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Yesterday, Theresa May announced that the Conservatives would pledge to scrap the Human Rights Act (HRA) in their next election manifesto. This has popular support mainly because of one high-profile recent case, in which the deportation of Abu Qatada, a suspected terrorist, was delayed due to concerns about the use of torture in Jordan. This caused huge embarrassment for May (already red-faced after the cat debacle of 2011). But scrapping the HRA could be a disastrous response.

The HRA is the vehicle through which the European Convention on Human Rights is incorporated into British law. Opposition to it is grounded in…

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