Human Rights Act 1998 Bill part two


MPs concluded the second reading debate on the Human Rights Act 1998 (Repeal and Substitution) Bill on 1 March 2013.

The bill would repeal the Human Rights Act 1998 and provide for a new bill of rights and responsibilities for the United Kingdom.

The Human Rights Act incorporated the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law and enabled people to have human rights cases heard in UK courts rather than the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

The bill was introduced by Conservative MP Charlie Elphicke, who said that the act had "transformed human rights in the UK in ways that are wholeheartedly rejected by the British people".

Summing up for Labour, shadow justice minister Andrew Slaughter defended the act, arguing: "Human rights legislation is about individual rights, it's about minority rights and it's often about unpopular minority rights."

He said the Conservatives had promised to replace the Human Rights Act before the last election while the Liberal Democrats had promised to protect it, describing this "as one of the clearest contradictions" about the coalition.

Lib Dem MP Martin Horwood retorted that it was not a contradiction but "a disagreement" which "happens sometimes in coalitions" and restated his party's support for the act.

Justice Minister Damian Green referred to the earlier "modern version of a socratic dialogue" which discussion of the bill had prompted between his fellow Conservatives, Rory Stewart and Jacob Rees-Mogg.

"A Friday morning where this House is forced to confront the difference between deontological and utilitarian responses to the moral consequences of our actions cannot be described as a Friday morning wasted."

Mr Green said that coalition parties had agreed to "establish a commission to investigate the creation of a British Bill of Rights" which had produced a "thoughtful" report.

However, he said that ministers did not feel it was "the right time" to support a bill to repeal the Human Rights Act.

Charlie Elphicke withdrew his bill at the end of the debate, meaning it will progress no further.

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