British Bill of Rights plan shelved again for several more years, Justice Secretary confirms

Liz Truss said the bill would not happen until at least after Brexit

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Indy Politics

The long-running Conservative proposal for a “British Bill of Rights” has once again been shelved for several more years.

The policy, which proposes a legal document to replace the Human Rights Act, was originally floated before the 2010 election by David Cameron.

Liz Truss, the Justice Secretary, has now, however, confirmed that the Government will again delay looking at creating such a Bill until after Brexit, which is unlikely to take place until 2019.

​Another general election is also due in 2020.

The 2010 Coalition agreement said the Government would investigate the creation of the new bill. But in 2012, a commission set by the Government failed to reach unanimous conclusions and the idea was kicked into the long grass.

The proposal was resurrected before the 2015 general election and Mr Cameron’s majority Conservative government said it was committed to the idea but consistently refused to publish a timescale.

Now the plan has been delayed again because the Government wants to only “do one constitutional reform at a time”. 

Ms Truss said in an interview with Parliament’s The House magazine: “Given that we are leaving the European Union and we will have the Great Repeal Bill going through Parliament, clearly that is going to signify a major constitutional change.  

“So the British Bill of Rights, whilst it remains a commitment, is not something we can do at the same time as we are putting through that Great Repeal Bill.

“That is going to affect the constitution. It’s important we only do one constitutional reform at a time.”

Ms Truss’s announcement confirms reports that Downing Street sources believed the Government currently has too much on its plate to implement the bill.

In April last year, Theresa May, then Home Secretary, said Britain should withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights, arguing that it “adds nothing to our prosperity”.

The Human Rights Act, which a British Bill of Rights would replace, enshrines the ECHR rights into British law and extends their applicability to all public authorities, such as the police.

In December, it was reported that Ms May would fight the 2020 election on withdrawing from the convention.