Tories plan human rights laws overhaul in coming year

Pulling out of the European Convention on Human Rights completely is still being considered, says Justice Secretary Chris Grayling

Antonia Molloy
Monday 30 December 2013 11:45 GMT
The Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling
The Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling

The Conservative Party will draft proposed new laws to curb the impact of European human rights legislation on Britain in the coming year, the Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has said.

Pulling out of the European Convention on Human Rights completely is still being considered by the party, Mr Grayling added.

Other possibilities are also being reviewed as the Tory pitch for the 2015 general election is drawn up.

Speaking on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, Mr Grayling said the final proposals would emerge shortly.

He said: "Whatever we try to do as a party - because this is not an issue that unites the Coalition... the Conservative Party's intention is to go into the next election with a clear plan for change.

"It is absolutely clear Parliament has the sovereign right to implement that change should it choose to do so.

"We have been looking at a number of options, of which leaving the Convention is one. It's not the only option we are considering and we will bring forward plans in the next few weeks which will set out very clearly what we will do and how we will do it.

"Later in the year we will publish a draft Bill which will set out precisely how that legal change will take place."

Mr Grayling said the original drafting of the Convention was not a problem as it included a "sensible balance" between rights and responsibilities.

But he repeated criticisms of its interpretation and implementation - and impact on the British courts.

"There are four different principles that have to underpin what we do," he said.

"We have to curtail the role of the court in the UK, we have to replace the Human Rights Act, which as (former Lord Chief Justice) Lord Judge rightly says is one of the key reasons why the European Court of Human Rights seems to have such sway in the UK.

"We have got to ensure there is a balance of rights and responsibilities in our laws - and that balance of rights and responsibilities does exist in the original Convention.

"And above all, we have to make our Supreme Court supreme. I do not believe decisions about the way this country is governed - we are a democracy after all - should be taken elsewhere."

Additional reporting PA

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