Theresa May used her speech at the Conservative Party conference to criticise “activist, left-wing human rights lawyers” who “harangue and harass” solidiers.

In a segment of the speech praising the armed forces, the new Prime Minister alluded to the government’s announcement yesterday that the UK soldiers will not be bound by the European Convention on Human Rights in future international conflicts.

“Not only will we remain committed to spending two per cent of our national income on defence,” she said.

“But we will never again – in any future conflict – let those activist, left-wing human rights lawyers harangue and harass the bravest of the brave – the men and women of Britain’s Armed Forces.”

The comments received a round of applause from the Conference faithful.

However, top human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson QC has hit back against the comments. In an email to The Independent, he said: “Human Rights lawyers are not necessarily either activist or left wing and they do not harass the brave – they call for the prosecutions of those cowardly soldiers who kill their prisoners and torture or murder civilians.”

“These actions have been war crimes for centuries and Mrs May, quite disgracefully, wants to cover them up when they are committed – and it is a matter of record that they are occasionally committed – by British forces.”

The Conservative government has committed to scrapping the Human Rights Act, despite the fact that there is little public appetite to do so.

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