dangerous criminals.”

The first Rwanda flight set to take off last week was cancelled at the last minute following a legal challenge from the ECHR
The first Rwanda flight set to take off last week was cancelled at the last minute following a legal challenge from the ECHR

He stepped back from demands from some Conservative MPs to pull out of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The first forced removals of asylum seekers to Rwanda on one-way tickets was due to take off last week, with ministers initially expecting around 130 passengers.

But legal challenges whittled down the manifest until on the morning ahead of take-off only around seven migrants or fewer were expected to be on board.

Then the European court granted an interim injunction barring the removal of an Iraqi asylum seeker until a decision on the legality of the Government’s policy is made in UK courts.

Strasbourg-based judges removed two others from the plane, while the Supreme Court granted injunctions preventing the immediate removal of three more.

Mr Raab’s legislation would confirm that interim measures from the court under so-called rule 39 are not binding on UK courts.

The Bill would also seek to protect Government plans to increase the use of separation centres for extremists from legal challenges based on the right to socialise.

The Ministry of Justice also says it would boost press freedom by introducing a stronger test for courts to consider before ordering journalists to disclose their sources.