Letter: Rights charter remakes politics

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Sir: Your leading article ("Royalty meets radicalism in Wonderland", 15 May) rightly points out the significance of incorporation of the European Convention on Human Rights. Being able to enforce minimum human rights standards in domestic courts will provide fundamental guarantees to individuals who previously would have had to embark on the slow road to Strasbourg.

However, the impact of incorporation will go further. Once part of domestic law, the European Convention will have a salutary impact on all aspects of government. All policy will have to be measured against its standards. Ideally these human rights impact assessments will appear on the face of all Bills.

Members of Parliament will be able to hold the Government to account in relation to fundamental principles. Ministers will have to be able to defend their policies and explain why they are necessary in a democratic society, and proportionate to any legitimate aim pursued.

Parliament does not have a good record in Strasbourg. Over two- thirds of all violations found against the UK stem from legislation. With incorporation, Parliament should be less likely to breach its own required standards.

JONATHAN COOPER

Legal Director

Liberty

London SE1

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