05/10/2021 10:33 BST | Updated 05/10/2021 11:44 BST

Dominic Raab Vows To Overhaul Human Rights Act To 'Restore Common Sense'

The justice secretary said it was "perverse" some criminals could use the act to trump the public interest.

Stefan Rousseau - PA Images via Getty Images
Dominic Raab speaking at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester.

Deputy prime minister Dominic Raab has vowed to “overhaul” the Human Rights Act to “restore common sense” to the justice system.

Raab, who was recently demoted to justice secretary, said “too often” dangerous criminals abuse human rights laws. 

He made the comments during his keynote speech at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester. 

Raab told the audience: “In one case, a drug dealer convicted of beating his ex-partner, a man who hadn’t paid maintenance for his daughter, then successfully claimed the right to family life to avoid deportation.

“It is absolutely perverse that someone guilty of domestic abuse could claim the right to family life to trump the public’s interest in deporting him from this country.

“We’ve got to bring this nonsense to an end. Under this prime minister and before the next election, we will overhaul the Human Rights Act to end this kind of abuse and restore some common sense to our justice system.”

It was also briefed out overnight that the cabinet minister will order criminals to clear rubbish from waterways in “chain gangs” as part of his crackdown. 

Those ordered to carry out unpaid work by a court will be required to clean hundreds of miles of towpaths under an agreement with the Canal and River Trust, according to reports.

Human rights group Liberty has previously hit out at the idea, saying it was “designed to create more stigma and division”.

Raab also confirmed he will double the number of prisoners on tags in a bid to cut reoffending rates.

Separately, thousands of criminals leaving prison will be made to wear devices that can monitor alcohol intake.

Raab added: “We also know that 39 per cent of violent crime is linked to alcohol.

“Now, game-changing innovation in sobriety tags can test whether someone has been drinking every 30 minutes.

“We piloted the scheme and because offenders know they’ll be caught if they breach an alcohol abstinence order 95 per cent comply.”

Labour’s shadow justice secretary David Lammy responded: “The new justice secretary chose to focus on vague threats to take away ordinary people’s rights.

“The only thing Dominic Raab has demonstrated today is that the Conservatives have no plans whatsoever to fix the crisis they’ve created in the criminal justice system.”