» Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Control Orders

Asked for a reaction to the ruling in the High Court that control orders were illegal under the ECHR, the PMOS said that it was difficult because the judge had not yet published his judgment. All he would say was that, as people knew, Parliament had discussed at length both the principle and the implementation of control orders and we had always maintained that, if necessary, we would take it through the courts as far as we needed to. We should wait for the final judgement though. Asked if this meant that the Government would appeal, the PMOS said that he didn’t want to pre-empt the Home Office on matters which were primarily for them to respond to once they had the final judgement.

Asked if this would lead to a new determination by the Government to review the Human Rights Act, the PMOS said that we should first of all wait and see what this ruling actually amounted to. Secondly people already knew that there was a process underway looking at the issues around the Human Rights Act and the interpretation of it. The PMOS reminded journalists that the ECHR had been in place for 50 years and what the Human Rights Act did was simply translate that into British law. Asked if we couldn’t just derogate from ECHR on this issue, the PMOS said that it was too early even to start speculating on this issue. We should wait for the full judgment, respond to that and then look at the implications of that.

Asked if the Prime Minister thought it was acceptable that legislation which he had taken through Parliament could be struck down in this way by human rights legislation, the PMOS said that there were a number of assumptions built into that question. Without wishing to comment on this particular case, in the absence of a final judgment, what we had said in the past was that we would look at the issue of interpretation of the Human Rights Act because there appeared to be a problem in this country concerning the interpretation of the act which other countries in a similar position did not have. That was what we had said in the past and that position remained. That was already part of the review which was taking place in the Home Office and DCA as well. Asked when that review would take place, the PMOS said that in terms of the Home Office aspects of it, John Reid had said that he would put forward details of proposals before the summer break. In terms of the DCA it was more likely to be early autumn. This was an issue which the Prime Minister had been addressing for quite some time. What he had said, for instance around the time of the passage of control orders in Parliament was that he believed that we did need to be able to legislate to deal with these kinds of cases and that if necessary that should be tested through the courts. We would continue to believe that action in these kinds of cases was necessary and we would do all we could to make sure that action took place.

Briefing took place at 8:00 | Search for related news

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