UK Government plans to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights if their proposals for reform are rejected have been criticised by former Justice Secretary, Kenneth Clarke, who said that he is ‘astonished’ by the proposals.

“As I understand it we are anxious to comply with the European convention of human rights and quite happy to accept the judgments of the European court of human rights unless the government of the day has a whipped parliamentary majority to reject the judgments that we don’t approve of. I find that rather bewildering.”

Any move to withdraw from the Convention could jeopardise the UK’s membership of the EU, but acceptance of the UK’s Government’s desire for a veto could also harm human rights in other countries, such as Russia and set a dangerous precedent.

Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling has said that ECHR is moving into “areas of life” where people don’t want to see human rights applied and argues that decisions based on human rights should be decided under a UK Bill of Rights.

Third sector organisations in Scotland have been meeting to discuss what additional powers should be devolved to Scotland in order to inform responses to the Smith commission and the issue of human rights has featured as a key area of concern among participants.The Scottish Government wants to extend human rights provision and has said that it would attempt to block any attempt to withdraw from the Convention.

Source: The Guardian, European Convention of Human Rights