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Human rights and wrongs

Nick Robinson | 14:34 UK time, Tuesday, 18 May 2010

"We're not planning that."

Francis MaudeSo said the Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude on the BBC News channel about the idea - a Conservative manifesto promise, you may recall - to "replace the Human Rights Act with a UK Bill of Rights".

Mr Maude was quick to say that this was not really a matter for him but his words will lead many to wonder if this will be another Tory promise to fall victim to the formation of the new coalition?

On the day the alleged leader of an al-Qaeda plot to bomb targets in north-west England won his appeal against deportation will it be another excuse for the Daily Mail to warn of betrayal?

The promise to repeal the Human Rights Act not only divides the Tories and the Lib Dems. It also divides the prime minister from the man he's just made justice secretary.

Back in 2006 Ken Clarke branded David Cameron's proposals for a British Bill of Rights "xenophobic" and "anti-foreigner".

He was reacting to a speech in which Mr Cameron said the Human Rights Act was "practically an invitation for terrorists and would-be terrorists to come to Britain" and declared that "I believe it is wrong to undermine public safety, and indeed public confidence in the concept of human rights, by allowing highly dangerous criminals and terrorists to trump the rights of the people of Britain to live in security and peace."

Perhaps the easy solution will be for the Tories to stick with the reality of their position pre-election? For months now I've been told privately that whatever their manifesto might say they've not actually found any way to carry out their promise.

I await the publication of the coalition's joint programme later this week with interest.

Update, 17:01: The issue of human rights and terror suspects is even more complex than I thought.

Even if Britain replaced the Human Rights Act with a Bill of Rights we would, I'm told, still be subject to the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR).

Article three of the ECHR states that "No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" and we cannot derogate from it unless we're at war.

That's why the Conservative document "A Resilient Nation" published in February promised to "review jurisprudence relating to ECHR to permit deportation of foreign nationals".

The man who expected to be justice secretary - but is now attorney general - Dominic Grieve gave a speech condemning those who said that the answer was to withdraw from the ECHR:

"Although some have argued, and increasingly vociferously, that the solution for the UK in view of these problems is to withdraw from the Convention altogether on the grounds that it is an undesirable and unnecessary fetter of national sovereignty in decision making, I entirely disagree, as does the Conservative Party. Such a withdrawal would send a very damaging signal about how the UK viewed the place and promotion of human rights and liberties and would be an encouragement to every tin pot dictator such as Robert Mugabe, who violates them."

Pending the review the Tories promised terror suspects, like those who were the focus of today's case, will, almost certainly, be the subject of control orders.

The Liberal Democrats described them as "an affront to British justice" which should be scrapped. The new Conservative Home Secretary is about to make use of them. Her party only promised to "review" the system.

Aren't coalitions fun?

Update, 17:22: I understand that the government is about to announce the creation of a commission to look into the workings of the Human Rights Act.

An ideal way, perhaps, to paper over divisions within the government over the future of the HRA.

Comments

Page 1 of 4

  • Comment number 1.

    Crumbs! We've got another 5 years of this yet!

  • Comment number 2.

    It's not just a broken economy this government have been left it's the leftovers of a badly managed immigration policy.

    The human rights act is something we have and have to live with until Europe as a whole decide to make changes. This will have to come because this country is not the only one that has problems with terrorism.

    In the meantime all that can be done is tighten up rigourously on those who enter the country from outside the EU. Once they are in it appears we cannot get them out.

    The population also have human rights to live in peace and be protected from those who would threaten them.


  • Comment number 3.

    I bet you do Nick

    Dont we all! shall we have a wager on how many are not kept and then compare it to the dismal record of the last Govt.

    Now we shall see who has compromised and what, after the latest lunacy of allowing a known terrorist to remain in this Country due to his Civil Rights over which I have no
    concern then they will have to be seen to do something

  • Comment number 4.

    Ken Clarke - what's not to love?

    Francis Maude is becoming Monty Burns from the Simpsons.

  • Comment number 5.

    One person's human rights issue does not equate to 'our countries National Security'. When are we going to wake up and look after Britain. Everyone who lives here should love it as much as us, or be made to leave. I believe you earn rights, if you agree to live as a civilised human being then you have rights.. NB: Prisioners should NOT be voting as they have lost that right. Let's respect each other.

  • Comment number 6.

    Nothing like a bit of xenophobia to get us all going, eh Nick?

    Some common sense needs to be applied to a lot of our laws, not just the human rights one.

    Jump in too quick, or for the wrong reason, and you get screwed up, and then spend the next few years trying to undo the damage.

    let's just wait and see what happens. It cannot possibly be right, under any circumstances, that we no longer have the right as a country to expel people who wish to do us harm. That, and only that, is the issue.

  • Comment number 7.

    Why is sending a would-be suicide bomber back to Pakistan unlawful, because he might face death there?

    This is legal logic gone bonkers!

  • Comment number 8.

    The really important word in the phrase "alleged leader of an al-Qaeda plot" is "alleged". He hasn't been convicted of anything, so in the eyes of the law, he is an innocent man.

    I do hope that whatever the Tories come up with respects that fundamental principle of our justice system.

    It's really quite simple: if you've done something bad, you get put on trial, and if found guilty, then you get locked up. If you are not found guilty in a court of law, then you are innocent. The blurring of that distinction that the last government loved so much (just think control orders) is the start of a very worrying slippery slope.

