Lord Dubs has criticised Theresa May’s threat to rip up human rights laws in an attempt to combat terrorism.
The Labour peer said it was a “cynical last minute election move” which threatens the fundamental values of the country.
In an outspoken attack, the former Kindertransport refugee said he was “alarmed” by the Prime Minister’s intervention which came unexpectedly on Tuesday evening as she campaigned ahead of the general election.
Speaking in Golders Green, in support of Labour candidate Jeremy Newmark, today, Lord Dubs said: “We can’t give up our beliefs in human rights because of these terrible terrorist cases – we mustn’t do that.
“I was pretty alarmed by that. We are members of the European Convention on Human Rights and we have a Human Rights Act.
“For the Prime Minister in the very last minute of an election campaign to just throw this out - she didn’t quantify it any away. I think it is quite shocking and has enormous significance.
“It was a very cynical thing to be doing at the last minute. We say that human rights matter in this country. In the end human rights are fundamental to our beliefs and values.”
Lord Dubs echoed criticism from others – including former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg – that there was no evidence human rights legislation had allowed the Manchester and London attacks to take place – or prevented action against terrorists.
“The key issue seems to be that if there’s somebody we don’t like but against them we have no criminal charges – do we deport them to a country where they are liable to be tortured or killed? I don’t think we can do that.”
Lord Dubs said there are “things that can be done”, and backed a call by Labour’s former Hendon MP Andrew Dismore, who also attended the meeting, for the use of intercepted phone evidence in UK courts on terror related cases.
Mr Dismore, now a London Assembly member, said: “The big problem with Theresa May’s announcement is that it assumes you know who these people are in the first place.
“What we know of these people [the London Bridge terrorists] from what has come out since, is that they were very much under the radar.”
Lord Dubs had worked alongside Mr Dismore on a “human rights-compliant” counter-terrorism report nine years ago which had called for the use of intercept evidence as a means of detecting potential terrorists before they struck.
Addressing supporters in Slough last night, Mrs May said: “I mean doing more to restrict the freedom and movements of terrorist suspects when we have enough evidence to know they are a threat, but not enough evidence to prosecute them in full in court.
“And if our human rights laws get in the way of doing it, we will change the law so we can do it."