Almost 75,000 people have signed a petition which urges ministers to keep the Human Rights Act.
Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor Liz Truss has confirmed that the Government will press ahead with scrapping existing laws in favour of the British ‘Bill of Rights’, only weeks after growing speculation that a cabinet reshuffle may have kicked the proposals into the long grass.
Speaking to Radio 4, Ms Truss said her party still intended to carry through its manifesto commitment and that full reforms would be outlined in due course.
The petition, urging the Government to reconsider its proposals, had actually been added to Parliament’s official website back in March but has suddenly captured the interest of social media – with a dramatic increase in the number of people putting their name to the plea.
The petition said: “The Human Rights Act is an important act designed to protect each and every individual from inequality and injustice be it from another individual, corporations or our own government.
“As such the decision to remove or change that protection should, ultimately lie with the people of the UK.
“In the past we’ve been rightly proud of our tough stance around the world on human rights.”
Civil liberties groups are frustrated that the Government is continuing to push ahead with the agenda.
“Surely it can’t have escaped the Lord Chancellor’s attention that our country has seen a spike in hate and division in recent months,” said Bella Sankey, the director of policy at human rights campaign group Liberty.
“In the current climate, our new Justice Secretary should focus on providing unifying leadership – not pouring her energy, and yet more public money, into scrapping human rights and equality protections that are needed now more than ever.”
While ministers have promised a full consultation, some campaigners have argued they should go further still and hold a referendum on whether the new Bill of Rights should be adopted.
At Lester Morrill, our Public Law team has brought numerous successful challenges where we have relied on the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Human Rights Act, to protect our clients’ fundamental rights. To find out more about our services, please contact us today.