Article 8 rights to a family or private life in the ECHR is the main route used by asylum seekers fighting removal from the UK – and was deployed by many of the 130 migrants who successfully challenged their deportation to Rwanda on Tuesday’s flight.
Under plans being considered for a new British bill of rights to be published within weeks, illegal migrants could see their ability to use the right to family life to prevent deportation severely limited.
However, Mr Raab played down the prospects of the UK leaving the ECHR despite reported support for considering the move by Boris Johnson and Attorney General Suella Braverman. “Our plan is a bill of rights within the ECHR,” he said.
Sources told the Telegraph on Wednesday that the Prime Minister finds the arguments for leaving the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) “persuasive” and is seriously considering the move despite some Cabinet opposition.
Flights could be delayed by a year
It comes after the Telegraph revealed that ministers have been told that flights to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda could be delayed for a year by the European Court of Human Rights.
Senior lawyers and Government insiders fear that the court could use the rule 39 injunctions to delay the operation of the Government’s Rwanda policy aimed at deterring migrants from crossing the Channel.
A Government source said the three-week delay could be critical in allowing time for an appeal to be lodged with the European court if ministers won the judicial review.
“The Strasbourg court would be motivated to protect its process by a similar injunction preventing the flights until the case was resolved, which could take a year or more,” said the source.
The warning has been laid out by some of Britain’s leading constitutional lawyers including Richard Ekins, Oxford university’s professor of law and constitutional government, and ex-mandarin Sir Stephen Laws, former Parliamentary counsel who prepared Government legislation.
“If the Supreme Court, in the end, upholds the lawfulness of removal to Rwanda, it is of course entirely conceivable – indeed probable – that the [European court] will make further interim measures restricting removals to Rwanda until the [court] has itself had time to hold a hearing and to make its own decision,” they wrote in a paper for think tank Policy Exchange.
“What this means is that, if the UK complies and if the [European court] – as it routinely does – takes its time then the Government’s Rwanda policy may not go ahead for years. That would effectively end it.”