    I don't really care whether you call it Human Rights or a Bill of Rights. I just want to know that no-one is going to lock me up without having been convicted of something first.

  • Comment number 9.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 10.

    Storm in a teacup, or mountain out of a molehill. Take your pick of idioms - either describe this non-story. Is this really the main political talking point of the day? Hope the blog is more exciting tomorrow.

  • Comment number 11.

    In a political system where there are no effective checks on the executive or legislature, where law can be rewritten at the whim of a government with a majority (as it has been for the majority of modern parliaments) - the Human Rights Act had recently been the only check on government power.

    Just look at the situation a few months ago when police confiscated the video camera of a protestor who was recording the behaviour of the police. The legal system in this country justified the action under Terrorism Laws - the Human Rights Act (from Europe) brought the police to account!

    Long Live the Human Rights Act!

  • Comment number 12.

    I really hope that Liberal sense will be able to prevail in this Government. Presumably it will - only the Tories back the abolition of the HRA, Liberals and Labour will oppose it, so the ban should not be able to pass. If so, it will be one of the success stories of the Lib Dems in coalition - protecting human rights and civil liberties against the onslaught of right-wing populism.

  • Comment number 13.


    At the risk of suffering the wrath of the hang em n flog em brigade. What is the problem here. There is no conflict between human rights and prevention of crime, even terrorism. The enactment of acts of crime or terror violates the human rights of the victim. It is upto the courts to balance the competing rights of the offender and the victim, a balancing act as far as I can see it is doing reasonably well.

    Is anyone who counts themself civilised really seriously suggesting we should enact a death penalty policy by the backdoor by outsourcing it to a third party ? That is cowardly and contary to the established will of the country.

  • Comment number 14.

    The art of political distraction. Put an emotional issue out in the public so that they won't watch carefully as they raise taxes and cut programs. We will need to give the bankers more money to prevent the terrorist from taking over!!!! How about the rights of those who the bankers diminished their retirement accounts....maybe something along that line might grab some public interest.

  • Comment number 15.

    There is nothing in the Human Rights Act that I would want to replace, the problems are not with the Act but with the Interpretation by Courts. Having a 'Bills of Rights' or some similarly named replacement will not change the simple fact that the Courts do not, and cannot, dispense Justice but only Law. Criminal Law is the supreme example of 'the Law of unintended consequences', an idea that works in a committee room over coffee falls down in the real world. A 'BofR' will not remove the cynicism of amoral Lawyers, who will argue that Black is White for money, and the stupidity of Judges who believe that their judgements serve justice.

  • Comment number 16.

    I simply can't believe it - I gave Cameron my vote based upon what he promised with regard to terrorism - now this! I will never, ever again vote for anything Cameron is connecetd with. Gordon, I miss you already.

  • Comment number 17.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 18.

    Now that it appears the Coalition is 'not planning' to repeal the Human Rights Act, even though it was in the Conservative manifesto, I hope that they make the same announcement about the Hunting Act. The Conservatives' plan to repeal this Act and re-legalise the anachronistic cruelty of hunting and coursing was a similar dogmatic, regressive and knee-jerk reaction to the previous Labour administration. If the Coalition now acts with pragmatic sense on issues such as this then hopefully there will be greater popular support for the less pleasant financial decisions that have to be taken.

  • Comment number 19.

    Of course they would need to not only repeal the human rights act they would also have to formally withdraw from the European Convention including the European Court. The HRA98 only brings the ECHR within the remit of UK courts, if they dont leave the convention then any judgements currently made in a UK court would just be made in a European court. No change in the judgements, just a lot more expensiven for all the lawyer bills.

    I don't think any of this will happen. The new conspiracy administration is showing no signs of being substantially different from the last lot. They don't have the bottle for anything radical like that.

  • Comment number 20.

    What is the point is sending hundreds of soldiers to their deaths in Afganistan when the Taleban can simply come over here, claim what ever, do what ever in the sound knowledge that Human Rights legistlation will safe them every time.

    The PM has two options, scrap the Human Rights bill or bring the troops home!!!

  • Comment number 21.

    The passage of this bill will be interesting as the government will have to fight off the full weight of the EU to get this into statute. Somehow, I can't see it becoming law without the approval of Brussels and would bring us head to head with all the other member states. One thing the EU does not like is any country showing independence.

  • Comment number 22.

    An Act that comes in for frequent and justifiable ridicule but no-one's come up with a concrete alternative. Wouldn't Europe render anything our own parliament did redundant anyway?

    On the specific question of the terrorist suspects, I would suggest that the Security Services should be left to make judgements on our security and the judicial system should concern itself only with cases of wholesale abuse.

  • Comment number 23.

    Worrying. The Tories (this includes the Lib Dems, whom I now consider to be Tory), are willing to scare off terrorists by creating thie Bill of Rights.

    Has it not occurred to them that terrorists might not be put off by such a thing?

    Rumours are also going around that the Tories are about to scrap the hard work which has gone into the Prevent strategy (which, basically, aims to cut the problem before it even becomes a problem by working with the communities from where terrorists may come from or be supported.)

  • Comment number 24.

