The UK can sort out its own human rights

 

Today we hear the detail of what a Conservative government would do to put UK voters and their Parliament back in charge of human rights, welfare, criminal justice  and borders policy.  If elected a majority Conservative government will

 

Repeal the 1998  Human Rights Act

Restore the primacy of the UK’s own Supreme court in cases of human rights

End the ability of the ECHR to change British laws. Their judgements would in future be advisory.

Define in UK law where human rights apply, and restrict its application by reducing its reach into  trivial cases

Ensure that those who pose a threat to our country or have entered illegally cannot rely on Human Rights claims  to avoid deportation.

 

The new law would prevent people from using the right to a family life as a reason why they should for example be allowed to break our planning laws . It would stop non UK citizens  who had committed serious offences here from using the right to a family life as a reason to stay.

None of this means we are against human rights. Upholding liberties and ensuring  high standards of fairness and legal process is part of a democratic and free society. The ultimate arbiter of this should be Parliament acting on behalf of the UK people. We do not want unaccountable and unelected judges telling us what laws we need to follow or revising laws we have chosen. That should always be a matter for Parliament, with MPs deciding. This leaves the power where it belongs, in the hands of British people, who can vote to change their Parliament and therefore their laws.

Chris Grayling, the Lord Chancellor, has done a great job in developing these proposals and piloting them through the Conservative Manifesto process. He has been encouraged by a group of concerned Conservative MPs who have highlighted the way European human rights law has made it more difficult to control our borders and our extradition system.

 

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149 Comments

  1. Mark W
    Posted October 3, 2014 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    Is there any reason why the English Bill of Rights 1689, isn’t just dusted off and named British. It’s prime function of limiting government and power seems fine. The USA seems fine with its almost carbon copy of it.

    • Hope
      Posted October 3, 2014 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      Have we not heard this guff before? If there is any substance to this claim why did Cameron opt back into the EU arrest warrant, why allow the EU other competencies over the UK government. I thought the Tory party wanted to govern the country not pass all the important parts to the EU. Why did Cameron give £18 to promote closer union with the EU especially after he pledged not to do so? Sounds like a lot of clap trap to me or anothe PR stunt.

      • Atlas
        Posted October 3, 2014 at 9:51 am | Permalink

        Exactly Hope. We’ve heard this all before from Cameron. The EAW really shows where his sympathies lie.

      • forthurst
        Posted October 3, 2014 at 10:34 am | Permalink

        “why did Cameron opt back into the EU arrest warrant”

        Presumably for the same reason he has not proposed recinding the extradition treaty with the USA: he does not accept the primacy of the English common law and habeas corpus. Under the more primitive legislatures in the other EU states, habeas corpus is unknown, and the US which had adopted it as with much of the rest of the English common law, has decided to set it aside under the Patriot Act, in which just about anybody, except the actual perpetrators of 9/11, obviously, can deemed a terrorist.

      • Barbara1
        Posted October 4, 2014 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

        Google ‘Coffee House Reckless’ for an article where Mark Reckless relates two of the incidents which made him lose faith in Cameron. One such incident was when Reckless and Douglas Carswell asked the PM why he was opting back into EU justice measures while telling the country the opposite: Cameron then launched into a passionate defence of the EAW, even though he had previously said he was totally opposed to it.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 3, 2014 at 9:00 am | Permalink

      Well, it’s here with modern English spelling:

      http://avalon.law.yale.edu/17th_century/england.asp

      so people can read it and judge for themselves.

      Most of it is still on the statute book:

      http://www.legislation.gov.uk/aep/WillandMarSess2/1/2/contents

      and it’s still the legal foundation of our parliamentary democracy.

      However the concept of a legally crystallised body of universal “human rights” was not really around at that time and it is about a much older concept which we might call “civil rights”, the ancient “Rights and Liberties of the Subject” referred to in its title, which is now seen by members of the transnational elites as being an old-fashioned and undesirably nationalistic concept idea which should be suppressed. In their view, the very idea that a British citizen should have more rights in Britain that somebody who is not a British citizen is objectionable.

      • Hope
        Posted October 3, 2014 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

        How do the majority of countries in the world manage without ECHR? Canada, Australia perfectly sound justice systems based on the UK. The ECHR has morphed into something different from what was originally intended. Scrap Labour’s HRA it helps no one other than rich lawyers get fatter. A bit like the elf and safety boom.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted October 4, 2014 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

          They subscribe to the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

          http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/

          As indeed do all the states which have acceded to the European Convention:

          http://www.echr.coe.int/documents/convention_eng.pdf

          “The Governments signatory hereto, being members of the Council
          of Europe,

          Considering the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
          proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations on
          10th December 1948;

          Considering that this Declaration aims at securing the universal
          and effective recognition and observance of the Rights therein
          declared; …

          … Have agreed as follows:”

          But while the UN Charter set up the International Court of Justice, and under Article 94(1):

          “Each Member of the United Nations undertakes to comply with the decision of the International Court of Justice in any case to which it is a party.”

          no state is obliged to accept its jurisdiction by becoming a party in the first place, while in contrast under the European Convention a state may be dragged in front of the Strasbourg court against its will not only by another member state (Article 33) but by “any person, nongovernmental organisation or group of individuals claiming to be the victim of a violation” (Article 34).

          Interestingly, looking at the original 1950 Convention:

          http://www.echr.coe.int/Documents/Collection_Convention_1950_ENG.pdf

          I find that the Strasbourg court was then being treated in a similar way to the International Court of Justice, insofar as a state could refuse to allow a dispute to be submitted to the court but accepted that if it was then any judgement would be binding.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted October 4, 2014 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

          Further to the above, I find that the relevant changes to the text of the original 1950 Convention were made by later Protocols agreed under both Labour and Conservative governments.

      • Vanessa
        Posted October 4, 2014 at 11:21 am | Permalink

        None of our Constitutional Documents are on the Statute books. As I believe it to be they are NOT able to be repealed, changed or deleted by politicians.

        They are part of our Common Law which is not in the control of the government.

        They hate our Common Law as it stops them (and the EU) from implementing their own directives, or rather, gets in the way of their laws. I seem to remember reading that Britain was one of the first signatories of the Human Rights Act and we signed in 1951 and it begs the question: did the politicians then, know of the existence of the English Bill of Rights?

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted October 4, 2014 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

          The 1688 Bill of Rights is on the statute book, as linked above; the 1707 Acts of Union are on the statute book; so is the 1998 Scotland Act; and the 1998 Human Rights Act is on the statute book … there are even fragments of Magna Carta still on the statute book:

          http://www.legislation.gov.uk/aep/Edw1cc1929/25/9/contents

    • Mr Frost
      Posted October 3, 2014 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      Spot on – especially after Clegg’s disgraceful comment saying that it was ‘some outdated irrelevant piece of paper’ (or words to that effect).

      The EC version fits those countries for whom such protections were not already part of their birthright. – i.e. all of them.

  2. Richard1
    Posted October 3, 2014 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    The Conservatives should stick to their guns on this. The broad left under the guise of ‘civil liberties’ are on the attack. Of course such leftist civil libertarians are also those who have ended centuries of tradition of free speech in the UK. I saw a clip of Dominic Raab MP doing well to keep his cool when subject to a BBC enabled rant by the ubiquitous Shami Chakrabati (does a day go by when this person is not given a BBC platform?). This should be a vote winner, we can be perfectly compliant with the European Convention on Human Rights without allowing a position as now where laws are simply handed to us by foreign judges on all manner of trivia.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 3, 2014 at 7:21 am | Permalink

      Certainly you are right on Shami Chakrabati she is endlessly on the BBC even more than Ken Clark, John Major, Billy Bragg, Polly Toynbee, Jeanette Winterson, Mathew Parris and all the other lefty BBC “thinkers”.

      Also (perhaps because she is a smallish woman and the fact the BBC interviewer almost certainly is on her side) she usually gets away with putting her point largely uninterrupted. Then she talks right the way through the person putting the opposite view.

      I am in favour of Liberty and Freedoms, but totally against the ECHR which seems to me to be against real Liberty and Freedom. More of a job creation scheme for pointless lawyers.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted October 3, 2014 at 11:46 am | Permalink

        Dominique Grieve making helpful remarks for the 50%+ of the pro ECHR/EU Tory wing I see on this issue.

