Human Rights Act 'was used as scapegoat'

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Indy Politics

Senior ministers have been accused of fuelling public concern about the Human Rights Act by using it as a scapegoat for failings in the Government.

In a report, the Parliamentary Human Rights Committee said ministers had wrongly blamed the Act or its interpretation in three controversial cases: the comments by the Home Secretary, John Reid, on the deportation of foreign prisoners; the Afghan hijackers who won an appeal against deportation; and Anthony Rice, a sex offender who killed Naomi Bryant shortly after being released from prison.

In all these cases, ministers had criticised the Human Rights Act even though it did not apply. The report said: "The Human Rights Act has been used as a convenient scapegoat for unrelated administrative failings within government.

"In each case very senior ministers, from the Prime Minister down, made assertions that the Human Rights Act, or judges or officials interpreting it, were responsible for certain unpopular events when ... in each case these assertions were unfounded."