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Conservative MPs must keep making the case for scrapping the Human Rights Act

I believe that our Government shouldn't be compliant in the torture of Abid Naseer.  Were it to return him to Pakistan, he probably would be so treated.  So he shouldn't be sent there.

But I accept the view of the Special Immigration and Appeals Commission, which says that he represents a "serious threat" to public safety.  A Commission panel saw closed material including "pointers to an imminent attack".

It follows that Naseer should therefore be put on trial if possible.  (The Party's been campaigning to make intercept evidence admissible in court.)  If not, he should be put in prison.

Theresa May has said that the Government's taking "all possible measures" to ensure that Naseer doesn't engage in terrorism.  The use of the qualifying word "possible" suggests that it may be impossible to stop him.

What helps drive this risk to public safety?  The Human Rights Act, of course.  The Party was pledged to replace it with a British Act of Rights.  Such a measure might have helped to protect the public in this case.

But it now looks unlikely to be brought forward.  The Liberal Democrats are among Parliament's leading champions of the Human Rights Act.  So we read that a committee is to examine the issue - i.e: boot it into the long grass.

That Naseer is to be constrained only by the discredited Control Orders regime - one that provides neither security not liberty, and which is gradually being picked to pieces by the courts - is a vivid demonstration of why the Act doesn't work.

Nick Clegg's speech this morning on new politics here was in many ways admirable.  He referred at one point to "great, British freedoms".  But there's nothing British about the Human Rights Act.  It helps pass power from elected to unelected people - and is therefore, in a profound sense, anti-democratic.

The Naseer imbroglio, then, provides further evidence of the deep problems thrown up by coalition.   An impasse on the Act was in neither Party's manifesto.  There's certainly no mandate for it.  If Conservative MPs don't keep making the case for scrapping the Act - and strongly - there's little point in them being there.

Paul Goodman


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