        • Kenneth R Moore
          Posted October 3, 2014 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

          Indeed, all this has to be taken with large pinch of salt as the majority of Mr Redwood’s colleagues are Europhiles and love most things about the Eu.
          Look how many have a voting record of MINUS 70%.
          This is the nonsense of the ‘big tent Conservatism’ that has destroyed the Con party.

          http://www.brugesgroup.com/mpwatch/index.live

          Would Mr Fabricant, Boles, Carmichael and the other usual suspects through their spanner in the works.

          • Kenneth R Moore
            Posted October 3, 2014 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

            I mean throw not through sorry.

      • Richard1
        Posted October 3, 2014 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

        You are right, Ms Chakrabati is almost always given a clear an uninterrupted platform and then proceeds to talk through or attempt to shout down opponents. The BBC interviewer does not typically chair this effectively. ive noticed the same with certain others. It is very irritating to watch. I think it is a breach of the civil liberties of people on the centre right.

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted October 3, 2014 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    It is a halfway botch for political reasons, as is usual from the current EUphile (but pretending not to be) Cameron Tory party.

    Just withdraw from the ECHR and let our courts decided and save all the huge expenses, costs, translations and travel. Our judges are just as competent (indeed more competent it seems) to decide these matters and more in touch with local conditions and sensitivities.

    Why on earth should the judgements of the ECHR be advisory at all? Our Judges can of course have a look at the judgments and pinch any of their rather few good ideas should they wish to.

    To make them formally advisory is nearly as bad as the current arrangement, indeed it is virtually the same. Personally though (unlike Cameron) I have no problem with prisoners having a vote it might help in their rehabilitation and it would be good for MPs to see what prisons are like (as visitors I mean) rather than as inmates which is now quite common. Cameron is picking on this trivial issue for PR reasons as usual, it is his usual PR over substance, spin over a sensible direction.

    I have not heard any correction of the three recent blatant government lies:
    1. that the Coalition are paying down government debt,
    2. the no tax for 30 hours on the min wage when there is in fact NI tax
    3. the idea that they can stop EU foreigners from buying these 20% discount (Tory gimmick) houses.
    It is of course absurd to tax some people (many without their own houses) in order to give a few others (under 40 fist time buyers) perhaps a £60K discount on one. What on earth is fair or sensible about that?

    Just relax planning, relax the daft green building regs, the social housing requirements and let companies get building more homes and have more selective immigration.

    Reply The policy is to withdraw if the ECHR declines this settlement.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 3, 2014 at 7:31 am | Permalink

      Good, but you might as well promise to leave now it is sensible, popular with voters and would reduce the deficit by saving money on largely pointless lawyers. You have a 13/14 chance of not having to do it anyway after May 7th 2014.

      What is there to be lost but the election and Cameron’s heart and soul?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted October 3, 2014 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

        The telegraph on line vote on the issue is 80% against the ECHR 20% for. So quite popular with Tory or ex Tory voters it seems. Why do the Ken Clarks and Dominique Grieves and I suspect even D Cameron’s of this world want to lose the election?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted October 5, 2014 at 4:15 am | Permalink

        Sorry May 7th 2015!

  4. Derek Hoxha
    Posted October 3, 2014 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    Yeah yeah yeah … it would be a bit more credible if it had formed part of the last Conservative manifesto as well. For the moment Davey can keep blaming the Liberal bully boys from stopping it happen now and letting the world see that he is a real conservative.

    • Peter Stroud
      Posted October 3, 2014 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps you have forgotten that the Tories shared power with the LibDems. They would have voted against any move that sidelined the ECHR. The bill of rights dependeds on Cameron winning an overall majority.

      • Derek Hoxha
        Posted October 3, 2014 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps you have lost your powers of comprehension? Reread the comment and reconsider what you have written

  5. JoeSoap
    Posted October 3, 2014 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    I must be getting forgetful. I thought the Conservatives were arguing against this UKIP proposal a few months ago?

    Reply This is not a UKIP proposal. This is a Conservative proposal which the party has been working on for a couple of years.

    • Posted October 3, 2014 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      How did we get into this mess in the first place ? This country has been a model to the world in so many ways and has a legal system that has been honed and modified to meet the demands of modern life and our democratic values ; subscribing to the ECHR was a great mistake and an insult . I am horrified to learn from one of your overriding replies that ” we have been working on this for 2 years ” ; surely with all the processes we have in place and the accuitry we have in our representatives supported by the Civil Service , this amount of time is inexcusable . Thank goodness there now seems to be an initiative that will speed up and result in our formal withdrawal ; meanwhile we should simply decide to ignore the outside control of our legal system .

      Reply We cannot use the civil service as this is Conservative policy, not government policy. We were working to a timetable to produce a manifesto, as Lib dems have always made clear we can do none of this whilst in coalition.

    • Duyfken
      Posted October 3, 2014 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      Re reply. I am singularly unimpressed by this avowal: that for two years the Tories have been working on the proposal which has now been announced. Yet it is conveniently we only hear of it just in time for the GE. It is a UKIP proposal (or a “lite” version) even were it the case it had also been mulled over within the Tory ranks earlier. Yet again, it comes down to a lack of trust. Believe not what they say but only what they do.

      Reply We have worked on it for our manifesto, as Lib Dems refuse to help us do this in government.

      • JoeSoap
        Posted October 3, 2014 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply:
        So at some stage shouldn’t they say: HANG ON, the Libdems are polling at 6%, shall we just close this situation out? You cannot act as though you are paralysed in government, else there is no point in being there, and you will pay for that at the GE too.
        Maybe some self-assertiveness courses are in order for your Ministers? Or are they actually asserting that they agree with 90% of Libdem policies anyway, but have to give us some Vague ™ promises before the election?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted October 3, 2014 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

        What exactly, if anything, did the Tories get out of Coalition deal?

    • APL
      Posted October 3, 2014 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

      JR: “This is a Conservative proposal which the party has been working on for a couple of years.”

      Coffee, meet keyboard.

      That was funny Mr Redwood.

  6. Posted October 3, 2014 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    I find “and restrict its application by reducing its reach into trivial cases “of great concern.
    Who defines what is trivial? A manager who does or not escalate a concern? The lawyers, if it ever reaches their sight? A protocol which can be fudged?

    What is trivial to one can be life destroying to another.

    Reply It will be defined in our UK law.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 3, 2014 at 7:44 am | Permalink

      Probably to be interpreted by lawyers in the financial interest of lawyers as usual. Namely arbitrary, hard to predict, largely random, slow, lots of PC drivel and lots of court levels each finding differently.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted October 3, 2014 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      Comment on Reply–I do not even understand why we need a separate concept of human rights at all, meaning why do not other laws – I refer to English Law of course – cover? The idea of worrying about family life of people put in prison is oxymoronic, with the emphasis on the moronic. As to what’s trivial I was brung up on, De minimis non curat lex, and quite right too.

      • F.Cunctator
        Posted October 4, 2014 at 11:45 am | Permalink

        Exactly correct.
        It is not so much the politically used ECHR, which is problem enough in itself, but the interference in the justice system of this country at all levels of the legal process which is the problem. We must revert to Habeas Corpus ,maintain the jury system in all but the most complex technical cases and bring back the legal system here to what it in essence was up till the 1960s.
        Changes in detailed laws made since that period could be reviewed and retained if suitable and useful. The structure and ethos of the older system should be reinstated

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted October 4, 2014 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

          Fabius–Agreed, and more, but I am not sure you sound like a Member of your Society nor that you want to delay much

    • boffin
      Posted October 3, 2014 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

      I align with Margaret Brandreth-J’s misgivings over the interpretation of ‘trivial’ most strongly (and share LifeLogic’s disappointment with your terse Reply).

      BTW, our OWN, English ‘unaccountable and unelected judges’ placed action under the Human Rights Act against organisations with deep pockets beyond the means of unsupported, decent citizens. (Court of Appeal ruling: the (theoretical) ability to bring a case in the High Court is ‘sufficient’ when an individual’s “Rights” are compromised). The Act itself merely requires that any court or tribunal takes cognisance of its provisions.

  7. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted October 3, 2014 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    I am quite comfortable with judges interpretting law. My discomfort arises from the fact that much of our law is European, created for a sprawling entity of many nations rather than what is best for us.

    Judges’ interpretation of law will most likely be diferent to the law makers’. That is OK the laws can always be rewritten if we create and police our own laws. That will not be possible within the EU.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted October 3, 2014 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      I am not at all comfortable “with judges interpreting law”, which is not a criticism of judges.

