Minister hints British Bill of Rights could be pushed back until after Brexit

Posted On: 
8th December 2016

The Attorney General has signalled that plans to replace the Human Rights Act could be pushed back until after Brexit, saying ministers “have a few other things on their plate”.

Attorney General Jeremy Wright speaking in the Commons this morning
Credit: 
BBC Parliament

Jeremy Wright confirmed in the Commons this morning that the Government remains “committed” to reforming human rights law by introducing a British Bill of Rights.

But responding to Tory MP Peter Bone, Mr Wright added: “He will have noticed we have a few other things on our plate at the moment, and we will need to resolve those I think before we can resolve the matter he refers to.”

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The Tories pledged in their 2010 and 2015 manifestos to replace the Human Rights Act, which was introduced by the last Labour government in 1998, with a British Bill of Rights.

It has been dogged by repeated delays, however, with no detailed proposals emerging since the general election.

Justice Secretary Liz Truss in August confirmed her intention to bring forward the legislation – but refused to give any indication of the timing of an announcement.            

Former justice minister Dominic Raab, who oversaw plans to implement the new primary legislation, told PoliticsHome in September the Ministry of Justice should “get cracking” with introducing the reforms.

He said the bill is “ready to go as a consultation paper with a lot of meat on the bones”, and with the EU referendum out the way ministers should press ahead with the manifesto promise.

During Attorney General Questions today, Mr Wright said: “We remain of the view that human rights law requires reform. I think my Honourable Friend and I are in full agreement, that although we have no quarrel with the content of the European Convention on Human Rights, it is the way in which that document is applied that gives us difficulty.

“So the Government is certainly committed to seeking to do something about that. He will have noticed we have a few other things on our plate at the moment, and we will need to resolve those I think before we can resolve the matter he refers to.”

The Human Rights Act enacts in British law the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights.