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Independent Human Rights Act Review

Volume 698: debated on Tuesday 29 June 2021

Since January this year, the review has conducted a public call for evidence, which has received more than 150 submissions, and has engaged with a wide range of interested parties at roundtable meetings and online public roadshow events. The evidence-gathering period has now concluded. The panel is now considering the evidence and will draft its report over the summer. The report will then be published, as will the Government’s response.

What does the Secretary of State want to achieve with his review? He will be aware that as long as we remain a party to the European convention on human rights, the rights that are available to citizens as a consequence cannot be altered. Any changes to the Human Rights Act would just return us to the situation that we had before the Act, when we could only enforce the remedies for these rights by going to Strasbourg. Is that what the Government want to achieve here?

I know that the right hon. Gentleman will read the review’s findings with great care. I have been clear that this is not about changing the fundamental rights themselves, as he has quite rightly observed; it is about the way in which the domestic courts implement and interpret those rights. It is about the mechanism, if you like. It is now 20 years since the Act came into force and I think it is right at this juncture to give it a careful examination. That is what the independent review is all about. As he would expect, it will be followed up by the fullest consultation, in which I know he will play a vigorous part.