      Every interpretation of a law by a judge indicates a failure of law making. Citizens are entitles to certainty under the law, which, I believe, is a principle of English justice.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted October 3, 2014 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

        Not necessarily a failure of law making just time and society moving forward to a place different to that when the law was conceived.

        Do we want our lawmakers constantly reviewing every statute and potentially tampering with it or should we be happy to allow English (British??) judges some latitude to interpret laws created by our own Parliament(s)?

        The major problem as I see it is the EU’s law making ability not our judges who can later be overridden.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted October 3, 2014 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

          “… not our judges who can later be overridden.”

          Correct, and in principle a Parliamentary override can be enacted very speedily. That was what Theresa May did in 2011 when a court threw the system for periods of detention and bail into confusion, to restore clarity she had the Police (Detention and Bail) Act 2011 passed and the whole process took just one week:

          http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2011/9/notes/division/6

          • sjb
            Posted October 4, 2014 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

            An example of why some of us consider Parliament is an inferior guardian of our liberties than the ECHR.

            “The evidential threshold to arrest someone on suspicion – and thereby for police bail – is relatively low and yet a situation has been created where this bail could roll on for months (six months for Mr Hookway) [1] with all these conditions [e.g. obeying a curfew, avoiding named people or places, or providing a financial guarantee] attaching. Indeed, we know there are 80,000 people in England and Wales in this position.”[2]

            [1] http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2011/1578.html
            [2] http://humanrights.ie/criminal-justice/police-bail-in-the-uk/

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted October 6, 2014 at 8:26 am | Permalink

            Yes, of course we’d much prefer to rely on foreign judges who are appointed by some obscure process and who we cannot remove from their posts, rather than on our own people who have stood before and asked us to elect them to Parliament and who know that there is a chance they could be removed at the next election.

        • Alan Wheatley
          Posted October 4, 2014 at 9:12 am | Permalink

          Rubbish.

          It is not for judges to decide what is and is not the law, it is the job of Parliament.

          Judges can reasonably comment that they are placed in difficulty by laws that have not kept pace with a changing World, as they sometimes do. Politicians should take note of what they say and act accordingly.

          The citizen can not act lawfully if what is the law shall not be determined until the next judgment.

      • F.Cunctator
        Posted October 4, 2014 at 11:36 am | Permalink

        How stupid statute law cannot cover the nuances of complex case nor consider all the circumstances surrounding a case or problem. This is why the English system of Common Law is so superior to the Roman/Napoleonic code of law prevalent in EU. The British legal system up to our accession to the EU,with its independent judges chosen after years of experience as barristers, was far superior in delivering justice to any other.

  8. JoeSoap
    Posted October 3, 2014 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    OK so reading this again you are not actually proposing withdrawing from ECHR, just ending its ability to repeal British Laws? Clarification required. We are being given the small print version, aren’t we?

    Reply Either they agree to our new deal or we withdraw altogether.

    • Aunty Estab
      Posted October 3, 2014 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply, that sounds like a good opening gambit for the EU negotiations, any chance of you persuading Cameron to use it?

      • Hope
        Posted October 3, 2014 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

        Cameron, once again, will not say he would lead the UK out of the EU if he failed his alleged renegotiation. All guff I am afraid, this about trying to win back votes in May next year. It will be forgotten by the end of May.

        What power does the UK have to stop murders and serious offenders from the EU entering our country? How does the EU arrest warrant help us here? The US has much stricter rules and it is not in the EU, not part of the ECHR and yet boasts to be leader of the free world.

    • JoeSoap
      Posted October 3, 2014 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      Listening to Chris Grayling’s interview on Today, you are dancing on the head of a pin again here. If only your party kept matters simple, it probably wouldn’t be losing its MPs and by-elections.

      Whether this is getting rid of/keeping the deficit, staying in/out of the EU, lowering/increasing taxes, increasing/lowering immigration, it is all weasel words….. and dishonest. Here this morning is another. If they do/don’t do such and such, we will be staying in/withdrawing from the ECHR, and in the meantime according to what they say we will/won’t take any notice.

      Your party either has its heart in one or the other of these routes and just does it, or it doesn’t. It is no good to stand on the touchline for ever, saying if this or that does or doesn’t happen we will do the other. Life doesn’t need to be so complicated.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 3, 2014 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      Which new deal would involve formal derogation from Article 46(1), see below.

      Whether the Council of Europe would accept that the UK could remain a member of the Convention but with that derogation remains to be seen, however if it is not accepted then so be it.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted October 4, 2014 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

      Another Reply to Reply–I have just read that the Eurocrats have already said No so can we please withdraw this afternoon?

  9. Old Albion
    Posted October 3, 2014 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    All sounds great JR. But even if the Conservatives DO win the general Election? The opposition will gang up against this idea and defeat it. The ECHR and the EU will not sit back and allow it either.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 3, 2014 at 7:46 am | Permalink

      The large Ken Clark/Dom Grieve wing will probably fight against it too.

      • Mark
        Posted October 3, 2014 at 10:46 am | Permalink

        Time Grieve made constructive suggestions for dealing with the manifest problems rather than apologising for their ongoing existence and insisting we must suffer.

      • Bryan
        Posted October 3, 2014 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

        Do not forget the BBC which will also oppose it, possibly by having Owen Jones, the left wing biased attack ‘dog’, on at every opportunity.

        • Lifeligic
          Posted October 3, 2014 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

          Indeed there he was yet again on the Daily Politics today.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted October 3, 2014 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

        Of course Grieve will oppose it. Like most other MPs now he doesn’t actually believe in the sovereignty of the Parliament of which he is a member; but unlike many others he is not just indifferent, he is actively opposed. It is interesting question why we keep electing people to our national Parliament who are convinced that it must be legally subjugated in one way or another, usually through some international treaty.

  10. Johnn S
    Posted October 3, 2014 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    These unelected judges are not real judges but political activists with law degrees, who invariably give perverse judgements.

    • acorn
      Posted October 3, 2014 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      My legal lady tells me the following with a bit from the BBC. The court is made up of 47 judges, equating to the number of countries that have signed up to the European Human Rights Convention. The judges are elected to nine-year terms by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. The Council is a distinct entity and is not a branch of the European Union (EU). The European Human Rights Convention is its landmark treaty as far as the United Nations General Assembly is concerned.

      The European Court of Human Rights is often confused with European Court of Justice – the EU’s highest court. The ECJ refers to the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights and treats the Convention on Human Rights as though it was part of the EU’s legal system. However, EU institutions are bound under article 6 of the EU Treaty of Nice to respect human rights under the Convention.

      Now, the EU has acceded to the Convention of Human Rights via the Treaty of Lisbon. This makes the EU Court of Justice bound by the judicial precedents of the Court of Human Rights’s case law and thus subject to its human rights law, removing the conflict case law between these two courts.

      Apparently, if Cameron gets his wish, the UK will be twinned with Belarus to make it two pariah states in greater Europe! Grayling, reacting to “Daily Mail: right wing ranting in a recession”, has not worked out, or even cares, what the end game will be for the 99% non-elite. etc ed

      Reply The aim is for the UK to have an independent Supreme Court of our own to hold all including politicians to account, and a sovereign Parliament to make laws that people want. Are you saying all states around the world not in ECHR are without human rights?

  11. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted October 3, 2014 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    Alone with Belarus outside the European Convention? With its infallible, partly unelected parliament in charge of human rights? Everyone his or her taste, but am I glad not to live in Britain!

    • Bob
      Posted October 3, 2014 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      @Peter

      “With its infallible, partly unelected parliament in charge of human rights? Everyone his or her taste, but am I glad not to live in Britain!”

      Would you have said that in 1939?

      • Hope
        Posted October 3, 2014 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

        The UK gave Belerus a fortune in overseas aid. Another idea by Cameron that we should be proud of, unbelievable.

    • Sean O'Hare
      Posted October 3, 2014 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      ..but am I glad not to live in Britain!

      So are we Peter! So are we!

