Tuesday, 9 June 2015

The Human Rights Act

The abolition and replacement of the Human Rights Act (HRA) with a British Bill of Rights and Responsibilities has been a longstanding policy commitment of the Conservative Party, and was part of our manifesto on which we were elected on in May.

 Our planned British Bill of Rights and Responsibilities will completely change the way in which our human rights laws work.

 It will retain the principles of the original Human Rights Convention. But it will put clearly into our law limitations on where and how it can be applied. There will be a whole range of caveats. There will be a triviality test stopping human rights laws being used for minor matters. We will limit the reach of human rights claims to the UK, preventing cases being brought against our Armed Forces overseas, that just stops them doing their job and keeping us safe. There will also be a proper balance between rights and responsibilities.

Crucially, we will stop Article 8, the Right to Family Life, being used for purposes it was never intended. It should not be used by an individual to say that their right to family life allows them to override the law that applies to every other citizen, for example travellers occupying green belt land and claiming human rights trump planning laws. Or a similar situation with a foreign criminal and our immigration laws. Everyone must be subject to the same law of the land, no exceptions.

Labour passing the HRA in 1998 was a mistake, we had a long history of human rights long before the HRA was past. But critically it was under our control and not foreign judges. It is time we corrected that.