Charter of Fundamental Rights – Government Report

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) Bill – in the House of Commons at 3:45 pm on 21st November 2017.

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Photo of Bill Cash Bill Cash Chair, European Scrutiny Committee 3:45 pm, 21st November 2017

I agree with my hon. Friend’s general proposition, to which I would add that it is up to us to make our own laws. We can listen to the arguments, we can make the amendments and we can recognise human rights, and all the other things, as I did with the International Development (Gender Equality) Act 2014. I entirely agree with his sentiment for that reason.

Lord Bingham went on to say:

“We live in a society dedicated to the rule of law”—

I note the reference to that by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Beaconsfield—

“in which Parliament has power, subject to limited, self-imposed restraints, to legislate as it wishes;
in which Parliament may therefore legislate in a way which infringes the rule of law;
and in which the judges, consistently with their constitutional duty to administer justice according to the laws and usages of the realm, cannot fail to give effect to such legislation if it is clearly and unambiguously expressed.”

I ought to add that, in fact, Lady Hale revisited that territory, before she was made President of the Supreme Court, in a speech in Kuala Lumpur on 9 November 2016.

The Conservative party opposed Lisbon, which conferred treaty status on the charter. I say this to my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Beaconsfield with all respect, because we get on pretty well and we have had several chats over the past few days, but I trust he will recall his opposition to the Lisbon treaty and, therefore, to the charter when he was shadow Attorney General—he followed me in that post. More specifically, I hope he will recall the evidence he gave to the European Union Committee of the House of Lords, which was cited in its report published on 9 May 2016—