Hands off the Human Rights Act!

The government's consultation on the Human Rights Act threatens our liberty. Use our letter writing email tool to take part in the consultation as an ordinary citizen and copy-in your local MP.

Don’t delay. Make your voice heard before the deadline of the 8th March 2022.

You are encouraged to put the argument in your own words. If you have direct experience of the Human Rights Act helping you in your daily life, then please do add details of this.

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Send this message to the consultation and your MP:

I am writing as an ordinary citizen to express my grave concern at the ideas contained in the government consultation document, “Human Rights Act Reform: a Modern Bill of Rights”.

These proposals represent an outrageous attack on our cherished liberties. I ask that you consider the letter (which my local MP has also been cc-ed into) a formal response to Question 29, which completely rejects the argument for change that you have put forward.

There is no need for Human Rights Act reform. For over two decades, this vital piece of legislation has provided individuals with a practical and relatively straightforward way to enforce fundamental rights. It has brought protection against unlawful practices and improved access to justice. The proposed ‘case for reform’ set out in Chapter 3 fails to justify its proposals and is almost openly authoritarian. It attacks a so-called ‘rights culture’ and counter-poses the ‘public interest’ to fundamental human rights. It sets up an entirely reactionary distinction between those that are deserving of rights and those that are not.

This is incompatible with international human rights law as it was introduced in the aftermath of World War Two, against the backdrop of the heinous crimes seen in the Nazi era. Leading figures in the Conservative tradition campaigned for the adoption of the European Convention in this period. Winston Churchill said in 1948 that at ‘the centre of our movement stands the idea of a Charter of Human Rights, guarded by freedom and sustained by law’.

The government’s consultation flies in the face of this history. You propose to weaken the relationship between the European Court of Human Rights and UK domestic law. This would lead to a divergence between UK domestic rights and European Convention rights. It would make it harder for citizens to uphold their European Convention rights and, due to the expense of taking cases to Strasbourg, put financial obstacles in the way of access to justice.

It is revealing that the new consultation makes hardly any reference to the conclusions of the your own Independent Human Rights Act Review, which found there was no case for the kinds of sweeping changes that the UK government are now proposing to introduce.

The questions put forward in the consultation are often highly misleading and framed in a way that suggests that the government has already made its mind up. I sincerely hope that this is not the case, and that there is a rapid u-turn away from these dangerous proposals.


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