Charter of Fundamental Rights – Government Report

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:00 pm on 21st November 2017.

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Photo of Jonathan Djanogly Jonathan Djanogly Conservative, Huntingdon 5:00 pm, 21st November 2017

Yes, my right hon. Friend made that fair point in an earlier intervention. I am happy to say that I am open and willing to hear what the Government have to say on that, and I look forward to the Minister’s contribution later.

The concept of amendment 10 sounds reasonable to me—not least if we are to get rid of the charter—and I shall be listening carefully. However, I agree that the charter has significantly added to the complexity of human rights applications and that in removing the charter the Bill will provide an opportunity to simplify things outside the EU. The Minister has promised to deliver to the Exiting the European Union Committee a memorandum on charter rights, and I note the idea provided by new clause 16, tabled by Mr Leslie, of a report to review the implications of removal of the charter. I would happily accept Ministers’ assurance on that, rather than to legislate for it, and I hope that the document to be delivered to the Committee by 5 December will cover the two issues, as I think the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, my hon. Friend Dominic Raab, said earlier.

My underlying acceptance of the Bill’s position is premised on there remaining, as now exists, a significant and meaningful body of human rights legislation in this country. That would include common law and the Human Rights Act and would be underpinned by the European convention on human rights. I am therefore pleased that the Minister took the opportunity to accept the need for retention of the ECHR in the post-Brexit period.