Tory human rights proposals confused and contradictory

Responding to the announcement that the the Conservatives would seek to replace the Human Rights Act with a US-style Bill of Rights should they win the next election, Liberal Democrat Leader Ming Campbell said:

David Cameron appears confused. In one sentence he supports a Bill of Rights, while in the next he proposes scrapping the Human Rights Act. Finally he says he wants to keep Britain signed up to the European Convention on Human Rights.

Let us be clear what David Cameron is planning. Under the Tory proposals, British citizens would have to take their cases to Strasbourg if they did not feel they had found justice in the British courts.

The whole point of the Human Rights Act is that British citizens have access to the same rights as everyone else, through the British courts.

David Cameron wants to ration those freedoms. There will be a wide set of rights for those wealthy enough to take their cases to Strasbourg, and restricted rights for everyone else.

The Human Rights Act sets out rights drawn up largely by British lawyers within the European Convention after the Second World War.

Only the Liberal Democrats would defend these hard-earned rights and enshrine them within a new constitutional settlement that would include a Bill of Rights and a written British Constitution.

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3 Responses to Tory human rights proposals confused and contradictory

  1. jailhouselawyer says:

    David Cameron is confused, but so is Tony Blair, and more to the point, so is Menzies Campbell. “The whole point of the Human Rights Act is that British citizens have access to the same rights as everyone else”. This includes prisoners. “David Cameron wants to ration those freedoms”, so does Menzies Campbell, for example, prisoners human rights to the vote.

    It is nonsense to claim that “Only the Liberal Democrats would defend these hard-earned rights”. Menzies Campbell has retreated in this battle over prisoners human rights to vote.

    Let us have some honesty in politics.

  2. Webteam says:

    The European Court of Human Rights recently ruled that it is incompatible with human rights to systematically deny all prisoners the right to vote as is the case in the UK. As a result, the government is now under the obligation to review this unfair discrimination against prisoners. It promised a consultation paper on 2 February but nothing is forthcoming.

    The ECtHR held that Article 3 of Protocol 1 did not give an absolute right to vote, but that any measures of disenfranchisement were not to be taken lightly; and the principle of proportionality required a discernible and sufficient link between the sanction and the conduct and the circumstances of the individual concerned.

    Therefore, while it is not legitimate to impose a blanket ban on voting by all prisoners, it is legitimate, under the ECHR, to impose a limited ban on certain categories of offender – those guilty of electoral fraud, for example.

    Ming’s speech on crime in May specified that he thought the most serious offenders only – those imprisoned for life, for example – should lose the right to vote. He continues to support voting rights for the vast majority of prisoners.

  3. jailhouselawyer says:

    Don’t forget, that some of those life terms have tariffs, for example, of only 3 years, and in fact are only short termers. Even if this was not the case, lifers would be vulnerable if left unprotected by being denied the vote. Most life sentences, involve either murder, manslaughter, rape or arson. As none of these are in any way linked to the electoral process, how can Ming defend his stance? He cannot. He is making a moral judgment. He is not the leader of the Moral Party, but the leader of the LibDems.

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