Gove confirms British bill of rights consultation next year

Topics: Government & politics,Human rights

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Lord chancellor Michael Gove today confirmed the consultation on a British bill of rights will not be launched until the new year.

Gove (pictured) told the House of Lords constitution committee he had intended to publish the bill by this month, but this has been delayed.


He revealed prime minister David Cameron has requested that the legislation look at establishing a ‘constitutional long-stop’ and whether the Supreme Court should act as that body.

Gove denied the government had damaged the UK’s reputation through ignoring the European Court of Human Rights over the issue of prisoner votes, stating: ‘It is not letting the side down if parliament decides it doesn’t wish to implement it.’

The lord chancellor said a consultation paper has already been drawn up and is being shared with members of the government.

Once this has been approved by the Cabinet, the consultation will feature a series of what Gove called ‘open-ended questions’ which aim to secure the ‘broadest possible consensus’.

‘The good name of human rights has been tarnished – we can debate why and who is to blame if blame should be allocated,’ he said.

‘Human rights have come to be seen as providing protection for people who are unmeritorious rather than safeguarding essential liberties which go to make the birthright of any resident in these islands.’

Gove insisted the eventual British bill of rights, intended to replace the Human Rights Act, will ‘strengthen’ the rights of minority groups.

He added that no devolved part of the UK should have a veto to block legislation.

Readers' comments (9)

  • "broadest possible consensus" How trite these words sound in the light of the Government's vandalism of the UK legal system.

    Is this the same type of consensus encountered by us all when Grayling dismantled Legal Aid and the Treasury succumbed to the lobbying carried out behind closed doors by the insurance sector?

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  • About time. Get back to basics and civil liberties, away from the ECHR and its prescriptive diktats. Its judgments should have no more authority than a decision of any other foreign court, and Parliament should have the ability to overturn ECHR judgments affecting British interests.

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  • Long grass!

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  • This man should not be addressed as "Lord Chancellor". He is neither ennobled nor legally qualified.
    He may hold the position "ex officio" Secretary of State for Justice.
    But that's it.

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  • Of course he should be called Lord Chancellor. Are we really going to not call him that because Trendy Vicar Mr Tony Blair felt the title was a bit old School? Michael Gove - Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain. I would rename the Supreme Court the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords, and assistant referees Linesmen. Garnishees, Writs and of course my very favourite, Poindings.

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  • By Paul Hawkins: I agree with Matthew Rippon. It is already starting to look as though this will be dragged out for as long as possible so that the government can say they tried but ran out of time blah blah blah. Simple fact is the only thing that can replace the human rights act is the human rights act with a different name. It is political posturing pure and simple.

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  • And how about scuttage, Anon, 4.19 so as to get out of Crecy or was that Agincourt? Let me know when you've decided as I'm just off to gather some estovers. Nemo dat in a market ouvert...what?

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  • Thomas Tidswell: Thomas Wolsey was neither "ennobled nor legally qualified" yet was probably one of the best Lord Chancellors England ever had. I don't say that Gove is a Wolsey, but I do say that your argument is tripe.

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  • "Scutage", David, "scutage".

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