Booth joins call for rights commission

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The Independent Online

Cherie Booth QC is expected to clash with the Government today when she joins speakers calling on Labour to honour its manifesto commitment to human rights.

Cherie Booth QC is expected to clash with the Government today when she joins speakers calling on Labour to honour its manifesto commitment to human rights.

The Prime Minister's wife, who this year helped set up a chambers specialising in the new legislation, is understood to be sympathetic to demands that the Government establishes a commission to oversee the workings of the new Human Rights Act, which came into force last month.

Ms Booth will be the lead speaker at the Law Centres Federation (LCF) annual conference in Grantham where Liberty, the civil rights group, and a number of high-profile lawyers will accuse the Government of failing some of the poorest members of society.

The federation believes that without a Human Rights Commission, "upholding of people's rights" will fall to law centres which offer free legal advice to those who cannot afford to pay for it. Today the federation will call on the Government to ensure that everyone has "access to the legal support needed to enforce their rights".

Yesterday the Home Office confirmed it had no plans to establish a commission or sign up to a new European-wide anti-discrimination law.

Ms Booth will be joined by James Welch, legal affairs director of Liberty, who will remind the Government that the new law would help many different groups to get justice.

Protocol number 12 of the Human Rights Act gives general protection from arbitrary discrimination to all citizens whose governments have become signatories to the new law.

Mr Welch said he suspected the Government was "scared of the consequences" of widening the impact of the Human Rights Act because there would be many more people who could bring claims against the Government and public bodies.