25 August 2016
It seems the Tories have ignored warnings from the House of Lords’ EU Justice Committee that plans to scrap the Human Rights Act (HRA) are “unnecessary” and potentially dangerous.
While the media obsessed over whether or not Jeremy Corbyn walked past an empty seat on a train, Justice Secretary Liz Truss confirmed that the Conservative Party will scrap the Act, which allows British citizens to take breaches of their human rights to a British court rather than to Strasbourg.
The Act also legislates that public bodies must respect and protect human rights, as defined by the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), and that all new laws must be deemed compatible with the ECHR.
In May, the Justice Committee produced a report on its inquiry into the government’s Manifesto promise to replace the HRA with a British Bill of Rights, concluding that there was little justification for the policy and that it could pose a risk to the stability of the UK.
The Committee warned that devolved nations are against the plans and forcing upon them a British Bill of Rights without their consent could mean “unravelling the constitutional knitting for very little”.
It also noted that there seems to be no significant difference between the proposed Bill and the HRA, with the government backtracking on its former proposal of making it easier to deport foreign criminals. Instead, Liz Truss’ predecessor Michael Gove said the aim of the Bill was to reaffirm that human rights are “fundamental British rights” because they are seen by some as a “foreign intervention”.
Asked about the plans on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, Liz Truss said: “We are committed to that. That’s a Manifesto commitment … I’m looking very closely at the details but we have a manifesto commitment to deliver that.”