Attorney General Dominic Grieve Contradicts Theresa May Over Human Rights Act
The Attorney General has contradicted the Home Secretary by suggesting the UK has "much to thank" for the Human Rights Act.
His comments came after Theresa May indicated she would prefer for it to be scrapped.
Speaking to a Liberty fringe at the Conservative party conference, Attorney General Dominic Grieve condemned the "hysterical untruths" published about the Human Rights Act.
Grieve admitted the Human Rights Act was "not perfect" and that it had "plenty of flaws". He also acknowledged the way the European Court of Human Rights acts is "out of control".
However, he said that the UK had "much to thank" for the Human Rights Act and reminded delegates that it was important to consider the Conservative's Liberal Democrat government partners.
"We have to think about the coalition,” he said. “I keep on making this point to people. I'd like it to be a real conservative government… we have to recognise we don't have a majority on a lot of things in the House of Commons, we need to take our coalition partners along with us."
Grieve added: "That's not to say that the world is static. There are good arguments for moving forward. But in doing it… We need some rational discussion of the issues and not, I'm afraid, what we often see in certain pages of some newspapers, which is hysterical untruths being peddled over and over again and it's not very productive for any kind of rational argument."
During the event, Shami Chakrabarti, the head of campaign group Liberty, revealed that she had personally pleaded with the Home Secretary to retain the Human Rights Act.
"I had a quick word with the home secretary before now and made a little plea to her. The human rights act and convention on human rights that it contains are not an imposition from Europe. They were Churchill's legacy to Britain and to Europe."
Their fellow panellist at the fringe event, backbench MP Eleanor Laing, further exposed coalition tensions over human rights. She said Liberal Democrat deputy prime minister Nick Clegg was "quite wrong" to promise that the UK would keep the Human Rights Act during his Liberal Democrat Conference.
"I was very angry to hear the deputy prime minister get up in front of the Liberal Democrat conference last week and say, and I quote him 'I will put it in words of one syllable, the human rights act is here to stay'. How can he say that on the one hand when he is instrumental as a government minister on the other hand in setting up the excellent commission on the Bill of Rights."
The government are currently consulting on introducing a British bill of rights.