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The Prime Minister, along with aides and ministers, is setting out proposals to curb the use of human rights laws where European judges are believed to have “overreached”. It is believed this would be to prevent migrants avoiding deportation and to protect British soldiers from prosecution over overseas operations. It follows EU officials claiming Britain has broken international law by attempting to reassess the Withdrawal Agreement.
Plans proposed by the UK government include opting out of the Human Rights Act (HRA), signed into British law in 1998, according to the Sunday Telegraph.
As it stands, the act informs British courts to apply the European Convention on Human Rights (EHRC) in its judgements.
The opt-outs would prevent many migrants and asylum seekers from using the act to avoid deportation by going to court and using the European laws.
They are also believed to protect British soldiers from claims against their overseas activities.
A formal review of the opt-out measures is expected to be announced by the Government in the coming weeks.
One proposed option to curb the legislation is to amend the HRA, or to stop the act from impacting newer laws such as the in-progress Overseas Operations Bill.
The bill contains a “presumption against prosecution” against service personnel after five years, which ministers have said “sets the legal bar for prosecution significantly” and amends the HRA to include a specific “duty to consider derogation” from the ECHR.
A less radical proposal would make changes affecting British judges interpretation of the law, rather than amending the act.
EU officials have been demanding the UK remain beholden to the ECHR.
They also demanded the UK keep the current version of the Human Rights Act in place in return for future “law enforcement co-operation”.
In February, the Telegraph revealed Mr Johnson refused EU demands to guarantee the UK would continue to abide by the ECHR after January 1.
British negotiators have also resisted conditional law enforcement collaboration in trade talks over the ECHR.
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Tory MPs have been vocal in recent weeks about needing to scrap human rights laws to put an end to the migrant crisis.
The Common Sense Group, made up of more than 40 Tory MPs, wrote to Mr Johnson demanding a “root and branch reform” of the asylum system, which may include rewriting the HRA.
Sir John Hayes, head of the group, said: “The Human Rights Act in its current form is not fit for purpose.
“Of course certain lawful entitlements, such as the right to a fair trial, are important… but the Human Rights Act as it stands is being abused by a whole army of lawyers.”
It follows outrage in the EU over Mr Johnson’s decision to alter the Withdrawal Agreement using the Internal Market Bill.
Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis admitted to lawmakers the bill “does break international law in a very specific and limited way”.
But the Prime Minister stood firm against criticism of the proposed bill, and accused the EU of threatening a food “blockade” in the Irish Sea.
Mr Johnson added the EU’s threats of revoking the UK’s “third party” status for food exports could destroy the “economic and territorial integrity of the UK”.
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