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted October 4, 2014 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

        Seconded

    • outsider
      Posted October 3, 2014 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

      Dear Peter van L, You are teasing. To take you literally, that means you would not have wanted to live in England in the 1930s, when there were no conventions or ECHR but the UK was generally a freer country than it is today and certainly free by comparison with most others in Europe.
      Well maybe you would not because, unless you correct me, the Netherlands was also at that time a country in which human rights were respected. And if the Netherlands withdrew from the Convention/ECHR today, human rights would continue to be respected.
      It is a fault of human society/nature that all rights, privileges and prerogatives will be abused by the few (including the mighty) for purposes that were never intended and the UK’s stylised adversarial system of common law precedents tends to support that.
      Traditionally, the UK also had a Law of Equity, under which “fairness” could override both statute law and common law precedents. Sadly, this discretionary law of fairness has virtually died out because lawyers and large organisations (both state and private) want certainty about what they can and cannot do. So they created the nonsensical paradox of fairness also being governed by precedent.
      If the UK withdrew from the Convention/ECHR but relied on UK Courts to enforce a local Declaration of Human Rights, the only change would be that a few flagrant abuses would be removed. In practice, you would still find that the human freedoms that you would wish to have would be better protected under our localised system than in many if not most Convention countries.
      Unfortunately, our legal system would soon create new abuses based on the new UK law unless the law of fairness were fully revived.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted October 7, 2014 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

        @Outsider: If you ever manage to hear the exchange of MEP Helmer and Mr Timmermans during the latter’s EP hearing (airing now) you’ll know where I stand. I’m really disgusted at the very idea that a UK party would contemplate leaving the European Convention, quite besides the criticism that I have of the UK democratic system as such (not real trias politica, no representative parliament, etc.)

        Reply What does it matter to you? We had human rights long before the Convention and will have them in it or out of it.

        • Peter van Leeuwen
          Posted October 8, 2014 at 6:18 am | Permalink

          Reply to reply: Cooperating with other countries in addressing ECHR problems and reforming it might be in Churchill’s spirit, contemplating leaving the European Convention is well beyond a red line and very irresponsible.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 3, 2014 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      In theory, but in practice our system has worked better than most. That is why it was British lawyers who took a leading role in drafting the European Convention, not for the benefit of people in this country but for those in other countries where the system had resulted in mass atrocities, But you already know all this, you just can’t resist the temptation to stick your oar into something which is nothing to do with you as a foreigner.

    • F.Cunctator
      Posted October 4, 2014 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      I am glad you do not live in Britain. Please be well mannered enough to cease giving advice and wishy washy opinions to those who do.

  12. Colin
    Posted October 3, 2014 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    So the plan is that the UK is going to be able to pick and choose which bits of international law it’s going to abide by. In which case, presumably, there’s nothing to stop the Russians, or the Chinese, or the Iranians doing likewise.

    We will hardly be in a position to complain or criticise other nations’ violations of international law, when we have repudiated such law ourselves. So much for Britain’s leadership role on the world stage.

    Also, for those Conservatives who wish to remain in the EU, such as Mr Cameron, do they realise that if we withdrew from the ECHR we would be thrown out of the EU? Some may say “good”, but do we really want to be expelled in ignominy and shame as a pariah state rather than leaving of our own free will?

    All this to pander to the racially-charged sensationalism of the Daily Mail and its ilk, with their mostly made-up stories about how we can’t deport foreign criminals (we deport thousands every year) and have to give prisoners the vote (we haven’t and we won’t).

    Oh and by the way, judges are supposed to be “unelected and unaccountable”, it’s called independence. Judges make decisions according to the law, not according to what newspaper headlines politicians would like to see.

    Frankly, it’s very disappointing to see such intellectually lazy and dishonest tosh coming from someone of your calibre, Dr Redwood. You should talk to Dominic Grieve. You might learn something.

    • outsider
      Posted October 3, 2014 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

      Dear Colin, The relevant “international law” is the UN Convention on Human Rights. I do not think there are any proposals by anyone to derogate from that. If only Russia, China and Iran abided by their commitments under the UN Convention, as I think the UK tries hard to do, the world would be much freer.

      It would be sad if the UK withdrew from the ECHR but the vast majority of cases brought by UK citizens involve issues that, in my view, revolve round matters that should be devolved to states rather than being “fundamental” rights. The ECHR, like the European Copurt, does not seem capable of saying: ” this is a matter for local democratic choice”.
      For example, massive violations of basic human rights, such as right to life, freedom from arbitrary imprisonment and freedom from torture, took place routinely in the Ukraine in the years up to the civil war. The ECHR has tackled many of these, sometimes to good effect. Yet it also recently chose to rule against Ukraine in the case of a woman who was allowed to change her surname but not her official patronymic. All my sympathies were with the complainant but this struck me as a matter properly subject to local law and not, as judged, a violation of the fundamental right to family life.
      The latest reforms of the court, which were supposedly designed to focus it back on to basic issues, do not seem to have had any such effect. So it seems perfectly reasonable for the UK (and others) to insist on the principle of subsidiarity and, if absolutely necessary, to do so unilaterally.

      • Colin
        Posted October 5, 2014 at 8:52 am | Permalink

        There is no “principle of subsidiarity” in international law. You’re thinking of EU law. States do not get to pick and choose which bits of law they obey, “democratic choice” (for which could be read “tyranny of the majority”) or not.

        • Edward2
          Posted October 6, 2014 at 7:13 am | Permalink

          Your reply suggests all nations must always obey whatever laws are imposed on us by this international legal body.
          So they are in charge not our elected local and national councils and governments.
          Im shocked.
          I really didnt appreciate that was the case.
          Who votes for them to have this huge power over us?

    • Edward2
      Posted October 4, 2014 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      You live in a fantasy land if you think the EU would ever expel the UK.
      Have a look at the amount of money the UK inputs.
      Its about whether you want to be ruled by the EU or your own national parliament.
      You prefer the former.
      I prefer the latter.

      • Colin
        Posted October 5, 2014 at 8:48 am | Permalink

        “Its about whether you want to be ruled by the EU”

        For the umpteenth time, the ECHR is not an organ of the EU!

        “You prefer the former.”

        I most certainly do not! Although I do not wish to be “ruled” by “our own national parliament” either. I do not wish to be “ruled” by anyone. I would however like my country to be governed according to the rule of law.

        • Edward2
          Posted October 6, 2014 at 7:07 am | Permalink

          It has been argued very successfully in my opinion, on these very pages and elsewhere, that the EU and the ECHR are inextricably linked.

          Try joining the EU without being signed up to the ECHR and see how you get on.

  13. Amanda
    Posted October 3, 2014 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood. If this is such a good idea, and it is certainly better than what we have, then get on with it, now. I have absolutly no faith whatever in election promises – the Conservative/Liberal Government has broken many that were given to us in 2010. Cameron may conveniently blame the Liberals, but the truth is he was so despearate for power that he overlooked or badly negotiated or trashed key pledges. I will not forget that after crawling to the Lib/Dems, his second act was to try and trash the 1922 Committee !!

    In addition, we got things that were not in the manifesto such as homosexual ‘marriage’ – a key change, that to many of us is detrimental to the safety and secuity of children, and family life. Family being the basic unit of both society and the economy. I, like many others, will never recognize marriage as anything other than a bond (sacred and secular) between a man and a woman. (I have no issue with Civil Partnerships, but feel that the issue of siblings who have lived together for a long time should also, in fairness, be looked at in a similar way for financial arrangements.)

    I don’t believe we will get an EU Referendum from the Tories. I don’t believe there will be tax cuts without also hidden agendas – where is the promised change in inheritance tax that catches more and more people? I don’t believe that the Tories have any intention of controlling immigration. I do believe that the Tories will contine to trash our countryside with ‘rabbit hutches’. I am very doubtful we will get English votes for English laws. And, I don’t believe Cameron has the intelligence to negotiate the above with the ECHR, let alone the will.

    Short, I don’t believe your party. (I do not doubt your own good intentions.) And, the only way your party can restore my confidence is to start actually taking action. (Whilst refraining from insulting me and mine.) If that means ditching the Liberals and going it alone – then do so. The break in the coalition should have been built into the coalition agreement anyway. But, of course Cameron thought that he would just go on in permant coalition, slowly strangling conservative values. Presumably all on behalf of his EU bosses !!

    Whilst Cameron is your leader you have no chance of ever forming a majority Government, and so all of these grand plans will come to nothing, until we can once again vote in a party with values rooted in individual liberty, free markets, personal responsibility, and small state.

    Reply We cannot do it now because the Conservatives do not have a majority. Gay marriage was done because there was a big Parliamentary majority for it, despite many Conservative MPs voting against. This Parliament can only do what a majority of those elected wish to do. That has never included withdrawing from the ECHR or holding an EU referendum.

