The UK government’s plans for a British Bill of Rights have been leaked to the Sunday Times, the newspaper claims. This is a new bill that, if passed, would replace the current 1998 Human Rights Act, which incorporates the European Convention on Human Rights into UK domestic law.
The article in the Sunday Times claims the plans include allowing UK judges to defy European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) rulings, exempting soldiers from legal challenges for military behaviour abroad, and placing limits on the amount of compensation that can be claimed in human rights violation cases.
In reality, UK judges can already choose whether to follow the ECtHR rulings or not. This is why, despite the ECtHR ruling that prisoners should be entitled to the right to vote, the UK has not done so.
That this leak in the Sunday Times happened shortly before Gove’s announcement to start a ‘prison building revolution’ is telling. These plans to close old inner-city prisons, sell off the lucrative buildings, and have nine new prisons built to replace them are partly financially driven. The relentless push by the UK government to cut budgets does not falter, no matter what rights are at stake, or on what side of the bars you stand.
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