Why I'd Axe the Human Rights Act, by Howard

Article excerpt


MICHAEL HOWARD will today promise to overhaul or abolish the Human Rights Act, which he claims is destroying Britain's tradition of fairness.

The Tory leader will say the 1998 legislation unleashed a tide of political correctness, costly litigation, a rampant compensation culture and weakened justice.

If he wins power there will be a wholesale review of the Act and 'if it can't be improved, it will be scrapped', he will declare.

Mr Howard has attacked the practical impact of the human rights legislation before. But in a speech in Scotland he will go much further by becoming the first party leader to commit himself to ditching the far-reaching law altogether.

Such a move would cause a profound chain reaction around the world. Britain was one of the founding signatories of the European Convention on Human Rights 50 years ago which Mr Blair chose to incorporate into British law.

Mr Howard will highlight a series of examples to argue that the 'so- called' Human Rights Act has failed the British people.

* A boy expelled after lighting a fire at school had the decision overturned after judges ruled he was denied his 'right to education' because the head teacher did not inform his parents of their chance to appeal;

* A rapist claimed his appeal against conviction took too long to come to court. The appeal failed but he won his claim over the time it took and was awarded [pounds sterling]4,000 compensation;

* When Irish travellers took over a Cambridgeshire village an order to leave was overturned because eviction would deny their 'right to respect for family life and freedom-from discrimination';

* A murderer argued his 'right to information and freedom of expression' entitled him to hardcore homosexual pornography in prison. The Prison Service agreed to allow this 'right';

* Filming of nativity plays was banned by a council which claimed the Act meant every parent had to give written consent.

Mr Howard will also point out how the Act has allowed failed asylum seekers to remain in Britain using public services. …