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The UK must not sleepwalk into leaving the ECHR


Talk of the UK leaving the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) keeps rearing its head with little thought for the real impact.

Withdrawal from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) has not been firmly ruled out as a potential UK government policy option to allow easier implementation of its controversial new measures to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda. This, in the context of a UK general election looming and tackling the ‘small boats problem’ being one of the five priorities of UK prime minister Rishi Sunak.

In recent months, ECHR withdrawal has come up in relation to the UK’s controversial draft Illegal Migration Bill, the (now shelved) bill of rights, and – perhaps most significantly – the Northern Ireland Protocol deal with implications for the Good Friday Agreement. But leaving the ECHR – and likely the Council of Europe – would be counterproductive for the UK’s global leadership.

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