NEWS

Theresa May Vows To Tear Up Human Rights Laws To Tackle Islamist Terrorism

The Prime Minister says she will begin 'vital work' as soon as she wins the election

06/06/2017 11:59 PM IST | Updated 07/06/2017 1:46 AM IST

Theresa May is vowing to tear up human rights laws that stand in the way of her fight against terrorism.

In a speech this evening, the Prime Minister called for greater powers to restrict the movement of terror suspects - even if authorities are unable to convince a judge the measure is needed.

May also called for longer prison sentences for people convicted of terrorist offences and promised to make it easier to deport foreign terrorists back to their home countries.

It has been suggested the Tory leader may need to pull out of aspects of the European Convention on Human Rights to push through the changes.

BEN STANSALL via Getty Images

Speaking at a rally in Slough in her fifth campaigning visit of Tuesday, May said:

“In light of the changing and increasingly complex threat, we need to make sure that the police and security and intelligence agencies have the powers they need.

“I am not going to announce lots of new policies on the hoof a couple of days before the election, but I can tell you a few of the things I mean by that.

“We should have longer prison sentences for people convicted of terrorist offences.  

“We should make it easier for the authorities to deport foreign terror suspects to their own countries.  

“And we should do even more to restrict the freedom and the movements of terrorist suspects when we have enough evidence to know they present a threat, but not enough evidence to prosecute them in full in court. 

“If our human rights laws stop us from doing it, we will change the laws so we can do it.

“If I am elected as Prime Minister on Thursday, I can tell you that this vital work begins on Friday.”

Aspects of the new powers set out by May bear a resemblance to Labour’s Control Orders – which she abolished while Home Secretary in 2011.

Those orders required suspects to be at home for up to 16 hours a day – leading critics to compare it to virtual house arrest.

May replaced Control Orders with Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (TPims), which require suspects to stay overnight in an address for up to ten hours – but it might not necessarily be their home.

Suspects can also access the internet while at home, but only if they let authorities have the password they use to log on to a device.

As of November 2016, seven people were subjected to TPims – six of whom were British nationals.

May’s record as Home Secretary has come under increased scrutiny in recent days after two terrorist attacks in a matter of weeks.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn hit out at the reduction in funding to the police overseen by May during her six years in the Home Office.

Speaking on Sunday evening he said: “You cannot protect the public on the cheap.

“The police and security services must get the resources they need, not 20,000 police cuts.”

Conservative Home Office Minister Ben Wallace hit back by accusing Corbyn of trying to detract from his own record on counter-terrorism.

More On This Topic