    • Lifeligic
      Posted October 3, 2014 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

      Why do we not have a majority because the Cameron put a lefty, fake green tosh, expensive energy, high tax, big wasteful government, cast iron ratting, pro uncontrolled immigration agenda to the country! Then ratted further on their IHT promise and have now forgotten all about it.

    • JoeSoap
      Posted October 3, 2014 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply:
      Frankly this is becoming “all over the shop”.
      Despite the largest party in power being against Gay Marriage it gets pushed through Parliament, yet despite the largest party in power being in favour of the removal(?) or questioning the validity of (?) the ECHR, they do nothing about it for 5 years?
      Really, it is time to go the Country and see Mr Cameron dance on the heads of all these pin next to Mr Farage. Yes, it is time!

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted October 3, 2014 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply

      Parliamemt can only vote on what is placed before it and your party leader and its hierarchy brought gay marriage before Parliament. The Conservative party is culpable for this change.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted October 4, 2014 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

        ……….and there are many of us who will never under any circumstances vote Conservative while Cameron is in charge. An excellent speechifier Yes but invariably rear end about face on the substance.

    • Hope
      Posted October 3, 2014 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

      The majority of the public were gainst it and Cameron did not count all those who petitioned on the subject.

      • Chris
        Posted October 5, 2014 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

        Yes, Hope, if he had taken account of all those on the petition as well there would have been 80% against gay marriage, apparently. What a deceit was practised by apparently deliberately excluding them.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted October 4, 2014 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      Re reply, I do not think gay marriage was “done” because of a parliamentary majority in favour, it was done because Cameron, for his own reasons, decided to bring it forward from nowhere,

      The fact that once brought forth the Commons voted in favour is a different matter. It Cameron had not initiated it there would not have been a vote.

  14. The PrangWizard
    Posted October 3, 2014 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    The Left and their camp-followers will probably really get going on this; I expect we will see much outrage and accusations from the BBC in many guises, in concert with their subversive friends, so it is important to be resolute. There should be no dilution of the proposals or weak talk about them, under pressure.

  15. Roy Grainger
    Posted October 3, 2014 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    The Left are in a frenzy over this one, human rights to be determined by UK judges rather than European judges. Seems like a good idea to me.

  16. DaveM
    Posted October 3, 2014 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    Another step in the right direction but again not a 100% solution.

    Is this part of herr/monsieur/signor Cameron’s attempts to make us think that being in the EU is ok actually, because we can kind of decide what we can or cannot do in our own ******* country?! A half-way solution like this can easily be overturned the next time the EU come up with some treaty which someone like Gordon Brown will secretively sign without even consulting his own cronies, or easily be reinstated the next time we have to suffer the hell of a Labour government (who will easily get approval from the left-wing morons in the Lib Dems).

    I appreciate the update, JR, but the fact still remains that if we want to have control of our destiny and control of OUR country, we have to amputate the festering, parasitical appendage which is the EU.

    Semi-off topic: Noteworthy that (during the Conf) Miliband and Farage were mentioned as threats at the next election. No mention of clown-boy Clegg…..surely some kind of dialogue with Ukip has to be on the cards…?

  17. DadOf3
    Posted October 3, 2014 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    The Conservatives have pursued many ill-advised policies of late, but this is by far the worst. Compassionate Conservatism is dead. Grayling et al want to consolidate the Tories’ reputation as the Nasty Party.

    This policy may play to a few rightwingers who are tempted to go to UKIP, but swing voters in the centre will flee to the left.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 3, 2014 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

      So was Compassionate Conservatism alive prior to September 1953 when the Convention came into force with the UK as a founding member, with the approval of the Tory party, or had the Tory party always been a party which wished to inflict barbaric cruelty on a population groaning under the yoke of tyranny until that Convention put it right? One would think that we in this country, including the Tories, had no history other than one of untrammelled brutality before the lawyers on a mainly foreign court in Strasbourg started to set us straight.

  18. Bill
    Posted October 3, 2014 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    I am happy with the proposals. As far as I am concerned Britain has had an honourable history in respect of human rights as the concept has evolved over time. My own belief is that human rights are not given by the State but are given by God in the way that the Jefferson described in the Declaration of Independence:

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…, ”

    I have sufficient confidence in the British Parliament to believe that it will ‘secure these rights’.

  19. oldtimer
    Posted October 3, 2014 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    This sounds like the correct direction of travel to me – British laws for British citizens.

  20. Graham
    Posted October 3, 2014 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    It will never happen!!!

    You all (and JR) know it but it does provide a short term warm delusion that this government has the balls to take it on – which is the whole purpose of the exercise of course.

    • Lifeligic
      Posted October 3, 2014 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

      Correct.

    • Mondeo Man
      Posted October 3, 2014 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

      Peter Hitchens predicted as much.

  21. oldtimer
    Posted October 3, 2014 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    OT: It would help if someone got a better grip on DECC. Today the Bishop Hill blog has drawn attention to a Public Accounts Committe report on the renewable energy contracts it has awarded. It would help if you also looked at and commented on the subject of this report. If ever there was a department totally out of control it is DECC.

    • Lifeligic
      Posted October 3, 2014 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      It must surely only be driven be vested interests, no one not even Cameron or Davey can surely belief still in the logic of wind turbines and PV now can they?

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted October 4, 2014 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

        Lifelogic–It is a mistake to criticise PV in the same breath as Wind Turbines and for two reasons, viz, first, the cost of the easily made PV cells is plummeting and, secondly, the obvious disadvantage that they need the sun to be shining is going to be increasingly mitigated by various new battery and other electricity storage technologies, many well advanced already.

    • Robert Christopher
      Posted October 3, 2014 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

      And there is another article about their energy cost projections. It is quite a laugh (unless you have to pay them). DECC, showing us its expertise:

      “Burning gas for power is currently far cheaper than electricity from wind farms, which receive billions of pounds in subsidies from consumers.

      Yesterday however the Department of Energy and Climate Change released new forecasts slashing its power and gas price forecasts for later this decade by as much as 20 per cent.

      But ministers have repeatedly argued that gas prices will keep on rising, eventually making green energy good value for money.”

      • fedupsouthener
        Posted October 6, 2014 at 11:13 am | Permalink

        Quite right. Ed Davey is a numpty when it comes to the energy policy. We have enough power generated by wind and solar now to meet our obligations to the EU (all bow down). Scotland is awash with so many wind farms all receiving subsidies on a regular basis to be switched OFF because there is on occasions to much wind for the grid to take. It costs more to pay subsidies to these developers than for them to run them. The costs run into millions and are set to rise to billions by 2020 all paid for by you and I and putting more and more into fuel poverty. In the meantime, landowners and the developers are making a killing. The amount of money we are talking about to have turbines on your land is obscene. Likewise the amount of money that most foreign developers are making is obscene. Meanwhile, we have to now subsidise power station in Europe because when the wind doesn’t blow we won’t have enough power to energize our nation!!! How does that make sense? Scotland is sending power over to Ireland who cannot take it because they have too much and are sending it back to us. If the power from 2 turbines goes over by the time it has done the circuit and comes back there is only the power left from 1 turbine. Economically, it stinks. Businesses must be balking at the prices of energy and domestic users must be dreading winter bills. In the meantime gas is going down. Ed Davey is a meddling fool and the sooner we get rid of him the better. Same with Salmond who is determined to install more wind turbines, blighting even the most iconic landscapes in order to reap the community benefit offered which consumers again have to pay for through their bills. More and more in fuel poverty. It’s a disgrace and the whole of the Lib Dimmers should just be kicked out.

  22. Denis Cooper
    Posted October 3, 2014 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    “Their judgements would in future be advisory.”

    Fine by me to make their decisions only advisory, but the UK government has previously promised otherwise through what is now Article 46(1) in the Convention:

    http://www.echr.coe.int/Documents/Convention_ENG.pdf

    “The High Contracting Parties undertake to abide by the final judgment of the Court in any case to which they are parties.”

    So you would have to formally derogate from that provision, which to avoid any doubt was present in the original 1950 Convention as Article 53.

    It is not possible for any amendment of the HRA or the passage of any British Bill of Rights or any other domestic legislation to remove that obligation on the international plane, and it would be hypocritical to tell other countries that we agree to be bound by Article 46(1), and so accept the ECHR as being the highest source of justice in the UK, while simultaneously taking steps to frustrate attempts to seek that justice.

