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Saturday, January 19, 2019

Theresa May to take away our human rights after Brexit

The Independent reports that Theresa May will consider axing the Human Rights Act after Brexit, despite promising she is “committed” to its protections. They say that the Lords EU Justice Sub-Committee wrote to the Ministry of Justice after the alarm was raised by the wording of the political declaration, which was agreed with the EU in December alongside the legally binding divorce deal:

The declaration said the UK would merely agree “to respect the framework of the European Convention on Human Rights” – dropping the previous pledge of being “committed” to it.

In response, Edward Argar, a junior justice minister, wrote: “The difference in wording does not represent a change in the UK’s position on the ECHR.

“A central tenet of our future relationship with the EU is our mutual belief in the importance of human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

But he then suggested that the Human Rights Act could be scrapped when Brexit is concluded. “Our manifesto committed to not repealing or replacing the Human Rights Act while the process of EU exit is underway,” he wrote.

“It is right that we wait until the process of leaving the EU concludes before considering the matter further in the full knowledge of the new constitutional landscape.

As the Independent says, before the act was passed in 1998, anyone who believed their human rights had been breached could not pursue a ruling in a domestic court – and had to go to Strasbourg:

Pushed through by Tony Blair’s government, it is hailed by many as among his finest achievements, but is a bête noire for many Conservatives for giving too many rights to criminals and even for undermining personal responsibility.

The threat to undo it comes despite the Brexit white paper insisting, last summer, that the UK would remain in the ECHR, after the EU warned that pulling out would jeopardise a future security deal.

The peers said it would imperil human rights if the government “intend to break the formal link” between the UK courts and the EHCR.

At least with the Human Rights Act these matters are decided in UK courts. What part of further empowering the ECHR is 'taking back control'?
May has a long record of opposing human rights protection, going further than repeal of the HRA in calling for the UK to renege on the ECHR. For instance, there is this:
and one can easily find more.
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