The United Kingdom government has said it will introduce legislation allowing it to ignore certain European Court of Human Rights decisions after a judge in Strasbourg blocked flights removing asylum seekers to Rwanda.
Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab will bring the new Bill of Rights to parliament on Wednesday as the government attempts to implement its Rwanda plan, aimed at deterring immigrants from making illegal crossings of the English Channel.
British courts earlier this month gave the go-ahead for the first removal flight to leave, but the ECHR stepped in at the last minute with an interim ruling to block its departure.
A UK full judicial review of the plan’s legality is due next month.
Raab said on Wednesday that the bill would assert that the Supreme Court in London is the ultimate arbiter on human rights issues. The law would also mean that interim measures from the court issued under “rule 39” are not binding on UK courts.
Raab is resisting calls from the right of his party to quit the ECHR altogether, saying the new bill would instead “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,” he said.
The UK left the European Union last year after a 2016 Brexit vote but the court is not part of the bloc.
Sacha Deshmukh, Amnesty International UK’s chief executive, said the bill would be “a giant leap backwards for the rights of ordinary people”.