01 May 2016
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The Conservative government's proposal to replace the Human Rights Act with a 'British Bill of Rights' has been heavily criticised by the House of Lords European Union Committee in a report that says there is "a forceful case for the Government to think again before continuing with this policy."
See: House of Lords European Union Committee: The UK, the EU and a British Bill of Rights (9 May 2016, pdf)
Summarising their report, the Committee said:
"Doubts about the wisdom of introducing a British Bill of Rights grew with each evidence session we held. Many witnesses thought the current Human Rights Act incorporated the European Convention on Human Rights into national law in a peculiarly British way, and doubted more needed to be done to put human rights in a national context. Many thought that any restriction of the existing scope of rights under the Human Rights Act would lead to greater reliance on the EU Charter in national courts—a perverse consequence of a Bill of Rights that is intended to stamp national identity on human rights, particularly in view of the greater enforcement powers of the EU Charter. Many of our witnesses were deeply concerned about the effect of departing from the rights provided for in the Convention on the UK’s international standing, particularly among EU Member States, and on the UK’s ability to participate effectively in EU policies on fighting international crime."
Press coverage: British bill of rights could 'unravel' constitution, say MPs (The Guardian, link) and British Bill of Rights plans should be abandoned, say peers (Politics Home, link)
Oral and written evidence submitted to the Committee:
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