Human Rights Act 1998

Oral Answers to Questions — Justice – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 15th February 2011.

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Photo of Pamela Nash Pamela Nash Labour, Airdrie and Shotts 2:30 pm, 15th February 2011

What work his Department is undertaking on the future of the Human Rights Act 1998.

Photo of Kenneth Clarke Kenneth Clarke The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice

The Government are committed to establishing a commission in 2011 to investigate the creation of a British Bill of Rights. We will make a statement to Parliament on the precise terms of reference and the appointment of the commission in due course.

Photo of Pamela Nash Pamela Nash Labour, Airdrie and Shotts

I thank the Secretary of State for that answer. The Prime Minister has made it clear that he wishes to replace the Human Rights Act with a Bill of Rights, while the Deputy Prime Minister seems determined to defend the Act. Will the Secretary of State make it clear today, once and for all, on which side of the fence his Department sits?

Photo of Kenneth Clarke Kenneth Clarke The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice

What my two right hon. colleagues agreed on in the coalition agreement was to establish a commission to investigate the case for a Bill of Rights. I am now discussing that with the Deputy Prime Minister and, as I have said, we will announce in due course the terms of reference for the commission that is to resolve the issue.

Photo of Peter Bone Peter Bone Conservative, Wellingborough

Yet again, the coalition Government are doing the right thing by looking at a Bill of Rights. The Secretary of State never wastes any time, so will he tell me when the commission is going to report and when we are going to get some action?

Photo of Kenneth Clarke Kenneth Clarke The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice

We have firmly and urgently committed ourselves to establishing the commission in the year 2011.