Raab vows to protect free speech from ‘wokery’ with plan to scrap Human Rights Act

Justice secretary ‘feels very strongly’ that democratic debate being ‘whittled away’

Adam Forrest
Saturday 26 March 2022 16:39 GMT
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The justice secretary said his proposals would stop free speech and democratic debate from being ‘whittled away’ by ‘wokery and political correctness’
The justice secretary said his proposals would stop free speech and democratic debate from being ‘whittled away’ by ‘wokery and political correctness’ (PA Wire)

Deputy prime minister Dominic Raab has said his plan to replace Labour’s Human Rights Act will would ensure the principle of free speech became a legal “trump card”.

The justice secretary said his proposals would stop free speech and democratic debate from being “whittled away” by “wokery and political correctness”.

The government’s plan to replace the landmark Human Rights Act with a new UK Bill of Rights – currently out for consultation – will better protect media freedom, Mr Raab claimed.

The senior minister said free speech had to be given “different status in the pecking order of rights”.

Mr Raab told the Daily Mail: “Effectively, free speech will be given what will amount to ‘trump card’ status in a whole range of areas.”

He said: “The thrust is going to be making sure that when we balance rights, whether it’s the right to free speech and the right to privacy or other rights, we make sure that the greatest overriding importance and weight is attached to free speech.”

Despite the promised changes, Mr Raab said checks would remain on free speech to prevent the incitement of violence or promotion of terrorism.

“We will still be clamping down on those who try and use either media or free speech to incite violence, to radicalise terrorists, or to threaten children. All of those safeguards will be in place,” he said.

Mr Raab said: “But we’ve got to be able to strengthen free speech, the liberty that guards all of our other freedoms, and stop it being whittled away surreptitiously, sometimes without us really being conscious of it.

“I feel very strongly that the parameters of free speech and democratic debate are being whittled away, whether by the privacy issue or whether it’s wokery and political correctness.”

He added: “So it will have a different status in the pecking order of rights and I think that will go a long way to protecting this country’s freedom of speech and our history, which has always very strongly protected freedom of speech.”

Mr Raab also told the paper the UK Bill of Rights would make deportation mandatory for all foreign criminals jailed for at least a year.

Meanwhile, The Telegraph reports that, as part of a wider reform of parole proceedings, Mr Raab is set to take back powers to override the Parole Board when it comes to the release of dangerous criminals from jail.

It follows public outcry at the decision to release double child killer and rapist Colin Pitchfork from jail.

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