ANY plans by the UK Government to ignore orders from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) which would stop the illegal removal of migrants from the country would “undermine” the rule of law, senior legal figures have warned.

Backbench Tory MPs have reportedly been successful in lobbying the government to amend the Illegal Migration Bill in order to allow ministers to ignore European judges in certain situations.

The bill, which is yet to be subject a final vote in the House of Commons, would deem any asylum claim from a person arriving into the UK on a small boat crossing or the back of a lorry as “inadmissible”.

They would then be detained in the UK for 28 days before being deported back to their own country or a “safe third country” such as Rwanda, as well as blocked from returning legally.

Last month, more than 70 Scottish politicians signed an open letter rejecting the “inhumane and cruel” bill, which they say will inflict “pain and misery” on people fleeing conflict and persecution.

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However, an amendment is expected to be voted on during the bill’s third reading in the House of Commons which would allow Home Secretary Suella Braverman to ignore interim injunctions from the ECHR – known as Rule 39 orders – that would deportation flights.

It comes after the court used such an order to prevent a flight containing seven migrants from taking off from the UK to Rwanda last year.

Costing an estimated £500,000, which had already been paid by the government, a dramatic 11th hour ruling by the ECHR left the Tories embarrassed and scrambling for ways to prevent a repeat.

The cabal of backbench Tory MPs have also agreed with ministers that British judges will only be permitted to block deportations if there is a risk of serious and irreversible harm.

But Lord Thomas, a cross-bench peer who headed the judiciary between 2013 and 2017, warned that such proposals could face defeat in the Lords, and said that any such move would set “an extraordinarily bad example”.

“I think it is a very serious step for the Government to be contemplating putting into force,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

Defending the principle of the European Court of Human Rights, he said the fact of interim decisions in some cases “does not in any way detract from the importance of a judgment being made by a court”.

“Many people would say having the power to ignore a court order is something – unless the circumstances were quite extraordinary – this is a step a government should never take because it is symbolic of a breach of the rule of law.”

The Government is expected to publish the amendments on Thursday ahead of debates and votes next week.

Richard Atkinson, the deputy vice-president of the Law Society of England and Wales, said he was concerned that the UK was heading towards a “clear and serious breach of international law”.

“The rule of law means governments respect and follow domestic and international law and disputes are ruled on by independent courts.

“This amendment would undermine the global rules-based order, set a dangerous precedent within the international community and damage the UK’s standing in the world.”

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Steve Valdez-Symonds, Amnesty International UK’s refugee and migrant rights director, called on any such plan to be “abandoned immediately”.

“Rather than pandering to extremists in his party who would walk away from our international legal commitments, the Prime Minister should insist that his Government focuses on establishing a fair and efficient system for processing the asylum claims and taking this country’s share of responsibility in the world.”

Critics of the bill have previously warned that the proposed legislation leaves the UK vulnerable to falling foul of its international obligations.

But right-wing Tory MPs have signalled it does not go far enough, with some calling for ministers to take the UK out of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) to drive through tighter border controls.