With Brexit signalling the beginning of the end of European integration, the Human Rights Act (EHRA) must go as part of that process.
The new Lord Chancellor, Liz Truss, despite being an arch Europhile and Remain supporter during this year’s EU Referendum, has made clear she will continue with Gove’s plan to scrap the HRA. As Truss told Radio 4’s Today Programme:
“We are committed to that. It is a manifesto pledge. We are looking very closely at the details but we have a manifesto pledge to deliver that.”
Not only is the new Justice Secretary committed to removing this piece of controversial legislation, but she has the support of the Prime Minister, too, who has been a long-standing opponent of New Labour’s constitutional reform.
As long as EU laws have been approved by our own legislature, they do not have to be eliminated from the British statute books immediately. For example, the Government is in no hurry to scrap the Social Chapter despite the fact British law is much more generous towards workers than the former. Under our rules, workers are entitled to 28 days annual leave whilst the Social Chapter only guarantees workers 23 days annual leave.
However, the HRA is an example of an Act that the last Labour government introduced that has to be replaced with a British Bill of Rights sooner, rather than later. What was the point of Blair pushing through plans for a Supreme Court in 2005 if they cannot have the final say over what happens to our criminals?
Many on the left are screaming that removing human rights legislation signifies that the Tories are committed to destroying people’s lives. Again, they are too busy playing the victim card instead of studying the facts.
Amnesty International produced an article in 2013 spelling out the positives of the Human Rights Act. It was a very convincing piece and helped outline the benefits of this legislation. But it misunderstood what the then coalition government was trying to achieve; decentralising power to the Supreme Court and making it easier to deport foreign criminals who are a clear and present danger to this country.
Britain has been a signatory of the European Human Rights Convention since 1950. The Convention was the brainchild of Winston Churchill, a Conservative Prime Minister, don’t forget, to guarantee that events like the Holocaust do not repeat themselves and that people’s rights are protected in the future.
The proposed substitute for human rights in this country will still ensure that people have the right to take their cases to the European Court of Human Rights if they are dissatisfied with the outcome of a verdict made by the highest court in our land. Britain will remain a signatory of the Convention, despite what opponents say. No party can afford to be against human rights in this day and age, not even those “nasty Tories.”
Also, it is not far from the truth to argue that the European Court favours the rights of criminals over their victims. When May finally succeeded in deporting Abu Qatada in 2013 at the cost of £1.7 million in legal fees each for both sides during a twelve year battle, it signified how difficult life is for British lawmakers thanks to this foreign judiciary. If power was vested in our own courts to deport scum like Qatada, it would make life so much easier to deport terrorists.
Other abuses of human rights legislation include the case of Rocky Gurung, a foreign criminal who was convicted of manslaughter in this country. Mr. Justice Blake, President of the Upper Tribunal of Immigration and Asylum Chamber, stated that Gurung had a “right to a family life” in the UK, which meant that he could not be deported. For too long, judges have used human rights as an excuse to vent their own convictions as to what is “right” rather than exercise legislation properly to ensure justice is delivered for victims’ families. The Appeal Court ruled that Blake had misinterpreted human rights legislation.
This is why this piece of restrictive legislation has to go. A British version of human rights will allow the Supreme Court to have the final say over deporting criminals and end all these cases whereby both judges and criminals have abused the HRA. It is a sad day for Britain when the country that invented Magna Carta seems incapable of producing legislation for human rights.