Tories threaten to scrap Human Rights Act and replace it with 'British Bill of Rights'

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling threatens to scrap the Human Rights Act. Credit: PA

A Conservative government would deliver an ultimatum to European judges that Britain must be allowed to flout their human rights rulings - or it would quit the system.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said the "mission creep" by the Strasbourg courts had become intolerable and it would have to accept becoming an "advisory" body.

Mr Grayling fleshed out the Conservative position after David Cameron told the party's conference that he would no longer put up with meddling on issues such as whether prisoners should be able to vote.

Under the proposals, the Human Rights Act introduced by Labour in 1998 to enshrine the European Convention on Human Rights in domestic law would be scrapped.

Instead there would be a Bill of Rights, which would include the principles from the convention - originally drawn up by British lawyers after the Second World War.

But it would also make clear that UK judges were not obliged to take European Court of Human Rights' rulings into account when coming to decisions.

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Credit: DPA

The legislation would declare that the British Supreme Court was the "ultimate arbiter" on whether rights were being respected.

It would also state that human rights laws could not be used in "trivial" cases, and remove barriers to deporting people who posed a threat to national security, according to Mr Grayling.

Mr Grayling said if it came to it the UK would stay within international law by withdrawing from the convention "in parallel with the introduction of the new Bill".

He dismissed concerns - shared by some Tories including former attorney general Dominic Grieve - that leaving the convention would be highly damaging to the UK's reputation.

He said he "did not buy" the idea that Britain would put itself in line with Belarus if it left the convention.

"We are and we will continue to be world leaders in the way we manage human rights and the way we deal with human rights," he added.

Sadiq Khan said scrapping the Human Rights Act would put Britain on a par with the dictatorship in Belarus. Credit: Empics

Shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan said there were "so many contradictions, inaccuracies and myths" in the proposal, it could only have been "cobbled together on the back of an envelope".

The Labour MP went on:

Shami Chakrabarti, director of campaign group Liberty, said:

Sean Humber, head of the human rights team at law firm Leigh Day, said:

Tim Hancock, campaigns director of Amnesty UK, said: