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Bill of Rights: five questions for Michael Gove

6 November 2015

Chair of the Joint Committee on Human Rights Harriet Harman has written to Secretary of State for Justice, Michael Gove, setting out several issues which the Committee takes an interest in.

Questions which the Committee is keen to explore include:

  • Can the Govt confirm that it has officially ruled out withdrawing from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)?
  • Is the Govt ruling out ending the UK obligation under international law (ECHR Article 46) "to abide by the final judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in any case to which they are parties"?
  • What consideration has been given to the possible impact of changes to human rights framework on Britain's standing abroad, and role of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the consultation?
  • What are the proposals – and budget - for wider public consultation?
  • What approach will the Govt take to consultation of devolved institutions and ensuring that views of different parts of the UK are heard?

Chair's comment

Committee Chair Harriet Harman said:

"In the first six months, Government proposals have gone from a Bill in the Queen's Speech, to "proposals" to "a consultation." The timescale has moved from the first 100 days to "this autumn" (House of Commons 8 September transcript) and then "in a few months' time".

There is no more clarity about the government's plans than there was back in May: we have no indication as to whether the Government intends to publish a White Paper, draft clauses or indeed a draft Bill for pre-legislative scrutiny. It's essential that such a vital issue is widely scrutinised and debated – and not just by politicians and lawyers. 12 weeks is not enough."

Further information

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