Eric Pickles is one of the few characters in contemporary British politics. In an interview with The Spectator this week, he chides Vince Cable for not deregulating enough, admits that he gets ‘occasionally irked’ by George Osborne’s impatience on policy, and reveals that ‘‘I was asked by a senior member of the government, two weeks after the National Planning Framework had come into being, why it hadn’t worked.’
But Pickles also gives us a glimpse of a coming Tory split. He says that it is ‘ridiculous’ that individuals can appeal their cases all the way to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. He wants to stop this, which would require Britain leaving the jurisdiction of the court. This is a position shared by a growing number of Conservative Cabinet Ministers.
The bar to this shift though is Dominic Grieve, the Attorney General. He is adamantly opposed to Britain leaving the jurisdiction of the court. Unless he is moved, Conservative policy on the European Council on Human Rights will end up being pretty much the same as the coalition’s policy on it.