Conservatives cooling on Bill of Rights

When it comes to restoring democracy, accountability and the rights of individuals in this country, just where is David Cameron’s head at?  An editorial by Patrick O’Flynn in the Daily Express has given wider publicity to a shift in priority of the Conservative pledge to scrap the Human Rights Act and implement a British Bill of Rights in its place.

O’Flynn points out that such is the shift in priority of this essential piece of work, it may now not even get on the Conservatives’ radar for the entire first term of any Cameron administration.  The winners from such a position are the EU and the pro-EU front benchers in the Conservative party.  The losers will be the British people and sovereignty of our nation state, which remains in terminal decline.

In May 2009 Cameron gave a speech on Fixing Broken Politics.  It is worth reading the following segment of Cameron’s speech in its entirety because it sets out the justification for a British Bill of Rights and Cameron pledges a clear course of action:

THE EU AND THE HRA

But the tragic truth today is that no matter how much we strengthen Parliament or hold government to account…

…there will still be forces at work in our country that are completely unaccountable to the people of Britain.

People and organisations that have huge power and control over our daily lives and yet which no citizen can actually get at.

Almost half of all the regulations affecting our businesses come from the EU.

And since the advent of the Human Rights Act, judges are increasingly making our laws.

The EU and the judges – neither of them accountable to British citizens – have taken too much power over issues that are contested aspects of public policy…

…and which should therefore be settled in the realm of democratic politics.

It’s no wonder people feel so disillusioned with politics and Parliament when they see so many big decisions that affect their lives being made somewhere else.

So a progressive reform agenda demands that we redistribute power from the EU to Britain and from judges to the people.

We will therefore hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, pass a law requiring a referendum to approve any further transfers of power to the EU, negotiate the return of powers, and require far more detailed scrutiny in Parliament of EU legislation, regulation and spending.

And we will introduce a British Bill of Rights to strengthen our liberties, spell out the extent and limit of rights more clearly, and ensure proper democratic accountability over the creation of any new rights.

Those last two paragraphs are telling.  In the penultimate paragraph Cameron gave his much vaunted, and since then much re-spun and caveat laden, pledge of a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.  No mention there of his pledge only applying if the Treaty had not been ratified by all member states.  Position reversed.  Then in the last paragraph he pledges to introduce a British Bill of Rights, which he has said elsewhere would replace the Human Rights Act.  But just like ‘Dave’ in his election poster, it seems the pledge is being given the airbrush treatment.

Given the importance of this subject, demonstrated and explained in the lengthy preamble to his commitments above, there is no justification for pushing the Bill of Rights issue further down the Conservatives’ legislative agenda.  This is exactly how Cameron started to abandon his pledge on a referendum about Lisbon.  By sidelining the introduction of a British Bill of Rights, Cameron is accepting the status quo and existing legislation, which he went to great lengths to explain was damaging and unacceptable.

This change in approach will be seen by many people of further evidence of a continuing thaw in Cameron’s supposedly frosty approach to the EU’s political control of this country.  Not only does Cameron want to keep Britain in the EU, not only does he want to remain signatory to the fundamentally flawed European Convention on Human Rights that has done so much to cause the damage he bemoaned, he is now quietly ditching policies that would have directly challenged the EU stranglehold and asserted British sovereignty over domestic matters.

Tory flip flops are not Dave-approved footwear, they are the increasing number of U-turns just keep on coming.  So far none of them serve the interests of the British people, or the long suffering members of the Conservative party, just Cameron and his own selfish motives.

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5 Responses to “Conservatives cooling on Bill of Rights”


  1. 1 David 17/01/2010 at 5:07 pm

    “No mention there of his pledge only applying if the Treaty had not been ratified by all member states.”

    It should be patently obvious. The simple fact is that a referendum on Lisbon would do no good even if it were held, and one of the principles which the Conservatives do claim to stand for is good use of taxpayers’ money.


  1. 1 Cameron’s tough line on rights is just spin « Autonomous Mind Trackback on 31/01/2010 at 11:24 am
  2. 2 Abid Naseer case highlights broken Tory pledge on Bill of Rights « Autonomous Mind Trackback on 19/05/2010 at 10:24 am
  3. 3 What say you now Cameron, you lying hypocrite? « Autonomous Mind Trackback on 17/12/2010 at 10:43 am
  4. 4 Cameron’s lies on the EU and Human Rights Act « Autonomous Mind Trackback on 17/12/2010 at 11:20 am
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