Nick Clegg: Tories are ‘lining up with Putin’ over European Court power curb

PinkNews logo on a pink background surrounded by illustrated line drawings of a rainbow, pride flag, unicorn and more.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has launched an attack on Conservative plans to limit the power of the European Court of Human Rights.

The Liberal Democrat leader accused David Cameron of lining up “with Vladimir Putin and other tyrants around the world by tearing up our long tradition of human rights”.

Under the Conservative proposals, the UK Parliament will decide what constitutes a breach of human rights.

But Labour and the Liberal Democrats say the move puts Britain’s reputation at risk.

It’s understood former Attorney General Dominic Grieve warned against the idea – ahead of his sacking in this week’s reshuffle.

Shadow Justice Secretary Sadiq Khan has called on the government to publish Mr Grieve’s advice.

Nick Clegg told LBC: “I think the head bangers have now won. They are now saying, in effect, that the Conservative Party are turning their back on a long British tradition of upholding human rights across the world.

“What on earth are we going to say to the dictators in Belarus, to Vladimir Putin, if we do as the Conservatives now appear to recommend, which is to basically say we are going to stamp our little feet and not abide by binding, international human rights practices and conventions?”

In recent years, Conservative critics have accused the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) of overreaching its jurisdiction, particularly when it comes to the deportation of foreign criminals such as radical cleric Abu Qatada.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling told BBC Radio 4’s The World at One: “We will produce our full package in due course but ahead of the election and in time for our election manifesto.

“We will curtail the role of the European Convention on Human Rights in the UK. We will replace Labour’s Human Rights Act (enshrining the convention in British law).

“We will have a balance of rights and responsibilities in our law, which I think is very important, and we will have a Supreme Court that is supreme. That gives a very clear sense of direction, of the big change which is what I think we need.”

The ECtHR has played a key role in underpinning Britain’s equality laws.

Successive governments have complied with its rulings on a whole host of landmark LGBT cases.

Rulings include: overturning the ban on same-sex acts in Northern Ireland; abolishing the ban on gay people serving in the military; ensuring protection against homophobic and transphobic discrimination in the work place, and pension rights for trans people.

Juris Lavrikovs, from LGBT campaign group ILGA-Europe, defended the court’s role in an article for PinkNews last month.

Yesterday, the ECtHR disappointed trans campaigners by ruling that married trans people living in countries without same-sex marriage must divorce if they want their new gender recognised.