The newly formed UK Government has announced plans to repeal the 1998 Human Rights Act (HRA).
This proposal is not new. The Conservative party promised to repeal the HRA in 2010 and replace it with a British Bill of Rights, but ended up governing in coalition with the Liberal Democrats, a party whose social agenda is close to that pursued by the ECtHR’s judicial activism. A Commission on a Bill of Rights was set up, but failed to reach a consensus. In the 2015 manifesto the pledge re-emerged. Having won a majority on the May 7th Prime Minister David Cameron is now pressing ahead. The government believes that scrapping the HRA would:
- “Break the formal link between British courts and the European Court of Human Rights and make our own Supreme Court the ultimate arbiter of human rights matters in the UK” and,
- “Stop terrorists and other serious foreign criminals who pose a threat to our society from using spurious human rights arguments to prevent deportation.”
It also intends to go ahead with a “British Bill of Rights” to:
- “Remain faithful to the basic principles of human rights, which we signed up to in the original European Convention on Human Rights.”
- “Reverse the mission creep that has meant human rights law being used for more and more purposes, and often with little regard for the rights of wider society”