    The only honest and effective procedure would be for our Parliament to authorise and instruct our government to derogate from Article 46(1) of the Convention, so formally announcing to the other countries in the Convention that the UK no longer consents to be bound by the judgements of the ECHR.

  23. Alan Wheatley
    Posted October 3, 2014 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    “This leaves the power where it belongs, in the hands of British people, who can vote to change their Parliament and therefore their laws.” Indeed.

    I think it is a fundamental principle of living in a democracy that the laws by which the citizens accept they conduct themselves are determined by people elected to act on their behalf. That way there is a circular, or “negative feedback”, control of those laws, such that they tend to an optimum balance acceptable to the majority.

    We sensibly can look to other countries to see what they do and how they judge the rights and wrongs of issues. We need not be so insular as to think only we know what is exactly right, but neither should we be dictated to by others as to what we choose for ourselves.

  24. ian wragg
    Posted October 3, 2014 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    We’ve heard it all before only the last time it was Dominic Grieve telling us it wasn’t possible because it was Ukip policy.
    Now you are blatantly stealing their policies, do you really think anyone will believe you. I think the latest polls show only 56% chance of CMD having a working majority and the Tories would rather enter into coalition with the limp Dumbs than Ukip.
    Says it all really. Time to clean out the stables John. The natives are restless.

    • Chris
      Posted October 3, 2014 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      You are correct Ian W. It has long been a UKIP policy, and I think it is less than truthful for any politician to claim otherwise.

      Reply Many of these so called UKIP policies have been Conservative policies or Conservative wishes for longer than UKIP has been around.

      • Graham
        Posted October 3, 2014 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply

        Which begs the question as to why nothing has changed if they have been Conservative policy for so long!!!!!!

      • Lifeligic
        Posted October 3, 2014 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps the wishes of the circa 1/3 of the tories who are sensible.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted October 3, 2014 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

        Careful with that one, JR; remember that UKIP has been around since 1993, and before that its predecessor the Ant-Federalist League was started in 1991, so the Conservatives had over five years in office with overall majorities and therefore no excuse for not implementing these policies if they had really wanted to.

      • APL
        Posted October 3, 2014 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

        JR: “Many of these so called UKIP policies have been Conservative policies or Conservative wishes for longer than UKIP has been around. ”

        You would have thought you might have implemented a few of them by now.

        But no, they are still, what is it, aspirations.

        Reply We have been out of government on our own since 1997.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted October 4, 2014 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

        Dear John–When it suits, you tell us that UKIP has been around for 20 years (and so is – was? – now a busted flush blah blah). UKIP’s influence has been enormous.

        Reply Dream on. The main changes to Conservative policy have come from within the party, and many of the policies have been Conservative policies for many years.

        • Chris
          Posted October 5, 2014 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

          Reply to “Dream on” reply:
          I don’t think Lynton Crosby would recognise the Conservative policies as you describe them, Mr Redwood. He was brought in specifically to get a win for the Conservatives and he spotted the failures in your policies. He correctly identified why people were swarming to UKIP, and accordingly he got Cameron to change course. Hence, Cameron has now adopted UKIP-lite policies to try to steal their thunder.

          Farage has never been afraid to state quite clearly what he thinks on the EU, mass immigration, the ECHR, and yet Cameron, until recently refused to “bang on” about the EU, immigration, the ECHR, and to take any meaningful and effective action. Cameron’s policy has always been to keep us in the EU, which will subject the UK to relentless waves of mass immigration (with all the attendant demands on infrastructure) and require us to abide by the rulings of the ECHR (Lisbon Treaty). Suddenly he is trying to appear Eurosceptic and throw the electorate some red meat in the form of UKIP-lite policies.

          However, it will not work, for 3 reasons. Firstly, the electorate is not stupid and will not be fooled again after the Lisbon Treaty promise, to name but one example. Secondly, the electorate is angry – very angry indeed with Cameron and his contempt for grassroots, but more importantly they are registering huge anger over the powers he has been handing almost daily to Brussels, since he came into power. Thirdly, what Cameron claims he can do with regard to freedom of movement and immigration, and the ECHR, is just not possible. The powers that be in Brussels have made that abundantly clear yet again in the last few days. David Cameron is expecting the electorate to be both naïve and ill informed and swallow his pronouncements. We will not.

  25. ian wragg
    Posted October 3, 2014 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Should read 5%

  26. Posted October 3, 2014 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    If you have a right, you do not need to negotiate with someone who is trying to take it away.

    This is typical so-called-Conservative fudge.

    Our rights are defined by our Constitution, which gives individuals protection from a power-usurping state and protects individuals from those who break the Common Law.

    Treasonous politicians have broken the Constitution by pretending they have the right to give to foreign authorities powers they do not possess. While the electorate listen to their lies, these silly arguments over detail will continue and real freedom will still be denied.

    John Wrake.

    • Bob
      Posted October 3, 2014 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      @John Wrake

      “Treasonous politicians have broken the Constitution by pretending they have the right to give to foreign authorities powers they do not possess.”

      No wonder Tony Blair’s government took the precaution of abolishing the death penalty for treason. They weren’t taking any chances!

  27. Alan Wheatley
    Posted October 3, 2014 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    One of the problems with a “human right” is that in protecting the position of some others can be disadvantaged. What seems to have been happening at the ECHR is the rights and wrongs of individual cases have been decided without regard to the implications for the wider population. The further the issue moves away from the fundamental principles to establishing case law on narrow specifics the more likely this is to happen.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted October 3, 2014 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

      Quite.

      “Logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”

  28. Sam
    Posted October 3, 2014 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Have to disagree with the broadly espoused view that the judiciary are inherently liberal. Some are and some are not; reading SC/House of Lords judgments will give you a flavour of this. The problem is that, in the modern era of statutory interpretation, judges are permitted to use more thorough investigation when deducing the intent of the legislation in question. The result is that wooly Labour policy, for instance, is given a wooly Labour interpretation.

    Strasbourg caselaw causes difficulties partly as a consequence of the structural nature of English common law. Our judiciary are trained to look to a precedent wherever possible, rather than applying statute using their own powers of sense and reason. ECtHR judgments therefore come to be de facto binding, even though they are not supposed to be.

    I have to say that Mr Grayling’s blueprint for the bill of rights is not a brilliant piece of legal criticism: we can expect it to be torn into be lawyers and informed commentators. Politically, that may not be a bad thing, as the British people like nothing less than smart*rses telling them why they aren’t allowed to do something. I have already noticed many erroneous statements being made in criticism of the blueprint, in any case.

    For those of us who treasure freedom and sovereignty, the Tories are now offering an attractive package.

    * A referendum on EU membership.
    * Repeal of the HRA, and a bill of rights in replacement.
    * English votes on English law.

    Doubtless, there will be a lot of “yeah, but” objections from those who attracted to Ukip, but I would implore everyone to grab the chance of actually getting this done.

  29. Tad Davison
    Posted October 3, 2014 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    I would agree with most of what you write, in principle, but Mr Cameron was just saying what the Tory faithful wanted to hear. If another party were to offer the same deal, I would go with the one that has a lot more credibility than a discredited and tainted party that seems to break their promises or wriggle out of commitments whenever it suits them.

    And the right of free speech is very high on my own list of human rights. After listening to Mr Cameron deliver his address to the UN a few days ago, one which provoked a storm of criticism from those like myself who merely seek the truth and wish to hold politicians to account for their actions, I rather feel the UK needs a new and credible leadership, and one that is far less dangerous, prescriptive, and authoritarian. He continues to alienate the thinking person.

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

    • boffin
      Posted October 3, 2014 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

      Well said, Sir.

  30. Paul H
    Posted October 3, 2014 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    Given the accession of the EU to the ECHR, won’t it be impossible to achieve for as long as the UK is part of the EU?

    Incidentally I thought Mr. Grayling did a reasonably good job this morning dealing with John Humphreys who was particularly obnoxious, starting off with 2 or 3 curt questions leading up to what he seemed to regard as he killer point – namely that Dominic Grieve thinks it wrong.

    Humphreys completely lost the plot when he described it as “pandering to prejudice”. For me the fundamental question is “why should 17 unelected, unaccountable, mainly foreign judges decide our laws instead of a (albeit highly imperfect) democratic process”, and I think it should be posed in that stark form more often.

