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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Another victory for the Lib Dems in UK Government

This morning's Guardian reports that Conservative hopes of pulling out of the European convention on human rights in response to its perceived interference in issues such as UK prisoners' votes, have been dashed by Liberal Democrat objections.

They say that Nick Clegg has won a battle to prevent the inclusion of total withdrawal from the convention in the terms of reference of an expected seven-strong commission of inquiry in UK human rights law:

The decision will infuriate Tory rightwingers angered at the way in which they believe the Strasbourg judges have interfered with UK rights. Some Tory backbenchers have argued that withdrawal is not as complex as some human rights lawyers claim.

The commission, due to be announced shortly, will discuss reform of the court's procedures, and the possibility of a British bill of rights acting as a supplement, but not as a replacement for the European convention. It would also look at a bill's relationship with the Human Rights Act that incorporates the European convention into British law.

It has also been agreed that the commission will also report to Kenneth Clarke, the justice secretary, and to Clegg, who is the man charged with responsibility for constitutional affairs.

The paper says that Nick Clegg won his battle largely because the coalition agreement, negotiated in haste in the immediate aftermath of the general election, makes it clear that the coalition should not seek to withdraw from the convention. It states: "We will establish a commission to investigate the creation of a British Bill of Rights that incorporates and builds on all our obligations under the European convention on human rights, ensures that these rights continue to be enshrined in British law, and protects and extends British liberties."

This will be a relief to a number of Liberal Democrat Ministers who queued up at the party's one day conference in Birmingham called to ratify the coalition, to make it clear that they would resign rather than support withdrawal from the convention.

Of course this is a promise mde by Cameron that has been broken because of the need to compromise and because he does not have a majority in his own right. Will he now get the same treatment from the Tory press afforded to Nick Clegg? I doubt it.
A Cameron broken promise attacked by the press? Dream on. They'll go all out for Clegg again on the basis that we've once again had to kow tow to Europe. I'm surprised the Daily Express hasn't blamed the Japanese earthquake on the EU.
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