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Welsh ministers confirm opposition to Westminster’s new Bill of Rights

23 Jun 2022 4 minutes Read
Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Secretary Dominic Raab. Photo Joe Giddens PA Images

The Welsh Government has confirmed its opposition to the UK Government’s new Bill of Rights, describing it as an effort to “dilute the rights of the people of Wales and the UK”.

Ministers also said they had no advanced sight of the legislation, which was introduced in the House of Commons yesterday, except for five clauses which were provided at the end of last week.

The proposed legislation was put before MPs after the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg disrupted the UK Government’s controversial flagship policy for asylum seekers who arrive on unauthorised journeys.

In a written statement Mick Antoniw, Counsel General & Minister for the Constitution and Jane Hutt MS, Minister for Social Justice also complained of a lack of engagement with the Welsh Government since consultation on the Bill closed at the end of March.

Responding to the introduction of the Bill by Dominic Raab, the Justice Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister, the joint statement said: “We set out our substantial concerns about this Bill in our formal response to the consultation.

“As we said then, the Welsh Government is opposed to any proposal to replace the Human Rights Act.

“It is our view that this action would be part of a concerted effort to dilute the rights of the people of Wales and the UK.

“We understand there was a very large response to this consultation, and we know that many others have expressed their concerns that the UK Government’s proposals represent a serious regression on human rights in the UK, at a time when it has never been more important to uphold international law.”

“Although the Deputy Prime Minister has said that the UK will remain a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights, it seems clear that the intention is to undermine the Convention by increasing the rights of UK Ministers and reducing the power of UK courts, as well as the European Court of Human Rights, to enforce the rule of law and hold Ministers to account.”

‘Common sense’

Introducing the Bill, Mr Raab told the House of Commons that a British Bill of Rights will “restore a healthy dose of common sense” to the justice system.

He also sought to reassure members that the UK will not leave the European Convention on Human Rights, an international agreement that underpins human rights law as well as peace in Northern Ireland.

Mr Raab said: “Our Bills of Rights will strengthen our proud tradition of freedom, it will demarcate a clearer separation of powers.

“It will ensure greater respect for our democratic institutions, and it will better protect the public and restore a healthy dose of common sense to the justice system which is essential for commanding public confidence.

“Ultimately it will make us freer, it will help keep our streets safer.

“We will strengthen the separation of powers in this country, affirming the supremacy of the Supreme Court, being explicit that the UK courts are under no obligation to follow the Strasbourg case law and indeed are free to diverge from it.”

But Mr Raab said the UK “intends to remain a state party” to the European Convention on Human Rights.

He added: “The problems that we encountered have stemmed from the elastic interpretations and the expansion of absent meaningful democratic oversight, in particular as a result of the procedural framework set out in the Human Rights Act.”

The key objects with reform, he said, are to “reinforce those quintessentially UK-wide rights like freedom of speech”, adding “we will also recognise the role of jury trial”.


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The Original Mark
The Original Mark
13 days ago

You just know that anything Raab comes out with is total BS, he wouldn’t know the truth if it slapped him in the face. tory scum.

Not My Real Name
Not My Real Name
13 days ago

He doesn’t even realise he is the sacrificial goat. Anything that is unpopular, Johnson delegates to Raab to defend. It’s the “give him enough rope” strategy Johnson uses with all his potential leadership rivals. He is the worst PM this country has ever known, but he is positively Machiavellian when pursuing his own interests and obsession with power

andrew r north
andrew r north
13 days ago

Well i havent heard too many people claiming he is intelligent. Not unusual on the front bench of the con party. Just refer to the geniouses dulles, pritti vacant, shatts, etc. Dullards all. A famous quote – they are educated beyond their intelligence

andrew r north
andrew r north
13 days ago

Correct. The man is a phsyco ass licker and a pathelogical liar

Doctor Trousers
13 days ago

So the ECHR prevents the tories from deporting people to Ghana, and then they just happen to introduce proposals for a new bill of rights in the immediate aftermath? In other words, they’re definitely going to try and withdraw from the ECHR. It is my understanding that any attempt to withdraw from the ECHR would not only threaten the Good Friday agreement, it would also trigger renegotiations of the Welsh and Scottish devolution agreements, as ECHR compliance is written into them. What happens then? And, assuming something like the NI protocol is introduced to maintain ECHR compliance outside of England,… Read more »

Gareth
Gareth
13 days ago

To think that only a few years ago, the UK Gov would tell everybody how proud they were, in being part of the body that set up the ECHR, in the 1940s lead by W Churchill, and how the UK leads the world in human rights, while lecturing to countries eg Syria, Afghanistan. Now without batting an eyelid, they are about to walk away , and label the ECHR as irrelevant, because it no longer fits in with the fascist agenda of the current UK gov. Despicable actions from a despicable bunch of right wing thugs, not much better than… Read more »

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
13 days ago
Reply to  Gareth

I heartily recommend you read the Wikipedia article “Law in Nazi Germany” in conjunction with the stuff this government is keen on passing. From the internal Markets Bill to the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill to this odious piece of work the bypassing of parliamentary oversight by handing ministers direct power is the Ennabling Acts modernised. They even want a “Flag Act” to give precedence to a defunct “Butcher’s Apron” which should have been modernised on Irish independence. They had bills then to enhance police powers, to ban strikes, forbid protests and a Citizenship Law scarily similar to what Priti Patel… Read more »

Gareth
Gareth
13 days ago
Reply to  Gareth

Should read, led by Churchill not lead, my apologies.

andrew r north
andrew r north
13 days ago
Reply to  Gareth

The comparisons to 30s facism is absolutely clearly correct. Heil Boris.

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
13 days ago

I don’t want Raabs’ ‘common sense’, I just want my rights.

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