Plans for a 'British bill of rights' are still in train, the justice secretary said today, denying rumours that the prime minister had put the human rights reform agenda on hold.

Elizabeth Truss (pictured) told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: 'We are committed to that. It is a manifesto pledge. We are looking very closely at the details but we have a manifesto pledge to deliver that.’

Her remarks were apparently aimed at countering speculation that a draft bill prepared by Truss's predecessor Michael Gove had been rejected by Downing Street. The Ministry of Justice said at the time: ‘We will set out our proposals for a bill of rights in due course. We will consult fully on our proposals.’

Truss was making media appearances to announce new measures to combat Islamist extremism in prisons. 

She said in a statement following the publication of a review led by Ian Acheson that 'Lack of confidence in challenging unacceptable extremist behaviour and views was highlighted as a key concern across the prison estate, resulting in reluctance to confront extremist views.'

The ministry said that measures to be implemented include:

  • Creating a new directorate for security, order and counter-terrorism, which will deliver a plan for countering extremism in prisons and probation services
  • Instructing prison governors to remove extremist literature and putting in place a thorough process to assess materials of concern
  • Boosting plans for rapid responses by intervention teams to terrorist-related incidents
  • Improving extremism prevention training for all prison officers
  • Strengthening the vetting of prison chaplains 'to make sure the right people are in place in prisons to counter extremist beliefs'.