LETTER : Beyond the reach of majority votes

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The Independent Online
From Mr Tom Yardley

Sir: In attacking John Wadham's call for a comprehensive Bill of Rights (Letters, 23 February), Robert Armstrong is surely missing the point. The European Convention on Human Rights, far from being obsolete, has proved a vital bulwark against the arbitrary use of executive power. The question Mr Wadham is asking is whether we should consider granting rights in addition to this basic framework.

Given the number of occasions on which the present administration has been found in breach of even the minimal safeguards afforded by the European Convention on Human Rights, the belief that the government of the day can be entrusted with protecting our rights is hardly creditable. That a Bill of Rights would be difficult to amend is the best argument for having one.

The need for a larger (and therefore by definition more representative) majority before any change could be made would ensure that ill-conceived legislation which threatens our rights could not be rushed through parliament. The sooner our rights are placed outside the party political arena, the better.

Yours faithfully,

Tom Yardley