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Monday, May 18, 2015

Some practical questions about the Tories determination to repeal the Human Rights Act

Putting to one side the very strong moral and philosophical reasons why Britain needs to retain the Human Rights Act and stay signed up to the ECHR, today's Independent features more basic questions posed by former Tory Attorney General, Dominic Grieve.

Mr Grieve's main question is what exactly the Conservative Party is trying to achieve through its plan to replace the Human Rights Act with a new British Bill of Rights? He has urged a period of consultation ahead of a review before any changes are made and has warned that the reputational consequences for Britain would be “very considerable” if it were to abolish the Act:

The Tory MP also insisted there is no “quick fix” because the Act is “well embedded” in the constitutional settlements that underpin devolution, making it difficult to do anything against the wishes of the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish governments. He told Sky News’ Murnaghan show yesterday that the Supreme Court is “already supreme” and suggested the Government was promising something that already exists. “It’s not at all clear as to what we are trying to achieve,” he said.

He also pointed out that leaving the European Convention on Human Rights would not make it easier to remove people from the UK, because the problems in doing so are often down to other countries refusing to take them.

In many ways these practical issues are our best hope of keeping the Act in situ. Sometimes in Goverrnment, it is not enough to just have a majority. You have to work to a sensible and deliverable agenda as well.
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