Government delays Human Rights Act repeal amid opposition from senior Tories

Full legislation to repeal the Human Rights Act will not be brought forward in the Queen's Speech

Jon Stone
Wednesday 27 May 2015 10:32
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The Prime Minister has made the abolition of Labour’s 1998 legislation a key part of his 100-day policy offensive
The Prime Minister has made the abolition of Labour’s 1998 legislation a key part of his 100-day policy offensive

Today’s Queen’s Speech will not include full legislation to replace the Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights in this session of parliament, it has emerged.

The address laying out the Government’s legislative programme is expected to include only a consultation on the measure, which was included in the Conservative manifesto.

But full legislation may have to wait until next year as the Government works out how best to approach the project amid opposition from senior Tories.

A government source told The Times newspaper that ministers want to get the replacement of the bill “right, rather than quickly” and reportedly said it would be “odd if we did not consult widely”.

The new policy is a reversal of previous pledges that the Human Rights Act would be scrapped within the first 100 days of a Conservative majority government.

The project to replace the Act is being headed by Michael Gove, who was appointed by Justice Secretary in the post-election cabinet reshuffle.

Mr Gove faces a difficult political task to complete his objective. The Government has a narrow majority of 11 seats and a number of Conservative MPs have already voice public opposition to the scrapping of the Human Rights Act.

In October last year Dominic Grieve, the former attorney-general, wrote in Prospect magazine that is party’s proposals “represent a failure of ambition by the Conservative Party on the global promotion of human rights”.

“Those who believe in the rule of law and our freedoms should make their voices heard,” he added.

Other prominent so-called “Runnymede Tories” – so-named because of the location the Magna Carta was signed – include former Tory leadership candidate David Davis and former chief whip Andrew Mitchell.

The Queen’s Speech is also expected to outline plans for tax cuts, an EU referendum, further Scottish devolution and an extension of the Right To Buy scheme to housing association tenants.

The address will be delivered at 11.30am in the presence of MPs and peers in the House of Lords, and marks the state opening of parliament.

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