Published: Wed, June 07, 2017
World News | By Penny Hart

Theresa May: Human rights laws could change for terror fight

Theresa May: Human rights laws could change for terror fight

Speaking in the wake of a terrorist attack in London that left seven dead, May said she would seek to introduce longer prison terms for those convicted of terrorist offenses and make it easier to "deport foreign terrorist suspects".

"If human rights laws stop us from doing that, then we will change those laws", she told LBC radio.

Senior Conservative sources indicated they were ready to opt out of the recent provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) if powers to stop suspects using mobile phones and computers or to impose curfews needed to be toughened up.

The prime minister's intervention came after days of tough questioning from politicians and the press about how cuts to police numbers she made as Home Secretary have made it more hard to protect Britain's streets and uproot radicalisation at community-level.

May explained other stringent measures would include easier deportation of foreign terror suspects to their own countries and restriction of the freedom and movements of terrorist suspects once there is enough evidence to know they pose a threat - but not enough to try them in court. "I will listen to what they think is necessary for us to do".

In an interview with the Sun newspaper, Mrs May said she would consider extending to 28 days the length of time police can hold people they suspect to be terrorists for questioning.

"A new approach may be needed through the expert knowledge of global lawyers to develop a solution by defining the word "risk" in the convention so that governments are given a duty to protect the population against the interests of the individual, and the balance of evidence for this is not the same weighting that is used now in the courts". It is separate from European Union law and was established by a number of countries, including Britain, following the end of World War 2. France used their derogation powers in response to the November Paris terrorist attacks that killed 130.

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'I can't really comment much about that because there is a live ongoing investigation, but one point I would make for all our viewers is it is very important that we look at this issue, when we look at policing, that we don't take the focus on responsibility away from the people who did it, from the terrorists'.

"What I don't want is executive orders, where politicians can make decisions outside the law and decide what will happen to an individual". "If our democracy is under threat, you strengthen that democracy to deal with that threat".

In her speech to supporters, Mrs May said she would change any laws that prevented the police and security services from dealing effectively with the extremist threat. Labour's Yvette Cooper tweeted that May "always resorts to the same human rights rhetoric when she needs to distract from reality of her security record".

However, Mr Farron said that while she was talking tough, her measures would simply lead to a reduction in freedom, not terrorism.

Former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg described the move as "very cynical" and "free from any evidence".

But in an interview on the BBC's Today programme this morning, Starmer, who was formerly director of public prosecutions, insisted the Human Rights Act had never been an obstacle to keeping the United Kingdom safe.

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