Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

EU accession to the European Convention on Human Rights

Delivered in Plenary - 19th April 2012

Madam President

First of all, to Mr Howitt, I actually believed what he said in his initial draft report. If that is incorrect, his facts are wrong.

I have no inside knowledge of what my Prime Minister, or any other minister of the Conservative Party-led coalition, does in the Council.

To return to the subject, as we speak it is true that Ken Clarke our UK Justice Secretary, is indeed trying to convince 46 other ministerial colleagues in the Council of Europe to reform the intrusive powers of the European Court of Human Rights which, in my view, now seems far too often to champion the phoney human rights of the criminal or terrorist rather than protect the victims. This court is deeply unpopular and, in my view, brings the whole of the European Union into disrepute because, in the eyes of the Daily Mail readership, the European Court of Human Rights and the Council of Europe are one and the same thing.

I have no faith in the judges of the court, some of whom, as political appointees, have no judicial training. Presumably the Russian judge, who was politically appointed, takes his instructions from the Kremlin.

Of course my party defends fundamental civil and political rights for all of our citizens, but the accession of the EU to the Convention and to the Court of Human Rights will result in competing jurisdictions between the European Court of Justice and the Strasbourg Court of Human Rights, cause extra costs and give extra powers to unelected and unaccountable judges. So I, like most Conservative MEPs, support the view that we should be doing everything we can to prevent this happening.