    Lord McNally the Minister responsible for the Human Rights Act said at the Lib Dem Special Conference on Sunday that if the Human Rights Act was not still in place in 5 years time neither will he. Chris Huhne said the same thing.

    Thankfully we now have people in Government who will stand up to this right wing nonscence of blaming everything on the Human Rights Act. The Act is there to protect the most vulnerable in society. Its always the people who do not and never will need the Human Rights Act that are against it. And it seems the people commenting above no longer believe in innocent until proved guilty and would rather have trial by media.

  • Comment number 25.

    In order to make his point Nick has to drag up something Ken Clarke said 4 years ago.

    Rather scraping the bottom of the barrel.

    I would point out that it is nice, post election, to see that Nick remains consistent and has not changed his tune to simply support the new govt. I am sure others will start foaming at mouth and start posts about the rather obvious anti-Tory line being peddled. I will let them do that as I am sure they can manage it more elegantly than me.

    As far as human rights act is concerned it is full of good intentions that have been twisted in ways that were never intended yet from time to time is necessary to protect the innocent or weak from abuse by govt.

    Todays judgment in the courts is an excellent example of the good the human rights act does. The men involved are innocent - they have not been convicted of anything, the "evidence" against them has never been tested in court, all we have is the word of some govt official that these are terrorists. That is not good enough and I am delighted the courts have said so.

    Of course if the men had been convicted of terrorism and served their sentences then they should be deported and if their original home country proceeds to deal with them harshly I have no sympathy.

    An example of a very bad decision of the human rights act is to overturn the ban on convicted prisoners voting. That is not an abuse of power but a reasonable decision of many centuries standing that convicted criminals who are in prison loses not only their liberty but also other rights of normal, law abiding citizens.

    The problem with the human rights act is that it is an alien piece of legislation - it is not drafted on the basis of the British legal system but as a series of vague principles. I see no problem with replacing it with something designed specifically for Britain. I would anticipate some interesting debates about what is a "human right"

  • Comment number 26.

    If it wasn't a matter for Francis Maude, why was he asked the question?

    If it wasn't a matter for Francis Maude, why did he answer the question?

    If it wasn't a matter for Francis Maude, what value does his answer carry?

    If it wasn't a matter for Francis Maude, what is the story...?

  • Comment number 27.

    2. At 3:17pm on 18 May 2010, virtualsilverlady wrote:

    "The human rights act is something we have and have to live with until Europe as a whole decide to make changes. This will have to come because this country is not the only one that has problems with terrorism.

    In the meantime all that can be done is tighten up rigourously on those who enter the country from outside the EU. Once they are in it appears we cannot get them out."


    Please don't forget that the 7/7 bombers, the attacks that followed within a week and the failed London and Glasgow attacks were carried out by legal UK residence who held UK passport holders, we can't fight terrorism by tightening boarder controls as the threat doesn't always come from abroad.

    The Human Rights Act is wrong on many things but allowing terrorism isn't one of them.

  • Comment number 28.

    Further to my comments in message #18, I should add that the previous Labour administration did not implement or interpret their Human Rights Act at all well (or provide the necessary legal guidance for judges to interpret it sensibly and reasonably). As currently constituted the Act provides far too many loop-holes for criminals and terrorists to exploit. It is too ambiguous and provides no means of accounting for the collective but more diffuse human rights of society as a whole. As a consequence the perceived rights of any individual always seem to take precedence over those of the rest of the population, no matter how damaging this may be to society. Therefore the Coalition government should amend the Human Rights Act (or alter its interpretation) to redress this imbalance for the greater good of British society as a whole.

  • Comment number 29.

    @5 "Everyone who lives here should love it as much as us, or be made to leave."

    Does that mean I have to go then? I very much doubt that I "love" this country as much as you do given your blind enthusiasm in your post. I think the UK is a great country, and I wouldn't want to live anywhere else, but I don't for a second think that it's perfect or that it can't be improved.

    BTW - The people who have been given leave to stay have never been tried or even charged with any crime. To paraphrase the lad himself, 'Does Habeas Corpus mean nothing to you? Did she die in vain?'

  • Comment number 30.

    Why can't we have a Human Rights and Responsibilities Act? You cannot have one without the other.

  • Comment number 31.

    Human Rights are indivisible, you can't qualify them. A 'British' Human Rights Act would have to comply with international law otherwise the government would be liable under UN Conventions and the International Court at The Hague.
    Unless Cameron intended to revoke all the international treaties signed by previous governments. Perhaps it was just a cheap tabloid headline he was after.

  • Comment number 32.

    Let's be honest about this.
    1. The Labour government left behind it a mess.
    2. European Government is a disaster for border and internal security.
    3. The current coalition needs to be more robust in defending us from genuine threats - not falling over backwards to the politically correct lobby.
    4. If any one of these guys does now kill someone or attempt to kill someone will the judge/court members who made this ridiculous ruling resign?

  • Comment number 33.

    (a) the 'alleged leader' has not been charged with anything, let alone convicted.
    (b) far more people voted against the Conservatives' policies than for them.
    (c) the European Convention on Human Rights (to which the UK is a signatory) was not invented by johhny foreigners. I understand it was drafted by British lawyers at the end of World War 2, for very good reasons agreed by all the Allies.

    Only uncivilised/unscrupulous countries seek to deny Human Rights.

