Bill of Rights

Oral Answers to Questions — Justice – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 8th September 2015.

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Photo of Peter Grant Peter Grant Scottish National Party, Glenrothes 11:30 am, 8th September 2015

Whether he plans to include in the Government’s proposed Bill of Rights protection of all the rights included in the European convention on human rights.

Photo of Dominic Raab Dominic Raab The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

The hon. Gentleman will not have too long to wait for the consultation, which I have already spoken about. We will release it towards the end of the autumn. He raises a very good question, but I hope he will understand if I do not jump the gun by being drawn before then on the substantive detail of our plans.

Photo of Peter Grant Peter Grant Scottish National Party, Glenrothes

I understand the Minister’s reluctance to be drawn into the substantive detail, but could he give an indication of the intended direction of travel? For example, can he assure us that the rights of refugees seeking asylum on this island will not be deteriorated in any way as a result of the repeal of the Human Rights Act?

Photo of Dominic Raab Dominic Raab The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

We are very clear about the absolute prohibition on torture, including in relation to the asylum regime. If the hon. Gentleman wants an overall steer, the major problems have been less with the text of the European convention than with its application. Some of those problems arise because of judicial legislation and others because of the operation of the Human

Rights Act. Those problems are acknowledged across the political spectrum, including by senior members of the judiciary.

Photo of Joanna Cherry Joanna Cherry Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader (Justice and Home Affairs)

Can the Minister confirm whether the proposed Bill of Rights will grant all those living in the UK the same levels of protection, or will there be different levels of rights protection for different categories of person depending on whether they are a UK citizen or an EU or non-EU citizen?

Photo of Dominic Raab Dominic Raab The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

As I have said, I am not going to go into the substance and the detail. We will have plenty of opportunity to discuss that. There is already some variable geometry in the Human Rights Act in relation to the procedural framework, so we will be interested to hear the views of the SNP and other parties on those aspects.