By Holly Watt, Whitehall Editor
5:20PM BST 09 Oct 2012
The Attorney General today indicated that he may block any Conservative plan to leave the European Convention on Human Rights warning that Britain would become a “pariah state” comparable to Belarus.
Dominic Grieve intervened after Chris Grayling, the Justice Secretary, refused to rule out leaving the convention following a radical review of Britain’s human rights laws.
Mr Grayling told the Daily Telegraph yesterday that:
“the current human rights framework under which we are operating has gone badly wrong”
and said he “ruled nothing in and nothing out” in regards to leaving the ECHR.
However, Mr Grieve rejected withdrawal.
“The policy, as I understand it, is what I was talking about it, a continuing review of how the Human Rights Act and the ECHR function. There is no government policy on withdrawing from the Convention on Human Rights.”
Mr Grieve pointed out that if the UK left the ECHR it would become a “pariah state,” adding that the only European country not bound by the ECHR is Belarus, which has a poor human rights record.
“It would put us in a group of countries that would make very odd bedfellows,” said Mr Grieve, warning that such a move would “jeopardise” the UK’s international standing.
He added that Britain’s emphasis on the rule of law means that it is perceived around the world as the “pinnacle” in these issues and cautioned against abandoning this position.
Mr Grayling became Justice Secretary at the last reshuffle, raising eyebrows among the legal community, which expected someone with a legal background to be given the job.
Mr Grayling is also the Lord Chancellor, and is the first non-lawyer to hold the title in modern times.
In a speech to conference on Tuesday, Mr Grayling said he was giving home-owners further rights in defending their homes.
“I think householders acting instinctively and honestly in self defence are victims not criminals. They should be treated that way. That’s why we are going to deal with this issue once and for all,”
said Mr. Grayling.
Meanwhile as he was returning to his hotel on Monday evening, Mr Greive was confronted by four youths who demanded to know what he was doing in Birmingham.
Mr Grieve announced:
“I am the Attorney General of England and Wales!”
After which the four youths fled.