    • DaveM
      Posted October 3, 2014 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      Quite right Paul – as has been said for years, we don’t mind if you get it wrong sometimes, but let the mistakes and stupidity be OUR mistakes and stupidity, not those of someone from a foreign country who has (in most people’s minds) absolutely no right whatsoever to tell us how to conduct our business. I would feel less frustrated and annoyed abiding by crazy LibDem/Lab left-wing policies if they were solely British-dictated than abiding by Conservative-imposed policies which were influenced by any kind of unaccountable foreign body.

      What has to happen, John, to get a proper Conservative Party back on the political map?!!!

  31. Vanessa
    Posted October 3, 2014 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    I agree with Mark W above. Does anyone actually KNOW in government that there exists an English Bill of Rights ? It seems not. Cameron was unaware that the USA did NOT stand shoulder to shoulder with us in 1940 so it is quite possible that this little toddler does not know of our constitutional documents.

    It is about time they were brought out of the vaults, dusted off and read. They formed the basis for the USA Constitution and Australia’s, probably India’s and New Zealand’s and many others in the Commonwealth and they worked for the populations of those lands. Why can’t we use them?

    I do not want a badly thought through, badly constructed with horrendous unforeseen consequences of a new document.

  32. Bob
    Posted October 3, 2014 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    The recent exposition of popular policies by the Tories could be due to a couple of by-elections coming up next week. I expect we’ll see more of this leading up to May 2015.

    Then it will be back to business a usual.

    Reply We want it to be a Conservative government which can then do all these things we have wanted to do but been unable to thanks to the coalition.

  33. Martin
    Posted October 3, 2014 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    What happens if the UK Supreme court doesn’t agree with Conservative policy?
    Will you then abolish the Supreme Court or are you only going to have judges that are fully paid members of the Conservative Party?

    Reply No, we believe in the rule of law!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 3, 2014 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

      It would not be necessary to abolish the Supreme Court as an institution, merely to remove those judges who persistently defied the clear will of the supreme legal authority for the United Kingdom, which is its Parliament.

      http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2005/4/section/33

      “A judge of the Supreme Court holds that office during good behaviour, but may be removed from it on the address of both Houses of Parliament.”

  34. They Work for Us?
    Posted October 3, 2014 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    Cameron does need to be resolute about this and will once more need to feel the heat as he seeks for a way not to actually do it.
    We also need to cut back on the endless appeals process, usually funded by the taxpayer, on immigration and human rights matters. Why not a no win, no fee basis. We do need to see a big reduction in the industrial scale “rights” industry at the taxpayer’s expense.
    Dominic Grieve – “what’s his problem?” – he would be more comfortable in the Liberals.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted October 4, 2014 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

      This Grieve fellow–was he not fired? Cannot imagine why.

  35. Denis
    Posted October 3, 2014 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    “Upholding liberties and ensuring high standards of fairness and legal process is part of a democratic and free society. The ultimate arbiter of this should be Parliament acting on behalf of the UK people. We do not want unaccountable and unelected judges telling us what laws we need to follow or revising laws we have chosen. That should always be a matter for Parliament, with MPs deciding.”

    Here you have it. As Dominic Grieve (we now know why he was sacked) clearly realises, this is not just an attack on the European element in human rights protection. It could well be the first stage in attempting to override the independence of the judiciary even within the UK. When the supreme court was formed in 2009 Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, president of the Supreme Court, said: “For the first time, we have a clear separation of powers between the legislature, the judiciary and the executive in the United Kingdom. This is important. It emphasises the independence of the judiciary, clearly separating those who make the law from those who administer it. ”

    We meddle with that at our peril.

  36. Alte Fritz
    Posted October 3, 2014 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    I have not read Mr Grayling’s announcement but wonder whether it is intended to remove any of the Schedule 1 rights; if so which ones? Does he propose to replace the supremacy of the ECHR ‘s unelected and unaccountable judges with our own, and if so,just what difference does anyone think it will make?

    The right to family life has been grossly abused but I fail to see how the matter could not be dealt with by amending the Act.

    Mr Grayling strikes me as a man wholly out of his depth who prefers to perform by Daily Mail headline rather than to perform his ancient role seriously.

  37. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted October 3, 2014 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    “…British people, who can vote to change their Parliament and therefore their laws. ”
    Yes but people do not in the main come to choices of which Party or politician to back on the basis of one-off decisions or even general decisions made from time to time on some element of human rights affecting an individual or groups who live far away of whom they know nothing. Unfortunately human beings are not a proposed £10 per month rise in Council Tax and are apt to fall off the radar.

    There is great danger in leaving such vital matters to the whims of existing politicians. They retire. They defect to other parties with differing party lines. They lie, sometimes, and no-one knows. So many complicated and unknown factors in laws politicians make.Take the TV licence fee for example. I should think most people always assumed they paid the fee so the BBC could be financed thus making intrusive advertisements and commercial interference in factual news accounts impossible. But did not PM Brown decide, or someone or something decide, to hand over the money to support a private TV company in difficulties? Unthinkable. And so too it could be unthinkable politicians with more say on the basis of what would be their current notions of human rights do the wrong thing. But they could, and try to justify themselves in a sea of linguistic confusion.
    Not everyone is a Doctor of Philosophy.

  38. Posted October 3, 2014 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    I understand that there are 47 signatures to the original document. including Russia. can we see a list of these states

  39. Peter Stroud
    Posted October 3, 2014 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    It is strange that many people still believe that the ECHR is connected to the EU.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 3, 2014 at 4:52 pm | Permalink
    • sjb
      Posted October 3, 2014 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

      The EU is in the process of becoming a signatory to the ECHR; the accession agreement is currently with the CJEU.[1] It will be interesting to see how Cameron wriggles out of his commitment … assuming he is still PM in June 2015.

      [1]http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=WQ&reference=E-2014-006961&format=XML&language=EN

    • Edward2
      Posted October 4, 2014 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      Try becoming a member of the EU without agreeing to all the ECHR has to say.

  40. majorfrustration
    Posted October 3, 2014 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    I think this article is frankly more hopeful that actual. The part that rather gives the game away is where JR comments “This leaves the power where it belongs with the British people” If only.
    If one is to take any comfort from JRs words the voters will wish to see and have a commitment that the improvements mentioned will be dealt with and resolved/actioned on day one of the next Parliament – no more fancy words and no action. Remember the bonfire of the Quangos. Remember also that the proposed new tax breaks come over several years – still political “jam tomorrow”
    Also, the next Government, if Tory, needs to get an immediate grip on not just immigration but immigration as it effects the NHS/Schools – if we have to follows EEC rules re “open borders” then why cant we follow EEC rules re access to heath provision.
    The power of the voters is quite meaningless after an election – no recall proves of substance and still the MPs are trying to swing on the voters further “expensive light” regulations. Do they never learn – how much money would keep them happy and if they don’t like it then there are other jobs that might benefit from their talents – rhetorical.
    In the past MPs could get away with voter apathy – now the voters are just p.ssed off.
    Sorry JR the MPs have maxed out their loyalty/creditability card. Lets have no more tutorials and see some action from MPs who know the feelings of the voters and are willing to take on the party leaders – ok so some of you may miss out on a peerage but at least the voters will know that you were representing them.

  41. ian
    Posted October 3, 2014 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Government has taken a lot of are freedom away already, the government cannot be trusted to do it right. how are going to get round the trust problem. Mrs MAY already moving to take away more freedom of people on the internet and protesting and so on. People in power want stay in power. We as the people like to see power change hands. The government stop rich people from becoming poor by controlling the markets and laws this not good. They are stopping the system from working. Interest rates should of not gone down to 0.5 per cent with QE it stop the system from working, so people up the top of the ladder come down other people go up. They are fiddling the system for them selves and there are no laws to stop them, it financial bill of right is what is needed so they cannot keep their selves at the top, if you or a company make a mistake you should pay for it not be bailout by the poor.

