« David Cameron pledges that no Conservative minister with a grace-and-favour residence would claim expenses for a second home | Main | Introducing the candidates for the chairmanship of the National Conservative Convention »


The answer is 'no'.

The highest legal authority in Britain should not be a foreign court. Though the HRA absorbs the ECHR into British law, power still lays in the hands of activist continental judges.

For a "Conservative" to advocate that the law of the land be made anywhere other than parliament is disgraceful.

The solution is simple; abolish the Human Rights Act and withdraw from ECHR.

If we are a sovereign nation then the answer must be yes since we can leave any organisation as and when we wish.

However I fear the answer is not as I would wish.

I have a horrible feeling that we cannot withdraw from this. I wish we could but I fear that, like the Treaty of Rome and the Lisbon Treaty, it is a one way ticket.

I sincerely that some way WILL be found to abolish the HRA, because if we don't it will continue to be abused benefitting ONLY, lawyers - at taxpayers expense, yet again!

It would be stupid to abolish the Human Rights Act, that'd just cause trouble. What we should do is what France and most other Eu countries do: make our laws the apply above those of the HRA. Through this we would caus3e minimal trouble, while solving many of the problems (such as criminals being treated as victims) that 'Broken Britain' currently faces. Cameron needs to pull his finger out and for once speak out against a government proposal!

The French and Germans ignore any unfortunate dicta by the European court by simply stating that it is "contrary to the constitution". We are the oldest constitutional democracy in the world, and the european democracies owe their existence in a large part to the efforts of our ancestors, It's about time we concentrated the collective minds of our highly qualified and experienced lawyers to protect the rights and privileges of the British rather than gold-plating the vapourings of an alien civilisation to remove our ancient liberties.

Oh for Heaven's sake let's just be done with it and get out of the EU fullstop.

If I remember correctly membership of the ECHR is a prerequisite to being a member of the Council of Europe which is a prerequisite for membership of the European Union.

So does anyone want to unravel all of this in one go?

Sorting policy out is Oliver Letwin's job.

So why has it not been sorted out in this area?

abolish the Human Rights Act and withdraw from ECHR.

Couldn't disagree more. If a country like the UK doesn't stick with the ECHR, why will countries with real human rights problems? We'd be sending the wrong message.

If people really want out then admit they just see this as a way of getting out the EU and couldn't care less about the ECHR.

Fortunately I don't think the Conservatives will give in to such narrow-minded thinking.

Withdraw from the ECHR, EU and European Court of Justice and abolish the Human Rights Act - this will allow the UK to properly sort out crime and terrorism including introducing forms of Capital and Corporal Punishment and other currently banned forms of punishment in the Criminal Justice system, and have longer prison sentences.

Raj, we don't need the Human Rights Act; we have 1000 years of Common Law, we have Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights.

If you care about sending the wrong message to countries with poor human rights records, perhaps Britain should stop trying to abolish jury trials, perhaps Britain should stop introducing arbitrary detention without trial, perhaps Britain should stop spying on its citizens and turning into a police state. The ECHR has stopped none of these anti-freedon measures from New Labour.

And in answer to Tim Roll-Pickering's question, YES- unravel away!

As Mr Cleethorpes points out....there is an argument that the Common Law, Magan Carter and Bill of Rights gives adequate protection to British people. This was the argument used for not incorporating until 1998.

However, there is substantive case law that shows that the rights enshrined therein were lacking in Positive Rights.

For me, the problem with the ECHR is interpretation. The lawyers that drafted it back in the 40s never dreamed in their most wildest nightmares that people trying to kill us would not be able to be deported in case somebody in their home country was nasty to them.

The whole thing is madness. In the application of any law you have to consdier what the intent was in drafting that law. It ceratinly wasn't to protect people like Abu Hamza and his ilk.

Tony, I'm legally ignorant. Please can you explain "positive rights"?

I think your argument about interpretation is correct- indeed I think ECHR was drafted by British lawyers, among the Sir David Maxwell-Fyffe, the Tory Home secretary. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

The ‘Yuman Rites Act’ belongs with the PC side of ‘elf ’n’ safety’ – consigned to that cliché - the dustbin of history!

If the Left imagine that signing this ‘Yuman Rites Act’ will encourage countries that truly need it – such as Mugabe’s Zimbabwe – they are seriously deluded.

And – isn’t it ironic that – since the Comrades ‘signed up’ to the ‘Yuman Rites Act’ – our ‘rights’ as subjects of this country have been gradually eroded – through Lefty legislation.

