Tory plans to scrap the Human Rights Act (HRA) and replace it with a British Bill of Rights were outlined in the Queen’s Speech and slammed by human rights groups.
During Wednesdays official state opening of parliament, Queen Elizabeth II announced the government’s plans to ditch the HRA.
In her speech written by the Tory government, the Queen said: “Proposals will be brought forward for a British Bill of Rights”
Civil rights group Liberty described the move as “worthy of the Donald Trump campaign trail,” while Amnesty International UK urged the government to “leave the Human Rights Act alone.”
More than six years have passed since Prime Minister David Cameron first mooted the idea of scrapping the HRA. Despite gaining a majority of parliamentary seats in last year’s general election, the PM sidelined the British Bill of Rights in order to focus on holding a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU.
Contrary to earlier plans, the bill will not result in Britain quitting the European Court of Justice (ECJ), located in Strasbourg. Rather, it draws from a compromise tabled by Justice Secretary Michael Gove.
Britain will continue to subscribe to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), meaning foreign terrorists and criminals will retain the right to have their cases heard by European judges.
However, when British judges disagree with their counterparts in Strasbourg, the UK will retain the right to overrule Europe’s judgments.
In attacking the government’s announcement on Wednesday, civil liberties group Liberty quoted families of British servicewomen who died under suspicious circumstances and whose deaths were only investigated properly thanks to the HRA.