  42. ian
    Posted October 3, 2014 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    election votes 2015 2to 3 others 6% green 8% libs ukip 19% that leave 64% for con and lab, no overrule control, that the best way to have it, ukip as the go between. I do not think you will look forward to one of the big party lording it over you because they looking for total power now, they are getting to big for their shoe. Wars and terror is they game to get what they want into a new bill of rights. What you need is a financial bill of rights to keep them in their place

  43. fedupsouthener
    Posted October 3, 2014 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Personally, I am utterly fed up to the back teeth of listening to Cameron’s feeble promises only to find that most of them won’t be kept and all the time there is a coalition with the Limp Dims not much chance of getting through anyway. Get shot of the coalition now! Clegg, Davey and Cable have done too much damage already. Our energy policy is a sham, Clegg is just waiting for another election and will jump into bed with anyone who can offer him a smidgeon of power as he won’t get it any other way. Cameron has lost touch with all Conservative values and is now following UKIP’s lead. Farage is the stronger leader and more in touch with the grass roots people and those who have to work hard for a living. Cameron, Clegg and Miliband have no idea how everyday society works. None of them have worked in the real world. I have voted Conservative since day one but am on the verge of switching to UKIP in the hope they can turn things around. Common sense policies are what are needed and now, not after the election by which time Cameron will probably change his mind anyway.

  44. ian
    Posted October 3, 2014 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    The three big party cannot be trusted with power anymore, they working for everybody else accept for the 95% of the people who live in this country who pay the bills and their wages, that how it is. The IMF, UN, NATO, EU,USA, big business, the elite and people outside of the country have a bigger say than the votes of the country. How are you, john going to change that. You the people have been takeover and you do not see it. The media again will let these people do what they want because they have the media in their pockets, if you do not stand up to these big institution they will rule you for year to come and you will get poorer as time go on, The economy will crash one day and then you will how far they will to go to keep power, you have already seen it from 2007 till now but it will get a lot worst if it happen again. That why they want to change the laws to give them total power over you like china.

  45. Chris
    Posted October 3, 2014 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    It seems as though Cameron’s plans have been rejected by Strasbourg:
    Breitbart London
    “..Conservative proposals to repeal the Human Rights Act and replace it with a ‘Bill of Rights’ have hit a stumbling block as the European Commission has made it clear that adherence to the European Convention of Human Rights is a key requirement of EU membership”.
    Also, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2779401/Tory-plans-shackle-European-human-rights-judges-REJECTED-Strasbourg-court-row-intensifies.html

    Worth also looking at eureferendum blog for R North’s analysis of the claims by Cameron.

  46. boffin
    Posted October 3, 2014 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    Tailender:
    Although I must reluctantly share in the cynicism expressed by so many here in relation to the present Conservative hierarchy, I suspect that most of us will share my appreciation of our host’s great courtesy in taking the trouble to reply to so many individual comments on this difficult topic – thank you!

    Manifesto nonsense apart, there is a burning need for Parliament swiftly to overturn – perhaps the most blatant EU perversion of ‘human rights’ – the EU’s insistence that both sexes must be treated as indistinguishable for insurance purposes, in defiance of all scientific data, mathematical and actuarial logic, and common sense. The result is that young women in EU states are being obliged to pay well over their fair share for car insurance, and old men cannot be offered a fair deal on annuity contracts despite a life expectancy nearly 5 years less than women.

    The effect of this old men who have, in the aftermath of the Lehman crisis, deferred annuity purchase until quite late in their expected (male) lifetimes in the hope of improving annuity rates, is particularly devastating … and thence so helpful to UKIP vs. the Conservative Party.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted October 4, 2014 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      boffin–Very true what you say about annuities but like a lot else it all comes from the desire these days to pretend that the sexes are not just equal but identical in all things. What amazes me is that I am not aware that anyone has been or is being forced to take out any particular insurance or assurance and, or at least I believe so, these are private companies we are talking about.

  47. Posted October 4, 2014 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    The very last thing we need is a government that controls human rights, as they are a protection for the citizen against the power of government. Under the present system the government is formed from the biggest party in Parliament hence it follows that the government can control the house, so neither should Parliament be able to change our basic rights.

    It is not for government to decide what protections we will be allowed against government, if they can, we will end up with none. The Bill of Rights 1689 recognised this and forced government to protect our basic pre-exiting rights. Now all the touchstones of our rights are being eroded under one pretext or another. A new British Bill of Rights will do nothing to protect us, as it will include all of the erosions and be a vehicle for removing rights rather than protecting them.

    So look out for the – slight of hand – first they internationalise human rights, now they want to bring them back under control of government, when they were never under the control of government in the first place.

  48. Freeborn John
    Posted October 4, 2014 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    I think these proposals on the ECHR are (i) disengenous and (ii) displacement activity to divert attention from the lack of progress on the main issue of EU membership. The measures are disingenuous because the Toties are not promising to withdraw from the ECHR which we would still be bound to follow by virtue of an international treaty.

    In addition while the ECHR no doubt has engaged in judicial activism the principle that human rights be protected by a court independent of national governments (e.g. the ECHR) is sound so long as the voters in a country retain the ability to decide everything else by electing a government too their choosing with the ability to act in all others matter except those ring-fenced as human rights. It is the existence of the EU with its ever growing powers in this area that should be decided by the voters that is therefore the primary problem the government should be addressing rather than focussing first on the lesser of the problems.

  49. Alan Wheatley
    Posted October 4, 2014 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    I do not see the need for a UK Bill of Rights.

    Surely the UK can affirm our endorsement of and undertaking to conform to the European Convention on Human Rights while saying that matters under the convention will be judged by the UK Supreme Court rather than the European Court of Human Rights.

    I read in Wikipedia that “The establishment of a Court to protect individuals from human rights violations is an innovative feature for an international convention on human rights, as it gives the individual an active role on the international arena (traditionally, only states are considered actors in international law).” But this is a two edged sword.

    If a ECH Court finding is flawed, where else do you go? If the UK Supreme Court finding is flawed then the UK law can be changed by Parliament if that is the majority will of the people.

  50. Denis Cooper
    Posted October 4, 2014 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    Two further points.

    Yesterday on Newsnight the presenter kept putting it to Jacob Rees-Mogg that the Tories were making a fuss about nothing as the judgements of the Strasbourg court were not really binding on the UK government and Parliament, see how they had managed to go for many years without implementing this and that judgement. Yet at the end a human rights lawyer (from the same chambers as Cherie Blair) implicitly contradicted that by saying that Putin in Russia and Orban in Hungary would be over-joyed if the decisions of the Strasbourg court were made non-binding.

    To me it is perfectly clear that if you sign up to a treaty article which states:

    “The High Contracting Parties undertake to abide by the final judgment of the Court in any case to which they are parties.”

    or as it was in the original 1950 Convention:

    “The High Contracting Parties undertake to abide by the decision of the Court in any case to which they are parties”.

    then you are consenting to be bound by the judgements of the court; and if you wish to adjust your position on the international plane so that henceforth you can openly treat those judgements as being non-binding and purely advisory then you must derogate from that provision, presently Article 46(1) in the Convention. Allowing people in other countries to believe that you continue to accept that principle, while telling your own people that you no longer accept it, would be dishonest and hypocritical.

    Also the SNP in the shape of the Scottish Government is now trying to stir up opposition to this Tory plan, and falsely claiming that its implementation would require the consent of the Scottish Parliament:

    http://www.scotsman.com/news/uk/tory-human-rights-plan-provokes-holyrood-rebellion-1-3562556

    “Tory human rights plan provokes Holyrood rebellion”

    And a leading article in that newspaper moots that a “federal” solution would be for Scotland to continue to accept the judgements of the Strasbourg court as binding while the rest of the UK did not, a total nonsense.

    It is perfectly clear to anyone who actually reads the Scotland Act 1998 that derogation from Article 46(1) of the Convention, or indeed withdrawal from the Convention as a whole, would be a matter reserved to the UK authorities and it would be completely outside the legislative competence of the devolved Scottish Parliament to either approve or disapprove that being done for the whole of the UK:

    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1998/46/schedule/5

    “International relations, including relations with territories outside the United Kingdom, the European Union (and their institutions) and other international organisations, regulation of international trade, and international development assistance and co-operation are reserved matters.”

    It is true that under the Act the Scottish Parliament is under the constraint that none of the laws it passes can be:

    “incompatible with any of the Convention rights or with EU law”,

    and that it has devolved power with respect to:

    “observing and implementing international obligations, obligations under the Human Rights Convention and obligations under EU law”,

    but it has no legal power whatsoever over the nature of those obligations.

    If a majority of Scots want the Scottish Parliament to have power over international relations rather than the UK Parliament then they should have voted for Scotland to revert to being an independent sovereign state, but they didn’t.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted October 5, 2014 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      Thank you Denis.

      It would help us all if interviewers, especially BBC interviewers, knew what they were talking about, but far too often they are way out of their depth.

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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