Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Conservative Party Conference Justice and Home Affairs speeches ~ a brief look.

Speeches today at the Conservative Party Conference in Symphony Hall, Birmingham included Mr Chris Grayling (Justice Secretary) and Theresa May (Home Secretary).

There is much in the speeches to comment about but I will reserve that for a later post.  Neither speech contained any major announcement about any plans relating to the Human Rights Act 1998 and it may be that this is being left for the Prime Minister's speech at the end of conference (Wednesday morning).

According to Grayling,
human rights had moved a long way from the basic rights set out in the European Convention and British courts should not be told by a 'foreign court' that we cannot send killers to prison for life.  (The European Court of Human Rights did not say that but required there to be a possible review of a prisoner's situation).  There was also an attack on Labour who, Grayling said, would extend human rights and teach human rights in schools.  (Personally, I have always thought that teaching young people about the law is important).

Theresa May's speech was particularly strong on terrorism and a new Counter-Terrorism Bill is to be introduced in November.  May also attacked the Liberal Democrats for "torpedoing" the Communications Data Bill  and she strongly argued that greater powers were needed by the Police and Security Services in order to 'keep us safe.'  May put a strong argument for extending anti-terrorism powers against the background of the threats to the UK which she argued were now posed by terrorist groups such as ISIL

The scene appears to be set for some sort of announcement relating to human rights and the UK's relationship with the European Court of Human Rights.

Major speeches apart, there was a useful panel discussion on "Modern Slavery" and a Modern Slavery Bill is currently before the House of Commons.  For more on this topic see here.

Addenda:

Halsbury's Law Exchange - New rights for victims of crime

Inside Time - a view that prison is serving to embitter prisoners - Do you want another Raul Moat?

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