Grieve had “long been a supporter” of the Human Rights Act

A would-be Conservative government plans to repeal the Human Rights Act and replace it with a British Bill of Rights which will "enable the UK to rebalance laws in favour of public protection." But the Conservatives are confused. Dominic Grieve previously said, “As is probably well known to my colleagues and possibly to other hon. Members, I have long been a supporter of the incorporation of a human rights bill into our law."

Alice Sachrajda is a researcher on Citizens, Society and Economy at ippr

The Conservative Party has announced plans to end the automatic privacy of criminals by giving police the power to disclose offenders’ identities  to protect the public and prevent crime. Shadow Justice Secretary Dominic Grieve said the rights of criminals were being “put before” those of communities.

The party blames “legal uncertainty,” but it is for the Courts to decide what is certain in these circumstances: a job for judges, not politicians. The Human Rights Act provides a framework within which to balance the rights of all in society. Grieve’s previous acknowledgement of this shows the Conservatives are confused:

“As is probably well known to my colleagues and possibly to other hon. Members, I have long been a supporter of the incorporation of a human rights bill into our law … I would be denying my own conscience and feelings in the matter if I did not say that I believe that incorporation is a sensible step forward.” (House of Commons Hansard, Columns 832-833, 16 February 199)

A would-be Conservative government plans to repeal the Human Rights Act and replace it with a British Bill of Rights which will “enable the UK to rebalance laws in favour of public protection.”

Political differences aside, equal rights and respect for all people in society, as set out in the Human Rights Act, are something that all parties should sign up to. These are common values that we all share. Supposedly ‘rebalancing’ in favour of ‘public protection’ will not make our society more equal, nor more safe. As Shami Chakrabarti has pointed out, Crimewatch is legal, and Dominic Grieve and Chris Grayling know it. As journalist Peter Oborne has found, it might surprise some people actually to read the Human Rights Act and realise that its values appeal and apply to us all:

“Like many Conservatives I was sceptical of the Human Rights Act – until I read it and started to think about it. It soon became clear that it was a near perfect expression of Tory values.”

2 Responses to “Grieve had “long been a supporter” of the Human Rights Act”

  1. Robert

    I’m afraid that Grieve’s previous comments don’t show any “confusion”, simply that he has changed his mind, or rather concluded that incorporation did not have the effect he expected.

    As long ago as 2004 Dominic Grieve said

    ‘When the Human Rights Act was debated on the floor of the House of Commons, I spoke as a broad supporter of the principle of incorporation…
    ‘I am [however] much less happy with the operation of the Act than I had hoped to be at the time it was implemented. While supporting adherence to the Convention, we may wish to consider carefully whether it might not be better to make the effort to create our own home-grown legislation which, by identifying and stating the key rights and duties of citizenship which underpin our society, could command greater public enthusiasm and respect.’

  2. Andrew

    Robert A UK version I suspect would look pretty similar to the European version, this is the worst kind of posture politics and Grieve should know better.

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