UK
09/09/2015 12:38 BST | Updated 09/09/2015 12:59 BST

Human Rights Act Abolition Plans Still Going Ahead, Dominic Raab Tells Parliament

The government still wants to abolish the Human Rights Act, it has confirmed after a long silence on the matter.

The Conservative manifesto promise to abolish the HRA, which makes the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) enforceable before UK courts, and replace it with a "Bill of Rights" was among the first to hit trouble after campaigners, celebrities and even many Tory MPs, including Dominic Grieve and David Davis criticised it.

More than 240,000 people have signed a Change.org petition opposing its abolition.

In the Queen's Speech, the monarch said the government would "bring forward" the plans, rather than commit itself to actually doing it. This was seen as a backtrack by the government.

But Dominic Raab, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice, has told MPs the plans are continuing.

"We will bring forward proposals on a Bill of Rights this autumn. They will be subject to full consultation. The preparation is going well," he said on Tuesday.

The plans have left many commentators and experts bewildered, as they cannot understand how repealing the HRA alone would change anything as the UK would remain signed up to the ECHR.

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Grieve, who used to be Attorney General, said was "not at all clear" what his party was trying to achieve, adding: "At the end of the day, what are the benefits going to be compared to the costs of change?"

During the parliamentary debate, Labour MP Virenda Sharm asked Raab to "admit that those plans were written on the back of a cigarette packet from the very start".

Raab responded that the HRA was "also rushed".

He added: There was no period of consultation and it was introduced into Parliament in just six months, which is why it has proved flawed in practice.

"We will take our time to get the plans right, and we will take on board all the views that have been expressed. We want to restore some balance to our human rights regime, and that is what a Bill of Rights will achieve."

He also told the House of Commons there was "some variably geometry" in the HRA, prompting derision from lawyer and legal commentator David Allen Green.