UK Government ditches controversial Bill of Rights
The UK Government has decided not to proceed with the Bill of Rights, the Justice Secretary has said.
Alex Chalk confirmed in the House of Commons that former Justice Secretary Dominic Raab’s plans to rewrite human rights law will be officially shelved after “having carefully considered the Government’s legislative programme in the round”.
The Justice Secretary said ministers remain committed to “a human rights framework which is up-to-date and fit for purpose and works for the British people”.
Concerns had long been raised by parliamentarians, lawyers, and human rights organisations, among others, over the proposals for a new Bill of Rights.
Mr Raab had introduced the Bill during his first stint as justice secretary, but it was then shelved by Liz Truss’s short-lived government.
Once back in the Cabinet, Mr Raab was set to revive it as part of the Government’s strategy to deal with the crisis of migrant small boats crossing the English Channel but it was again thrown in thrown into doubt after his resignation.
Speaking during justice questions on Tuesday, the Conservative chairman of the Commons Justice Committee Sir Bob Neill asked Mr Chalk to confirm whether it was the Government’s intention to “update and modernise our human rights law as necessary, but doing so whilst firmly remaining in adherence to the Convention on Human Rights”.
Mr Chalk replied: “Yes, that’s correct. I can say also that having carefully considered the Government’s legislative programme in the round, I can inform the House we have decided not to proceed with the Bill of Rights.”
He added: “But let me say that the Government remains committed to a human rights framework which is up-to-date and fit for purpose and works for the British people.
“We have taken and are taking action to address specific issues with the Human Rights Act and the European Convention, including through the Illegal Migration Bill, the Victims and Prisoners Bill and Overseas Operations Act 2021 and indeed, the Northern Ireland Legacy Bill, the last of which addressed vexatious claims against veterans and the armed forces.
“It is right that we recalibrate and rebalance our constitution over time. That process continues.”
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