Yet – again ironically – we have to sit helplessly while Left-leaning judges in the UK rule that foreign terrorists – temporarily living in our country – can’t be deported because it will infringe their ‘Yuman Rites’. Whilst our liberties are disappearing, it appears there is a new ‘Yuman Rite’ – to be a terrorist!

It requires only a simpler piece of legislation confirming that the laws of the United Kingdom take precedence within our boundaries over any laws promulgated by other bodies or countries.

No MP could conceivably vote against it unless intending to resign his or her seat. That is exactly what any dissenter should be morally obliged to do.

we have Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights

No, we don't. Subsequent law has made them all but irrelevant. They're wonderful for nostalgia purposes but don't help real people with real problems.

Why don’t motorists have ‘Yuman Rites’? Why are the police allowed to use Stasi spy methods to persecute motorists with ever-more draconian, and disproportionate means?

Why aren’t the police pursuing ‘real’ criminals with the same vigour? Then perhaps the yobs on the streets might be prevented from stabbing, and shooting each other.

It’s about time right-wingers ‘reclaimed the roads’ – to purloin a Lefty phrase – and demonstrated against this latest outrage.

According to the Mail on Sunday: “Big Brother row as police force starts using Google camera cars to fine wayward drivers” – and I think the key paragraph is: “Nigel Humphries, from the Association of British Drivers, said: 'This is a total infringement. They might as well put something in cars to test what drivers are thinking – to see if they are concentrating on the road or thinking about something else.”


You should be able to sign up for the convention and not need a European court to second guess the best legal minds of our sovereign nation.

The ECHR is one of the better bits of European law. Compared to the Lisbon treaty it is brevity itself and written in language that most laymen would understand.

I agree that Human Rights are so important that agreeing to a common convention should be a prerequisite for EU membership. You just don't need another set of lawyers and judges squandering precious resources.

Simple get out.
We need only our own laws.
They have served us well. That is how we became the home of democracy. The EU gives us "rights" rather than assuming we have them anyway. This means they can just as easily take them away. Our laws did not do this. They stated the extent to which the government could interfere with our natural rights to live our lives as we like. This is the crucial difference.
Get out of the EU. Get our country back. How simply does it need to be stated?


The Human Rights Act isn't a particularly bad effort at limiting the infringement of the ECHR on sovereignty and democratic decision making. If you get rid of it without getting rid of the ECHR then you'll either repeatedly get taken to Strasbourg or need to create a replacement (the "British" Bill of Rights") which will need to do all the same things.

I actually think that this is one area where I'd rather leave the current Government in charge. All the British Bill of Rights will do is put a much better PR spin on the Human Rights Act. It'll suggest to people that the issue has been dealt with and make it much harder to get real reform till a new series of cases discredits the system, and the Conservatives along with it.

That's no accident. Dominic Grieve is an absolute fanatic on this subject, and is well aware the party disagree with him. He said as much in his maiden speech. This policy is designed to hoodwink the Conservative membership and the electorate.

"abolish the Human Rights Act and withdraw from ECHR."

I agree 100%, but we will need a restatement of the Bill of Rights in its place. I think a British court should be the absolute final authority in Britain. If we are serious about restoring the rights that Labour has removed a human rights act would be unnecessary.

"we have 1000 years of Common Law, we have Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights."

Absolutely right, we should simply blow the dust off the old British constitution.

It is typical of the Nasty Party to call for the end of human rights for citizens. For the Nasty Party to suggest that people do not deserve minimum standards which cannot lawfully be breached can only mean that if they got in to power God help us all because there will be no protection from abuses of power.

"It is typical of the Nasty Party to call for the end of human rights for citizens."

That is no the case at all. We don't need the Human rights legislation that Labour is forcing on us. It is Labour that has systematically eroded the Human rights of the British people.Labour want a DNA data base and biometric ID cards. Labour want to be able to bold people without trail for years on end. Labour has shown its true colours when in the name of Human rights it forced smokers out of the public bars. Even when a compromise would have worked well and protected both the health of nonsmokers and the public houses themselves. We have no need of Labours Human rights, which water down those rights that are already enshrined in our constitution. Labour want to take away many rights, and are using their "human rights bill" as a smoke screen.Its a typical case of Labour dishonesty. In Labour speak "human rights bill" is double plus good, whilst our British constitution is being quietly forgotten. people deserve more than the watered down rights that Labour are selling like the snake oil salesman they are.As it is Labour have become the new nasty party and the new kings of sleaze. A new British Bill of rights will give the people of this nation far better protection from abuse than anything that Comrade Brown can come up with. We don't want or need a Stalinist police state, and believe me that is exactly what Labours awful policies are leading us into. Just as their minimum wage has meant that many people are now paid less, with the full backing of governement, their Human rights Bill will effectively remove many of the rights that we hold dear.

