Home Secretary: 'Scrap Human Rights Act'

Theresa May wants to scrap the Human Rights Act because she says it is hampering moves to deport dangerous foreign criminals and terrorist suspects, but her comments have sparked a furious debate.

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

"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."

David Cameron shares Ms May's view, but they are both at loggerheads with their coalition partners and the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

Speaking at the Liberal Democrat conference last month about the Human Rights Act, Mr Clegg said "it is here to stay".

Ms May's comments will strike a chord with many at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester this week, who see the legislation in their view being abused by criminals and terrorists.

Paul Houston certainly thinks the legislation is being abused.

His 12-year-old daughter Amy was knocked down and killed by a failed Iraqi asylum seeker.

Aso Mohammed Ibrahim has been allowed to stay in the UK because judges ruled it would infringe his right to a family life if he was deported to Iraq.

Mr Houston said: "It's about time they put the viewpoints and rights of victims above the rights of criminals."

However, Shami Chakrabarti, director of the human rights organisation Liberty, said: "It is completely hypocritical to promote human rights in an Arab Spring whilst seeking to scrap them in a British winter."

Miss Chakrabarti believes Ms May is not giving the full picture on human rights and insists that getting rid of the Act will not mean Britain is no longer subject to human rights legislation, just that it will be administered from Europe rather than the UK.

The Government has already agreed to set up a commission on a British Bill of Rights, which if implemented could replace the Human Rights Act.