The Tories have announced plans to scrap the Human Rights Act if they win at next year’s general election, stripping British citizens of the final layer of protection from governmental abuse.
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said that the Conservatives would introduce a “British Bill of Rights” to stop British laws being overruled by human rights rulings from Strasbourg. The Conservatives also warned that they would be prepared to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) if it could not be reworked so that Westminster and UK courts can veto laws from applying to the UK.
The Conservatives came up against the ECHR when attempting to deport radical cleric Abu Qatada, with European judges delaying the process and adding extra expense to the British taxpayer, as the government were forced to obtain assurances that evidence obtained by torture would not be used in his trial.
However, both Labour and Liberal Democrats have said that the move was politically motivated, with the Tories hoping that the public will conflate the European Union and the ECHR, and that being tough on the ECHR will show that the Tories are being “tough” with the EU.
UKIP leader Nigel Farage managed to conflate the EU and ECHR during his televised debates with Nick Clegg, and gained further support for his stance, and the Tories hope that with their plan for a British Bill of Rights they can replicate his success.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International said that the Tory proposals “would irreparably harm” the protections offered to “men and women in the darker places of Europe” and the Council of Europe, which is comprised of European Convention member states, said it was “inconceivable” that teh UK, as a founding member, would leave the convention.