Why Dominic Raab’s plan to bring back his bill of rights is all wrong | Letters

There is no case for reinstating the bill, says Geoffrey Bindman. And John Eekelaar points out some of its contradictions

Marina Hyde recounts several past lapses ascribed to Dominic Raab (Dominic Raab may have the most terrible record in government, but at least it’s perfectly formatted, 6 December), but his legislative plans for the near future in his role as justice secretary are of even more immediate concern.

He has announced that he is reintroducing his bill of rights, which seeks to repeal the Human Rights Act and dilute our commitment to the European human rights convention. He is doing this in defiance of almost universal opposition. When the government correctly sought the advice of an independent commission led by the former court of appeal judge Sir Peter Gross, it was told plainly that no such measure was justified. The government’s own public consultation received a similar rejection from the great majority of those who responded. Though Raab stubbornly persisted with his bill in his previous spell as justice secretary, Liz Truss dropped it as almost her first act on becoming prime minister.

Why persist with a measure that flies in the face of our historic commitment to the universality of human rights and the right of the public to seek the protection of the law against the abuse of power? Liz Truss, for once at least, was right. There is no case for reinstating the bill.
Geoffrey Bindman
Highgate, London

• Martin Kettle contrasts Suella Braverman’s call for the UK to withdraw from the European convention on human rights with Dominic Raab’s assurance that under his proposed bill the UK will remain a party to the convention (Suella Braverman is spoiling for a fight on human rights – one that undermines this whole government, 8 December).

Yet under that bill, courts would have to accept that parliament has struck “an appropriate” balance as between different policy aims, as between different convention rights, or as between the convention rights of different persons, and give “the greatest possible weight” to the executive’s view of the public interest, thus virtually extinguishing the possibility of being constrained by relevant competing individual rights.

Of course, the executive, through parliament, creates and changes people’s rights all the time. But to claim to be affirming rights in a bill of rights and in the same document to practically nullify some of them when they conflict with the executive’s views, is another matter. Perhaps Braverman is at least being open.
John Eekelaar

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