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Alan Travis, home affairs editor at the Guardian, argues that the Conservative Party’s push to scrap the Human Rights Act within 100 days will likely mean reforms are not “comprehensive and credible”, and rather “simplistic and rushed”. New justice secretary Michael Gove is said to be eager to quickly abolish Labour’s 1998 Human Rights Act in order to “bring rights home” – ironically, Mr Travis notes, the same slogan used by Jack Straw in the lead up to its introduction. However, no draft legislation has been put forward, and the legal complexities surrounding scrapping the act have only multiplied, with a recent policy paper on the matter having “raised more questions than it answered”, according to Mr Travis. “It gave no indication as to how this partial withdrawal from the jurisdiction of the European convention on human rights might be achieved nor did it take into account the possible reaction from the Council of Europe, which oversees it,” he claims.
Martin Howe QC, the lawyer who helped draft Conservative plans for scrapping the Human Rights Act has urged politicians to publish the detailed proposals as early as possible. The British Bill of Rights, as it is known, will, according to the Tory manifesto “break the formal link between British courts and the European court of human rights”. Judgments from Strasbourg will, in effect, become advisory and the UK’s supreme court will become supreme. Last October the then justice secretary, Chris Grayling, promised that the bill would be published before the election. It has still to appear. Separately in the Independent, Memphis Barker says that Michael Gove has declared himself as: “liberal on criminal justice”. Mr Barker says that: “as long as he manages to fudge things a bit, to keep Britain signed up to the European Convention on Human Rights, while getting rid of a restriction here and there, a British Bill of Rights could satisfy those who want strong human rights law as well as appease the Tory extreme.”
The Guardian The Independent, Page; 28 Financial Times, Page; 3