  • Comment number 34.

    Ooh, I've been referred to the moderators. Wonder why? It was a fairly innocuous post, didn't have a got at anybody, didn't call anybody names, was right on topic.

    Whats the problem?

  • Comment number 35.

    If there are grave concerns that this convicted terrorist cannot be returned to his country of origin then the only option is to stop all people from that country coming here until such time as there country is seen to conform to the human rights acts...

    Similarly a blanket ban on all travellers from any country that we cannot return people too would be a step in the right direction...

  • Comment number 36.

    In theory it is very difficult to argue against the theory behind The Human Rights Legislation. The Magna Cartna did set off a whole train of laws which protected individuals against the state. However at times the workings of this particular charter does seem to have become a weapon for thieves and terroists to escape justice. The Tories were going to do something about this, but now they are in a Con-Dem coalition they seem to be backing off and the latest judgement about potential bombers not being sent to Pakistan cos' it interferes ith Human Rights does semm illustrate the issue perfectly! The line to be drawn is a fine one and human rights are very very important, but it should not be a criminal charter

  • Comment number 37.

    I went to the recent Lib Dem conference which approved the coalition. The speakers were absolutely adamant that they would not repeal the human rights act. From a Lib Dem point of view it simply isn't going to happen. One of a number of good reasons for having them there.

  • Comment number 38.


    Something needs doing when the countries legal establishment seems happy to pay for terrorists human rights with British lives.

  • Comment number 39.

    Wonderful news!

    The Conservative manifesto promise to "replace the Human Rights Act with a UK Bill of Rights" with no detail or explanation was a significant factor in them not getting my vote.

    Three cheers for the sane effects of the coalition and bring on a written constitution.

  • Comment number 40.

    If he's guilty of a crime in this country then we should lock him up here.

    If he's not guilty of a crime then he is a free man.

    Let's get some perspective. He is an "alleged" al-Qaeda ringmaster. The same people that seem to want to throw out the Human Rights Act also seem to want to throw out the premise of innocent until proven guilty.

    Yes, we do need a solution to the deportation issue but with or without the Human Rights Act Britain would not deport people back to countries where they would be shot on arrival as that is fundamentally against the notion of what makes us British

  • Comment number 41.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 42.

    11. At 3:35pm on 18 May 2010, Venture wrote:

    "Just look at the situation a few months ago when police confiscated the video camera of a protestor who was recording the behaviour of the police. The legal system in this country justified the action under Terrorism Laws - the Human Rights Act (from Europe) brought the police to account!"

    Good point EXCEPT, had the rolls been reversed, that the police were using camcorders (as they probably were) to monitor the protesters actions how many of the said protesters would have (did) complained about the "Big Brother State" spying on them, claiming that the police taking video and being monitored by police whilst legally protesting is a violation of human rights.

    The biggest problem of the HRA is that it's all things to all people, we don't need the HRA as such, just well written (defined) UK statute law.

  • Comment number 43.

    The Human Rights Act and the ECHR has been the only thing protecting me from the draconian excesses of various recent Home Secretaries (of whom Jacqui Smith was comfortably the worst). Ineffectively too, as in the case of the DNA retention scandal, they virtually ignored the judgement.

    As a citizen, I want real constitutional protection from my government. It was pretty rich having Labour complaining about the 55% change when they've done many things that should have been forbidden by a decent constitution.

  • Comment number 44.

    #8
    I just want to know that no-one is going to lock me up without having been convicted of something first.

    ... and I just want to know that no-one is going to blow me up / irradiate me or otherwise poison me (or indeed anyone else)

    Somewhere between the two lies a balanced and proportionate response to the very real threat that we face. I'm just not convinced that the judiciary is capable of finding it under the Act as it stands.

  • Comment number 45.

    12. At 3:45pm on 18 May 2010, libdem879 wrote:

    "only the Tories back the abolition of the HRA, Liberals and Labour will oppose it, so the ban should not be able to pass."

    I'm not convinced that the maths would stake-up, who knows how the Ulster MPs would play this, and I'm also not convinced that all Labour and Libdems do actually suport the HRA as it is.

  • Comment number 46.

    Not surprised Ken Clarke is in favour of the European Convention of Human Rights, as he's an old-fashioned Tory, pro-European former Home Secretary - as was Sir David Maxwell Fyfe, the man who oversaw it in the first place.

  • Comment number 47.

    It seems absolutely incredible that 'alleged' Al-Qaeda suspects cannot be put on trial (for reasons unknown), but nor can they be deported.

    The rules regarding evidence being 'inadmissible' needs to be urgently looked at.

    We are in an absurd position that Local Councils can legally bug phones and intercept emails for people suspected of putting rubbish in the wrong wheelie bin or dog fouling, but our security forces cannot infringe the human rights of suspected terrorists.

  • Comment number 48.

    The Al-Qaeda ringleader, Abid Naseer, is in the UK on a 'student' visa. He is also a Pakistani citizen.

    Surely if his student visa were revoked then he would have to leave the UK?

    He studied at the Islamia College, Peshawar, Pakistan and was a good cricketer.

    Now it is decided that the country of which he was a citizen and where he lived for many years is not safe for him to return to because "he faced torture or death back home in Pakistan".

    Oh, how convenient.

