Boris Johnson defends the ECHR in resurfaced comments from 2016

Boris Johnson defends the ECHR in resurfaced comments from 2016
Rwanda: Boris Johnson says scheme will offer migrants 'safe legal routes' to ...

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) is right at the top of the news agenda this morning, after the first deportation flight to Rwanda won a last-minute legal reprieve.

The taxpayer-funded flight, thought to cost £500,000, was halted just minutes before it was due to take off following interventions by the ECHR.

While ministers including Liz Truss and Priti Patel insisted the flight would go ahead as planned, appeals were granted by an out-of-hours ECHR judge and flight was abandoned just before 10pm.

The development has led to Tory MPs to call for the UK to leave the convention.

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Priti Patel has criticised the court’s intervention, and Boris Johnson himself hinted at the UK leaving the ECHR.

Asked whether it was time for the UK to withdraw from the convention, Johnson said: “The legal world is very good at picking up ways of trying to stop the government from upholding what we think is a sensible law.

“Will it be necessary to change some laws to help us as we go along? It may very well be and all these options are under constant review.”

However, it was just a few years ago that Johnson was singing the praises of the convention, which was proposed by Winston Churchill and devised by British lawyers.

He told Vote Leave backers at York Racecourse, he said [via The Mirror]: "We wrote it and actually I am a supporter of it.

"I think it was one of the great things we gave to Europe. It was under Winston Churchill, it was a fine idea in the post-War environment.”

Johnson added: "I am not against the European Convention or indeed the Court because it's very important for us - the judgements of the European Court of Human Rights do not have to be applied either by the UK courts or by the UK Parliament.

"The judgements of the European Court in Luxembourg do and Luxembourg is supreme."

The future PM added: "Keep the European Convention, it's a fine thing. Get out of the EU."

It comes after home secretary Priti Patel insisted the controversial Rwanda plan will continue, saying: “Many of those removed from this flight will be placed on the next. Our legal team are reviewing every decision made on this flight and preparation for the next flight begins now.

“We will not be deterred from doing the right thing and delivering our plans.”

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