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Gove confirms British bill of rights consultation next year

9th Dec 2015

Lord Chancellor Michael Gove has confirmed that the consultation on a British bill of rights will not be launched until the New Year.

The Lord Chancellor told the House of Lords constitution committee that although he had intended to publish the bill by this month, it has been delayed as 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 that the government had damaged the UK’s reputation by ignoring the European Court of Human Rights over the issue of prisoner votes, stating that: “It is not letting the side down if parliament decides it doesn’t wish to implement it.”

The Lord Chancellor revealed that 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”.

Gove continued to say that ‘The good name of human rights has been tarnished – we can debate why and who is to blame if blame should be allocated.”

“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,” he stated.

Gove insisted the eventual British bill of rights, intended to replace the Human Rights Act, will “strengthen” the rights of minority groups, and added that no devolved part of the UK should have a veto to block legislation.