    Abid Naseer is also described by his father as "My son has a beard and prays five times a day. Ours is a religious-minded family".

    The claims of "victim status" are so tediously familiar. Can't be long before the claims that, "The UK is waging war on Islam and Muslims" and "The Caliphate is the only solution" come pouring out from the well-rehearsed Islamist storybook of "endless grievance".

  • Comment number 49.

    13. At 3:49pm on 18 May 2010, SotonBlogger wrote:

    "Is anyone who counts themself civilised really seriously suggesting we should enact a death penalty policy by the backdoor by outsourcing it to a third party?"

    Is anyone really suggesting, and I acknowlaedge that this is irrelivant in the cited case in Nicks blog (for why, see comment #8 by "DisgustedOfMitcham2"), the UK should allow someone - who we have, in effect, given asylum to - plot against the British state and it's citivens without due recorse, perhaps if there was the very real risk of being deported back to their original country they may think twice about such ploting.

  • Comment number 50.

    Lol - another broken Tory promise - and we are still less than a week into the new government.

    We probably ought to just let them off their whole manifesto - it was obviously all lies and nonsense. Not worth the paper it was written on.

    This will get the Tory right-wingwers annoyed though...ha ha!

  • Comment number 51.

    #16 Paul Moran

    Ha ha - Hilarious. Tories are losing voters already.

    This might be the shortest honeymoon on record.

  • Comment number 52.

    The Human Rights Act Industry is unfortunately one of the few true areas of growth which flourished under New Labour. The Human Rights Act is big business now.

    It's always struck me as being a criminals charter, though whether that is due to the act itself, or the bizarre interpretations made of it is open to debate. Perhaps the interpretion "guidance" needs to be tightened.

    Other countries subject to it don't seem to have the problems that we do.

  • Comment number 53.

    8. At 3:28pm on 18 May 2010, DisgustedOfMitcham2 wrote:
    "The really important word in the phrase "alleged leader of an al-Qaeda plot" is "alleged". He hasn't been convicted of anything, so in the eyes of the law, he is an innocent man."
    ================================================

    Actually with regard to immigration/deportation the 'court' in question is the special imigration appeals commission - this is a 'superior court of record'.

    Having heard all the evidence (unlike anyone on here) that court found that he was indeed an al-qaeda leader. However, because of the HRA he still could not be deported.

    The law does not require people to be 'convicted' of criminal offence for them to be deported.

    One of the main types of evidence the special tribunal hears that a criminal court would not is phone tap/bugging evidence. The tribunal may well hear an individual openly admitting their membership of AQ, but a criminal court would not be able to hear that evidence.

    In any event, even if he was convicted in a criminal court, he could still not be deported...and this is clearly not going to change under the current dishonest regime.


  • Comment number 54.

    Having heard the news of today I sometimes wonder if we have more to fear from the British judiciary than al-Qaeda ! Surely the British are HUMAN and I doubt if they want to give this Pakistani terrorist the RIGHT to live in this Country.

  • Comment number 55.

    On the subject of Human Rights - what about the electorate's rights to know the truth about what Government does behind closed doors?

    Today we learn that Whitehall officials lodged formal protests at Labour's spending plans in the government's 'dying months' - adding to speculation that Labour was pursuing a 'scorched earth' policy, to make things as difficult as possible for the next government.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8690312.stm

    We are entitled to know the whole truth - including Labour's policy of covering up the real level of debt, thereby deceiving the electorate and distorting the markets. If Company Directors behaved in this way, cooking the books, they would face criminal charges.

    If this government is serious about getting the balance right on 'Human Rights' - they should start by ending the culture of government secrecy and keeping the public in the dark.

    It's time to end the 30 Year Rule. We need to know the full truth now!

  • Comment number 56.


    Tail, Wag, Lib Dem, Tory, Dog, The

    Rearrange to understand what is happening, Tory wanted to repeal te act. Lib Dem didnt, result no repeal.

    If I was a Tory voter I might be miffed.

  • Comment number 57.

    The human rights act does provide an ok measure of balance and checks to legislature, but it is so badly written that it is open to interpretation in any way possible. Where is it right that a prisoner convicted of a crime has the right to the standard of life of someone that has been law abiding. Personally I think the case highlighted is a bad example, as quite correctly stated these people have not been convicted of a crime.

    Yet there are plenty of people languishing in jail, convicted of horrible crimes and there only punishment is a restriction on there freedom to go down the pub and urinate there social security payment up the wall. Where is the punishment? Where is the stick to say don't do it again. It disgusts me that the carrots offered to prisoners to do as they are told in prison is generous yet the punishment is minor. There is very little incentive to say do not do this again!

    When ever this issue to raised of real punishment, we get quoted that the human rights act prevents us from enforcing hard work on prisoners. This is where reviews have to happen. Prison has to become a punishment again, at the moment the only punishment is a restriction on liberty which is a minimal punishment. There has to be a limitation on the application of so called human rights by people that do not wish to live in a law abiding manor.
    Prisoners should be enforced to do manual labour 6 hours a day followed by several hours of educational training. so that there is a balance between real punishment and skills to make a better life on release. Costs to the UK tax payer per prisoner is estimated to be 37500 pounds to 49200 pounds per prisoner per year. Why should be in a time of economic mess pay such a sum for someone to lounge around at our expense because they committed a serious crime.

