23:09 GMT +307 December 2019
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    UK Gov't Proposal to Slice and Dice Human Rights Act Could Impact Brexit

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    The British government's proposal to scrap the Human Rights Act and replace it with a UK Bill of Rights could "damage the UK's standing" in the European Union and its "moral authority internationally," according to a committee of Peers.

    "The more evidence we heard on this issue the more convinced we became that the Government should think again about its proposals for a British Bill of Rights.

    "The time is now right for it to do so," according to the UK-based EU Justice Sub-Committee, which has just published its report on the Tory party's plans for a British Bill of Rights and says the government should think again on the policy.

    Among many of the criticisms were concerns that the Bill could cause "constitutional upheaval" and end up as an English Bill of Rights.

    "If the devolved Parliaments withheld their consent to a British Bill of Rights it might very well end up as an English Bill of Rights, not something we think the Government would want to see," Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws, Chairman of the House of Lords EU Justice Sub-Committee said.

    The Conservative government introduced its plans to scrap the Human Rights Act in 2014 — eight months ahead of the 2015 general election; at a time when traditional Tory voters were increasingly looking towards anti-immigration and anti-European Union party, UKIP.

    With just over a month to go before the UK votes on whether to remain — or leave the EU, anti-Human Rights Act rhetoric has resurfaced among some members of the Tory Party, keen to appease UK Independence Party (UKIP) supporters.

    During a pro-EU membership speech, the UK Home Secretary called again for Britain's withdrawal from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

    "It isn't the EU we should leave but the ECHR and the jurisdiction of its court [ECtHR]," Theresa May said.

    The cross party House of Lords EU Justice sub-committee, which has published its findings, wants the government to "think again" before proceeding with its plans, led by Justice Secretary Michael Gove to introduce a British Bill of Rights.

    "The proposals he outlined were not extensive, and we were not convinced that a Bill of Rights was necessary," the sub-committee report states.

    "The Government has a mandate to reform and modernize the UK human rights framework," a Ministry of Justice spokesperson said.

    "Our Bill will protect fundamental human rights, but prevent their abuse and restore some common sense to the system. We will fully consult on our proposals."


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