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Tories threaten human rights

June 28, 2022 8:12 AM
By Bryan Lewis

The Government's proposed Bill of Right wants to redefine our human rights and make their interpretation subordinate to political expediency.

Currently we have the 1998 Human Rights Act which incorporated the 1953 European convention on human rights into UK law.

International human rights law was designed to put constraints on the most authoritarian governments. It does this in part by more liberal countries accepting restrictions on their actions and setting a platform of minimum acceptable standards. The 1953 British drafters of the European convention on human rights understood this.

The bill would give politicians a greater say in the way that courts interpret human rights law and amounts to a curtailment of rights. Many Conservative MPs would go further still and reject the European convention on human rights altogether.

Tories are angry that the ECHR irritation was used to stop deportation flights to Rwanda. The claimants in that case were not criminals but asylum seekers. The new bill will assert the capacity of UK courts to disregard such rulings in the future.

The purpose is to make a Brexit point about national sovereignty and Europe and denounce an institution that isn't even part of the EU. The dilution of fundamental rights and their subordination to ministerial opinion is also a retrograde step for democracy.

The new bill is not only a dilution of the ECHR protections for the UK but it will be our shame if we allow Boris Johnson and his gang to set light to bonfires of rights across Europe and beyond.