Conservative plan to abolish the Human Rights Act

In September the Conservative party announced plans to undermine the Human Rights Act and to prevent the European Court of Human Rights from overruling decisions made by UK courts.

I find this proposal shocking and appalling.

The European Convention on Human Rights, which the Human Rights Act gives binding force in UK law, has been essential in improving human rights, not just in the UK, but throughout Europe.

The Conservatives are said to be planning a “Bill of Rights” to place the Human Rights Act that would abolish the right to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights against decisions made by British courts.

Replacing the Human Rights Act with a UK “Bill of Rights” appeared in the 2010 Conservative election manifesto. The Conservatives have sought to exploit a small number of cases with unpopular decisions in order to justify scrapping the whole Act.

However, as my Labour colleague MEP Richard Howitt put it in a recent article on the subject:

“But all advocates of human rights and any responsible political party must equally make the case that human rights are not about its subjects being popular, but about minimum standards of legal treatment for all human beings irrespective of popularity.”

I am hopeful we will be able to retain this vital piece of legislation and you can rest assured that Labour MEPs oppose this plan.