» Monday, June 26, 2006

Human Rights Act

Asked what the Government’s position was on the Human Rights Act, and would it stay, etc, the PMOS replied that he wanted to take a step back of only 50 years, to say that we had been members of the European Convention on Human Rights for 50 years. The Human Rights Act incorporated that into our legislation. The reason why we were members of the European Convention was because it allowed us to comply with our international obligations, and therefore protected British citizens abroad. The Human Rights Act was therefore incorporated into British law, and stopped the process which used to be the case where people had to go to Strasbourg to appeal their cases. The PMOS said that there were problems around the interpretation of the Act, and the DCA were looking at that as part of the overall review which involved the DCA and the Home Office. Lord Goldsmith had made the position for the Government very clear on this yesterday.

Put that the Government had ruled out amending the Human Rights Act, and maybe judges were taking things too literally, the PMOS replied that what we were looking at was the operation of the Act to see what it was that needed to be done to sort out the problems that we had had in this country that other countries which similarly incorporated the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) into their legislation did not have. We believed that it was primarily a matter of interpretation, but that was what was being looked at.

Asked if we had not ruled out amending the legislation, the PMOS said we should see first of all what the result of the review process was.

Put that the Prime Minister had explicitly put on the table the possibility of amending the Act several months ago, but in his speech on Friday, it was interpreted that it was not necessary to change the Act, the PMOS said again that we should wait for the review process. The important thing was to recognise what the Human Rights Act did. What it did was incorporate the ECHR into British legislation.

Asked if nothing could be ruled out, the PMOS said we should wait and see where the process ended up.

Briefing took place at 6:00 | Search for related news

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