    The human rights act does need review and so does our whole justice system which at the moment seems to be biased in the favour of the wrong doer and not in the favour of the law abiding citizen.

  • Comment number 58.

    "The left wouldn't want to lose one of their 'bash the rich' weapons, even if this particular weapon is about as useful as a marshmallow dagger."

    The 'Left', as you put it, are about to be handed a whole array of much nastier weapons by the decisions of the coalition government over the next 3 years - they will spoilt for choice."

    OOOH! VorR, that's a really scary threat. Nasty tax weapons to bash the rich with in 3 years time. What's it going to be? A "your car is too nice" tax? Or a "success" tax? How about a "it's not fair" tax? That would be up your street.

    Please don't think I'm being sarcastic. I really am scared of your mysterious tax threats. I don't know how I'm going to sleep over the next 3 years.

  • Comment number 59.

    The Tories have only been in office ten minutes and they are already breaking manifesto promises!!!

    At least Labour took a few weeks to get that particular trick started!

  • Comment number 60.

    24. At 4:25pm on 18 May 2010, Stuart Ritchie wrote:

    "Thankfully we now have people in Government who will stand up to this right wing nonscence of blaming everything on the Human Rights Act. The Act is there to protect the most vulnerable in society."

    That might have been the intention, the problem is it's being used to protect the criminal and/or bad law as much as the innocent and most vulnerable in society, good law can protect the innocent and most vulnerable in society, you don't need the HRA to have good (well written) law.

  • Comment number 61.

    The idea that you can simply repeal the HRA 1998 and then avoid our international responsibilities to the Council of Europe and the ECHR (which is not the same thing as the EU) is nonsense and David Cameron would do well to learn some basics about international law before he goes spraffing away about repealling it. Whether or not we have the HRA we are bound by the ECHR.

    I would also point out to those that want "Human right and responsibilities Act" that this is what we essentailly have at the minute and I would suggest that you read about the HRA and the Act itself. Fr example the ECHR guarantees a persons right to privacy but it also gaurantees a persons right to freedom of expression and these two can conflict so we can see that there are responsibilities inherant in the ECHR and by extension the HRA. It is also worth noting that the HRA doesnt say anything abiut rights itself but simply incorporates the ECHR into domestic law (with some exceptions) it is also worth noting that the UK was instrumental in creating the ECHR. It would therefore seem pretty pointless to repeal an Act we are bound to uphold anyway and replace it with an Act that does exactly the same job.

  • Comment number 62.

    I understand that the government is about to announce the creation of a commission to look into the workings of the Human Rights Act.

    Long grass.

  • Comment number 63.

    There are a couple of things i dont understand so do please forgive my ignorance. 1) why are the terror suspects allowed to stay here, i accept the arguement that if this man is returned to pakistan he may be tortured... that being the case make the judgement that he will not be returned to pakistan by us as a country but he must leave the uk within a set period of time and never return. Sounds really simple doesnt it? 2) If the hedge fund law passes and the uk is forced out of the eu to maintain london as a financial hub does that mean the HRA would be null and void?

  • Comment number 64.

    I had rather hoped for a better response to all the left wing and pc nonsence we have had to put up with under Labour. The safety of my fellow citizens is at risk. If potential terrorists are allowed to remain here what message does this send out. The usual morally bankrupt legal people supported by the naive politically judiciary are a disgrace. It is time to reflect what the country really expects, so Mr Cameron and co. take some positive action PLEASE.

  • Comment number 65.

    Simple – you stop acting like a civilised human being you loose any claim to human rights (after the necessary judicial hearings of course!!!)

  • Comment number 66.

    There's a bunch of promises they won't be able to keep, 'cos they ain't in power as such - it's a coalition.

  • Comment number 67.

    All a bit circular really. The ECHR was enacted after WWII and was mainly meant as a quick 'cover-all' for those bits of Europe previously under fascist rule. It was modelled on bits of the French and UK legal/constitutional systems. I'm quite sure that the British elements involved at the time would have thought it potty that it would end up superceding existing UK legislation on which it was modelled in the first place.

    Still, 'potty' never stopped Labour.

    Mind you, this does now give the left a chance to claim that the Conservatives have gone back on manifesto promises. They seem not to have noticed that it's a joint Government and that compromise is the order of the day.

    Of course, any supporters of the 'great clunking fist' wouldn't know what a compromise was if they tripped over one on the carpet.

  • Comment number 68.

    It is not about human rights but the right to be detain in Britain in the care and protection of the British government and hopefully a British passport eventually

  • Comment number 69.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 70.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 71.

    The promise to repeal the HRA was always a piece of disingenuous populism. The HRA did not create any new rights. It simply enabled people to enforce those rights in the UK courts rather than having to go to Strasbourg. So repeal would not remove the rights.

    This reneging on a manifesto promise should therefore be no surprise.

  • Comment number 72.

    It's things like this that are the reason many were so shocked by the Lib dems decision in the first place.

    The 3 main priorities for the party since the 70's have been
    1 - Introduction of PR
    2 - Human Rights
    3 - Scrap Nuclear weapons/power

    On all these issues the lib dems and Tory offical policy are diametrically opposed. No amount of fudging about how much they agree on "Pupil premiums" will change this fact.

