Sunak Signals Ditching European Convention Of Human Rights If Rwanda Flights Blocked

Rishi Sunak told The Sun illegal migration offends a British
Rishi Sunak told The Sun illegal migration offends a British "notion of fairness".via Associated Press

Rishi Sunak has given his strongest signal yet that he is willing to remove the UK from the European Convention on Human Rights amid the stalemate over his Rwanda deportation plan.

The PM told The Sun’s Never Mind The Ballots programme that controlling immigration is more important than “membership of a foreign court”.

Critics have said the UK would be an international outlier along with Russia and Belarus if it left the convention, which is overseen by a court sitting in Strasbourg. The court’s president suggested in January the plan would breach international law.

Sunak, who said illegal migration offends a British “notion of fairness”, told the newspaper: “I believe that all plans are compliant with all of our international obligations including the ECHR, but I do believe that border security and making sure that we can control illegal migration is more important than membership of a foreign court because it’s fundamental to our sovereignty as a country.”

The comments are likely please the right-wing of the Tory party, but may alarm moderates in his cabinet.

Britain and Rwanda signed a deal almost two years ago that would see migrants who cross the English Channel in small boats sent to the East African country, where they would remain permanently. So far, no migrant has been sent to Rwanda under the agreement.

The plan is key to Sunak’s pledge to “stop the boats” bringing unauthorised migrants to the UK. He argues that deporting asylum seekers will deter people from making risky journeys and break the business model of people-smuggling gangs.

Legislation to help get flights off the ground is currently stuck in a game of parliamentary “ping-pong” as the House of Lords votes against the plan.