The Attorney General has warned against Britain pulling out of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) after the Prime Minister hinted he might consider this in a TV interview.
Attorney General Dominic Grieve warned that Britain would have to face the "reputational consequences" of such a move, and that it could cause the entire system to collapse.
Mr Grieve told a fringe meeting at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester: "It's a cost-benefit analysis in terms of whether we think we will benefit from doing it and what the downsides are."
He said that a collapse of the treaty could mean that "countries which have accepted the jurisdiction of the court and which have poor human rights records but which have at least been subject to a lot of pressure will see that pressure removed."
Earlier, the Prime Minister told BBC1's Andrew Marr Show: "I'm less interested in which convention we are signed up to. As Prime Minister, I want to know can I keep our country safe."