    Interestingly on all 3 areas the libdems have given in to the tories (AV is NOT PR) which begs the question that has been asked many times in the past

    What is the point of the Lib Dems?

    Now they are no longer even the party who gets the protest votes!

  • Comment number 73.

    "51. At 5:19pm on 18 May 2010, Voice_of_Reason wrote:
    #16 Paul Moran

    Ha ha - Hilarious. Tories are losing voters already."

    Yes, with only 2,080,000 more votes than Labour, the loss of a voter must be really worrying for Cameron.

    And the Con/lim-Dems combined only polled 8,800,000 more than Labour and now one of those has gone!


    Straws........clutching........at.

    Enjoy the next 5 years VofR.

  • Comment number 74.

    The Mail and the Telegraph could be liberal Dave's worst enemies...especially on issues like this.

    As a lefty I'm looking forward to watching the explosive arguments issues like this are sure to create.

    Wonder what odds you can get on David Davis being Tory leader in 2 years time?

  • Comment number 75.

    #35

    What an excellent idea

  • Comment number 76.

    53 54

    You're too caught up in the actual issues. Why not just wallow in it like VofR on the basis that it's an issue embarressing to the Tories?

    To him, a suspected terrorist being allowed to remain in the UK and Cameron tripping on a crack in the pavement are the same. So long as he can point and laugh, the real issues don't matter.

  • Comment number 77.

    How about Zac Goldsmith as next Tory leader - he's young, modern, green - oh wait a second - they've tried that and it turns out he's a liberal...

    :-)

  • Comment number 78.

    Both Nick and Lord Carlisle mentioned we could only derogate if we were at war. Funny that I thought we were. What are we doing in Afghanistan playing marbles?

  • Comment number 79.

    #31 LeftieAgitator

    "Unless Cameron intended to revoke all the international treaties signed by previous governments. Perhaps it was just a cheap tabloid headline he was after."

    You think?

    Plastic Cam only interested in PR to win the election.

    Thank goodness it turns out he's a liberal lefty after all.

  • Comment number 80.

    Pretty annoyed by the judgement but not surprised at all. The Immigration Appeals Courts are run by judges who basically have no0 sympathy with immigration control at all - how many appeals have been allowed from ordinary people who illegally entered the country and were allowed to stay because for example they had children. The old assumption that you cannot benefit from a crime has been replaced by an assumption that any immigrant is entitled to stay in the UK regardless of their conduct.

    This is why immigration is so unpopular. We do not attract the best immigrants to the UK - we attract the ones who want to claim benefits and spend their time plotting against the English. This includes EU citizens who following a recent ruling are allowed to claim benefits and housing for life if they can get one of their children into school.

    The only solution is to withdraw all public housing and welfare benefits for everyone, making the country unattractive to the international scroungers currently flocking here. 10 years of Tory rule should do the trick!

  • Comment number 81.

    The EU human rights act appears to be for the benefit of the antisocial and other criminal classes and not for the law abiding majority. So this government should unilaterally declare that the EU interference in out legal system will stop tomorrow, better still have a referendum and just leave.

  • Comment number 82.

    I was appalled to learn that two suspected terrorists are to be allowed to stay in the UK, rather than be deported back to Pakistan. This seems to me that the security of these two individuals is more important than the inhabitants of the United Kingdom, unless of course I am seeing this from a perfectly different aspect?

  • Comment number 83.

    Oh gawd. Do you know what? Vast majority of the public have common sense. We are all fed up, disgusted and ashamed of the way things go when somebody does wrong and some liberal type of person says they can't go back to the country of their origin as they would be in danger.


    Aw, what about us? Does our safety account to nothing?

    Do you know what? A few people in public life have gone quite mad.

    If somebody does wrong they should be punished - and we have quite enough of our own criminals here without importing foreigners.

    We all want toughness and FAIRNESS for us - not the criminal.

  • Comment number 84.

    #56 SotonBlogger

    "Tail, Wag, Lib Dem, Tory, Dog, The

    Rearrange to understand what is happening, Tory wanted to repeal te act. Lib Dem didnt, result no repeal.

    If I was a Tory voter I might be miffed."

    If I was a Dog I might be miffed being described as a Tory...

  • Comment number 85.

    Some judges are a bit looney liberalist lefties too.

    I sum it up by saying that some people in public office are actually not on this planet, they sit in ivory towers with all sorts of academic qualifications and are very well read.

    They do not have a degree in common sense.

    Maybe we should have a package of referenda with Human Rights, Voting Reform and European issues incorporated. A bumper bundle of contentious issues - let's see what the weight of public opinion brings. But we already know don't we?

  • Comment number 86.

    #55 DT

    "We are entitled to know the whole truth - including Labour's policy of covering up the real level of debt, thereby deceiving the electorate and distorting the markets. If Company Directors behaved in this way, cooking the books, they would face criminal charges."

    Nonsense - the level of debt is not hidden - the treasury knows exactly how much debt we have got and I'm sure the approx figures will be in the budget.

  • Comment number 87.

    There's no need to repeal the Human Rights Act, it can be tweaked by removing the requirement in section 2 to take account of decisions of the European Court of Human Rights and to allow judges to apply their own common sense reasoning.

