Britain and the EU, Constitution, EU Integration
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Tories plan to scrap the Human Rights Act

The Conservatives plan to scrap the Human rights Act

After World War Two the European Convention of Human Rights was created to prohibit any breach of our basic human rights. This was a convention signed by European countries, so in order for it to be enforced you had to take the long road to Strasbourg for a decision to be made. The Human Rights Act was passed in 1998 so the UK could clarify and safeguard the rights of its people through bringing the ECHR on UK statute. Examples of these rights include the right to life and the right to a fair trial.

Theresa May vowed to scrap the Human Rights Act back in September should the Tories win the next general election. The Home Secretary also spoke of a new Immigration Bill that would allow an easier deportation if there was no risk of serious harm to the deportee. It is understood that this is a reaction to the extensive effort to deport hate preacher Abu Qatada. Considering the consequences, Theresa May confirmed the Conservative Party are also prepared to leave the European Convention of Human Rights if necessary. In 2011, David Cameron suggested the repeal of the Human Rights Act. Cameron proposed the UK should have its own British Bill of Rights similar to the United States that would result in an entrenched law in our seemingly uncodified constitution, however it seems those plans are now on the back burner. The Conservatives were never particularly in favour of the Act and it is probably the Liberal Democrats that have been their major obstacle in trying to remove it.

The Labour Party has completely supported the Human Rights Act since its inception in 1998. Labour MP Sadiq Khan has been very open in defending The Human Rights Act as well as criticising the “myths” (as he describes) surrounding it. The Liberal Democrats share the same view to Labour.  In March 2007, Lord Lester (Lib Dem peer) was quoted in the House of Lords that the act has “strong Lib Dem support”. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has also defended The Human Rights Act claiming it protects the vulnerable.

Should Labour or the Lib Dems (highly unlikely) gain a majority in 2015 then we can expect little or no change to the Human Rights Act. However, if the Conservatives win with a majority we could see a drastic change in the way our rights are defined in this country.

 

Harry Camci

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