If we really want to ‘stop the boats’, we need to leave the European Court, blasts Jacob Rees-Mogg

If we really want to ‘stop the boats’, we need to leave the European Court, blasts Jacob Rees-Mogg
GB News
Georgia Pearce

By Georgia Pearce

Published: 13/12/2023

- 08:32

Updated: 13/12/2023

- 08:46

Jacob Rees-Mogg shares his thoughts on the Government's Rwanda policy, after it won by a majority of 44 in the House of Commons

So the Government won with a majority of 44, a comfortable majority in the circumstances, with a degree of abstention, but nothing like enough to stop the law going through.

And this is important because the second reading stage is a stage where you would usually only oppose a bill if you thought it was wrong in principle and irredeemable in terms of amendment to make it work. So it's a good result for the Prime Minister. He must be pleased.

But it also could be a step forward in dealing with the small boats problem. Except this is the weakness of the bill is that there could be individual challenges under human rights law which could ultimately go to Strasbourg to be decided by a court that has constantly pushed its own authority.

It believes in the doctrine of the Convention on Human Rights being a living document, which gives it the right to decide how much further it should go, how it should keep up to date with modern times, rather than there being any parliament who votes on it.

Jacob Rees-Mogg

Jacob Rees-Mogg says our rights do not come from international law

GB News

And this is one of the interesting things about international law. You hear a lot of talk about it. People say you can't do this. You can't do that in international law, but you have to ask who judges international law. We know about the European Court and the European Convention, but that only has any authority because we have signed up to it and there is a process for leaving.

Other international law can only be judged between states when the states agree to go to international law. There isn't a judiciary, as there is in a domestic sense, to whom you or I can take cases against our own government, against other governments. But perhaps crucially, there's no legislature to decide what international law will be. It is developed and it has evolved, and it is stated authoritatively by lawyers to be in one thing or another.

But our law can be settled by judges, by the Supreme Court and by Parliament. It is fundamentally different and our rights do not come from international law or from European law and they're lost in the midst of time. I've banged on about this before, but it is important.

In 1215 when King John agreed the Magna Carta, he was saying that he was reconfirming the rights granted by Edward the Confessor. Now whether Edward Confessor ever granted these rights is a moot point and historians argue over it. But their belief was that rights in 1215, such as no man shall be denied justice where already ancient rights as early as the 13th Century in our history. So then you wind forward and you come to where we are today.

And Lord Sumption, one of the most distinguished judges in our recent history, has pointed out we're more than capable of setting up our own updated Bill of Rights in our own domestic legislation. Our first Bill of Rights, 1688, 89, is really the rights of Parliament on your behalf rather than your rights.

On the other hand, we could perfectly well have an updated Bill of Rights if there were a democratic mandate for it. And that's the point. What is the greatest protector of your rights? Is it your vote or is it some arbitrary bureaucracy?

And that's the key to the ECHR, because there's nothing democratic about it, that the living instrument doctrine that I've already mentioned is something that they have developed without any authority from Parliament or from the member states.

It wasn't envisaged, as Lord Sumption himself said, in the original treaty. It makes new rights as it pleases, and I don't think we can take proper charge of illegal migration until we have decided to do it for ourselves, accountable to an electorate.

And what can an electorate do? It can remove governments it doesn't like. Now let's look at what Robert Jenrick said earlier today.

Robert's absolutely right. We need to make it work for ourselves. We need to make it work for our own democracy. The nation state is where power lies and where it ought to lie.

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