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May 'wants Human Rights Act gone'

Home Secretary Theresa May has risked angering Liberal Democrat Cabinet colleagues by throwing her weight behind calls for the Human Rights Act to be scrapped.

In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, she said she would "personally" like to see it go because of the problems it has presented the Home Office.

Her comments, on the eve of the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, will endear her to many Tories infuriated by its use by foreign criminals to avoid deportation.

But senior Lib Dems, including Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Energy Secretary Chris Huhne, have pledged that the Act will stay.

Ms May said: "I'd personally like to see the Human Rights Act go because I think we have had some problems with it."

She added: "I see it, here in the Home Office, particularly, the sort of problems we have in being unable to deport people who perhaps are terrorist suspects. Obviously we've seen it with some foreign criminals who are in the UK."

Mr Clegg promised Lib Dem delegates at his party's conference last month that the Human Rights Act, which enshrines the European Convention on Human Rights in UK law, is "here to stay".

Mr Huhne suggested the issue, if forced, could topple the coalition.

"If Conservative backbenchers persist in wanting to tear up the European Convention on Human Rights, then I can foresee a time when this party would be extremely uncomfortable in coalition," he said.

Shami Chakrabarti, director of human rights organisation Liberty, said: "Modern Conservatives should think again about human rights values that were truly Churchill's legacy. Only a pretty 'nasty party' would promote human rights in the Middle East whilst scrapping them at home."


From Belfast Telegraph