The UK has been judged to have been guilty in over 100 cases brought before the European Court of Human Rights. The UK is a serial offender. Rather than calls to scrap the Human Rights Act and pull out of the Convention, there should be calls to clean up our atrocious record of human rights violations. A country with so many convictions can lay claim to being civilised.

Of course that should be "cannot".

I have to say that I don't understand all of the arguments over the ECHR set out in the comments here. Almost all of the convention rights are derived from English law principles in any event. Which of them would people abolish? The right to life? The right not to be tortured? The right to a fair trial by an impartial jury? Which judgment of the ECHR or the UK Courts do you object to? Set out your objection in detail and then we can discuss it - but until you do, simply railing against the ECHR or 'activist' judges makes it impossible for those of us who think that in broad terms the convention rights are a good idea to know what the objections are.

The problems with the Human Rights Act appears to me to be two-fold - first, the increase in litigation that gets inaccurately reported and portrayed as something that it isn't - second, if you give judges a decision that has political implications, then they will make a decision that is political.

As a professor at the Cardiff Law School said at a meeting that I attended recently, the process of the defence of human rights is a process that began many centuries ago; but there has been no 'golden age' of human rights - we can hark back to the Magna Carta, but if you think a serf was able to access the rights in that Great Charter, you're dreaming. We can hark back to the Bill of Rights, but again, if you think that an individual from a slum in one of our greater cities had access to those rights, you're dreaming. The accession to the ECHR and the passage of the HRA is part of that process - as are the infringements on liberty contained in many acts and bills recently and currently before Parliament.

Personally, I am persuaded that the HRA is now so discredited that we need to find a way to overcome the difficulties that it has created - for one thing the HRA certificate has been apended to many pieces of legislation that subsequently has been found to be incompatible with some right or other in the Convention by the UK courts and the Strasbourg court. At the same time we do need to ensure that the replacement is not in some way a litigant's charter - and we need to ensure that media reporting is accurate and clear.

But withdrawal from the ECHR is not something that I would, on current terms, agree with. Membership of the Council of Europe has benefits in terms of foreign policy and engagement with countries in and on the fringes of Europe that our Government uses all of the time. The influence our membership give us is significant. Unless someone actually sets out an argument that is more than simply regurgitating a headline or two, I won't be persuaded otherwise.

We are still a sovereign nation, irrespective of the treaties various governments have signed us up to without our consent.
If the will of the people is to claw back the laws and freedoms that have been given away, then either the current Lib/Lab/Con conspiracy against the people listen and act, or the alternative is their eventual replacement with politicians who will. It is as simple as saying to Europe, we are not playing the game your way anymore, if you don't like it then throw us out. Its about time we stopped acting like a bunch of wimps with Europe and do what the French do(whatever they like).

"Its about time we stopped acting like a bunch of wimps with Europe and do what the French do(whatever they like)."

Contrary to popular view, the French Government doesn't simply 'do what it likes' - that we are different and that our legal traditions are different is clear, but the French Government is one of the other Governments that is often found to have acted in a manner that is inconsistent with the rights contained in the convention - and they have had to act to change their laws to make them compliant too.

Mixing the ECHR and the rights contained in that convention and generalised complaints about 'activits judges' in that court with a general dissatisfaction with all things 'European' (by which I take it that you mean to criticise the EU, which is a separate entity government by different treaties to the other Council of Europe that created the court at Strasbourg) only serves to emphasise the importance of the questions that I set out in my last post -

And yes, I agree, that if the will of the people is that we should withdraw from the EU and or from the ECHR, then that will clearly expressed in a vote, should and would be heeded - sadly, opinion polls are not good enough, what is required is a vote in an election or elections - and if you think that you are going to persuade evan a majority of those that actually vote to vote for individuals that are totally absorbed by 'Europe' then you are deluding yourself. Most people are concerned about other things - many are not interested in politics and political ideas whatsoever - and the vast majority of voters consistently vote for parties that concentrate on issues that concern them, not issues (however imortant they may be) that they consider to be on the periphery.

That we need to find ways to 'turn on' the political aspirations of the electorate is axiomatic - if we concentrate on things that are at the periphery of people's concerns we shall, in my view, achieve precisely the opposite.

I think we should abolish those human rights that limit our freedom of speech and do not respect our culture, our traditions and our roots.
They want to impose their view on everybody and brainwash people.

The comments to this entry are closed.



ConHome on Twitter

    follow me on Twitter

    Conservative blogs

    Today's public spending saving

    New on other blogs

    • Receive our daily email
      Enter your details below:

    • Tracker 2
    • Extreme Tracker