    Another potential avenue to be explored could be to withdraw the right to directly petition the European Court of Human Rights, which would mean that decisions of UK courts would be final and not taken to Strasbourg.

  • Comment number 88.

    What does it mean - Human Rights?
    Apart from the obvious.

    Does it mean :-
    The Rights from one Human imposed on another Human....or
    The Rights of one Country imposed on another Country....or
    The Rights of one Religion imposed on another Religion....or
    The Rights of one Race imposed on another Race....or
    The reverse of all of the above....see what I mean!
    Gets you nowhere....just depends who is doing the imposing I guess!

  • Comment number 89.

    #23 RedYellowandGreennotBlue

    "Worrying. The Tories (this includes the Lib Dems, whom I now consider to be Tory), are willing to scare off terrorists by creating thie Bill of Rights.

    Has it not occurred to them that terrorists might not be put off by such a thing?"

    Excellent post - no it hasn't occurred to them. They are in favour of not creating new laws to curb our human rights - unless they want to get a decent headline in the Daily Mail.

    Luckily liberal Dave will save our human rights.

  • Comment number 90.

    #58 AndyC555

    "OOOH! VorR, that's a really scary threat. Nasty tax weapons to bash the rich with in 3 years time. What's it going to be? A "your car is too nice" tax? Or a "success" tax? How about a "it's not fair" tax? That would be up your street.

    Please don't think I'm being sarcastic. I really am scared of your mysterious tax threats. I don't know how I'm going to sleep over the next 3 years."

    Are you feeling alright Andy? You appear to have gone a bit...strange.

  • Comment number 91.

    #59 The Midland 20

    "The Tories have only been in office ten minutes and they are already breaking manifesto promises!!!"

    Yep better get used to it - Liberal Dave and his friend Tory Nick are shafting both their parties. This next few years is gonna be a hell of a ride.

  • Comment number 92.

    58. andy c555.
    there you go again for the umteenth time. you view that the only definition of success is wealth. and each time you insult your own father who was a bus driver. what a silly ignorant man you are.

  • Comment number 93.

    So, we can't deport a terrorist or anyone strongly suspected of terrorist-related activity in case they suffer ill treatment or torture in their country of origin.

    Ok, it's simple: ask the government of the miscreants country of origin (in this case Pakistan, a country with which we have full diplomatic and trade ties) for their assurance that the deportee will not be harrassed, tortured or otherwise mistreated, provided he or she does not take engage in illegal activity in that country. Once this assurance is given it should be safe for deportation to proceed. After all, Pakistan is a full member of the commonwealth. If we can't trust their word who's can we trust.

  • Comment number 94.

    the dark rumblings from the hard right tories cannot be caged for too long. only a matter of time before we see the true face of this party.

  • Comment number 95.

    #23, RedandYellowandGreennotBlue wrote:

    Has it not occurred to them that terrorists might not be put off by such a thing?


    A bit like Identity Cards, but not quite the same cost.

  • Comment number 96.

    Of course, the best laugh out of all of this is the impotent ranting from the Left about 'broken promises' when, with a coalition Government it's obvious that some policies from both Lib-Dems and from the Tories would have to be conceded. That's how coalitions work.

    Why's the left wing ranting so nice to listen to? Think about it and cheer up Lib-Dems and Tories.....NONE of Labour's policies will be enacted.

    I'm not sure why but whenever I read one of those left wing rants on here, I keep hearing the chorus from "The Laughing Policemen".

  • Comment number 97.

    Dont bother sending him back to Pakistan.
    Just give him 28 days to find somewhere that will take him so taxpayers here dont have to feed & clothe him.
    What about MY human right not to live in fear of being blown sky high?
    No one cares about that do they?

  • Comment number 98.

    This is a typical unintended consequence of the HRA as interpreted by British lawyers. You never get these sort of problems in France where they have the same HRA........... it's like much of EU legislation, they enforce the bits they agree with and ignore the rest.

    The ruling is now the perfect immigration scam - come to the UK from Pakistan on a student visa, appear to organise but not carry out terrorist activities, get yourself arrested, plead innocent & threat of torture back home, be forced to stay in the UK care of tax payers & receive a house + social benefit payments because no one will employ you. Bingo, jackpot. Lie low and in a few months/years bring over your family as is your human right not to be seperated from them.

    Listen carefully and you can hear Osama's laughter echoing off the mountain tops at yet another lawyer joke.

  • Comment number 99.

    Perhaps we all need to lobby Ken Clarke to reform the way judges are appointed. An independent judiciary is one thing. A judiciary which construes the ECHR (=HRA) without regard to context and purpose is another. Compared with other countries our judiciary come across as fanatics and extremists for "black letter law", and we all know how dangerous they can be.
    Of course the ECJ may then overrule them. But I am not aware of any precedent from the ECJ which states that you cannot deport to Pakistan.
    And please tell me they don’t get legal aid for all these appeals.

  • Comment number 100.

    #67 AndyC555
    "Mind you, this does now give the left a chance to claim that the Conservatives have gone back on manifesto promises. They seem not to have noticed that it's a joint Government and that compromise is the order of the day"

    Ahhh - so its ok to attack Labour for broken manifesto promises but the Tories have now got a get-out clause for everything they promised have they? That makes sense - at least it does in Andy's ToryStoryLand.

 

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