EXCL British Bill of Rights delayed until after Brexit, Liz Truss reveals

Posted On: 
23rd February 2017

Plans for a British Bill of Rights have been delayed until after the UK leaves the European Union, Liz Truss has revealed.

Liz Truss said the British Bill of Rights will have to wait till afer Brexit
Credit: 
PA Images

The Justice Secretary said the planned legislation - which has been a commitment in the last two Tory election manifestos - was "not something we can do at the same time" as trying to introduce the Great Repeal Bill.

Her comments, made in an interview with The House magazine, will be a huge disappointment for many Conservative backbenchers.

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David Cameron first pledged in 2010 to replace the Human Rights Act -  which was introduced in 2000 by the last Labour government - with a Bill of Rights.

It failed to progress under the Tory/Lib Dem coalition, but was included again in the Conservatives' 2015 manifesto.

Former Justice Secretary Michael Gove announced a further delay in December that year, dashing Tory hopes that it would be on the statute book quickly.

Attorney General Jeremy Wright then dropped a huge hint before Christmas that it was being delayed again because ministers had "a few other things on their plate".

In her interview, Ms Truss confirmed for the first time that the Bill of Rights has been delayed by the Government yet again.

She said: "Given that we are leaving the European Union and we will have the Great Repeal Bill going through parliament, clearly that is going to signify a major constitutional change.  

"So the British Bill of Rights, whilst it remains a commitment, is not something we can do at the same time as we are putting through that Great Repeal Bill.

"That is going to affect the constitution. It’s important we only do one constitutional reform at a time."

SUPREME COURT

Elsewhere in the interview, Ms Truss also defended her decision not to publicly back the Supreme Court judges after they ruled that Parliament must authorise the triggering of Article 50.

The Daily Mail dubbed the judges "Enemies Of The People", while they also came under attack from Communities Secretary Sajid Javid.

Ms Truss said: "I think the judges of the Supreme Court are people of integrity and impartiality. I meet with them regularly to discuss all kinds of issues and that is very important in my role as Lord Chancellor.

"I also believe we live in a free society and free democracy and we have a free press. It is very important that politicians don’t get into the business of policing headlines and saying what is acceptable or not acceptable to print.

"I think the independent judiciary and free press are bulwarks of our freedoms and we need to protect them jealously."