Plans to replace Human Rights Act with British Bill of Rights will go ahead, Justice Secretary confirms

The Conservative manifesto pledged to bring in a new 'Bill of Rights' 

Jon Stone
Tuesday 23 August 2016 13:20
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The UK Supreme Court
The UK Supreme Court

Conservative plans to replace the Human Rights Act with a so-called British Bill of Rights will go ahead, the Justice Secretary has said.

Liz Truss dismissed reports that that the Government was abandoning the policy, which was included in the Tories’ 2015 manifesto, to avoid a fight with the Scottish Government

“We are committed to that. That is a manifesto commitment,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Monday morning.

“I’m looking very closely at the details but we have a manifesto commitment to deliver that.”

The Times newspaper reported earlier this month that the draft bill for the act had been junked.

“I think the priority for the justice department will be prison reform and she won’t want another fight with the Scottish government [which is opposed to the policy, and already fighting Brexit],” a source told the newspaper.

“I just don’t think the will is there to drive it through.”

Remembering when Liz Truss gave one of the weirdest speeches ever

The report was a surprise because Theresa May has previously expressed strong support for controversial constitutional change.

“This is Great Britain, the country of Magna Carta, parliamentary democracy and the fairest courts in the world,” she said in a speech in April this year.

“And we can protect human rights ourselves in a way that doesn’t jeopardise national security or bind the hands of parliament.

“A true British bill of rights, decided by parliament and amended by parliament, would protect not only the rights set out in the convention, but could include traditional British rights not protected by the ECHR such as the right to trial by jury.”

She had also however conceded that there would be “no parliamentary majority” for pulling out of the European Convention on Human Rights, of which the Human Rights Act is the current British implementation.

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