Carl Gardner

Martin Howe QC: Tories will pull out of the ECHR unless Strasbourg okays our plan

October 9, 2014

A Conservative government will withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights after the 2015 election, Martin Howe QC made clear yesterday evening, unless European countries agree their “British Bill of Rights” fulfils the UK’s international obligations. The QC most closely associated with the Tory promise to repeal the Human Rights Act spelled the position out during a panel discussion at Gray’s Inn organised […]

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Full of sound and fury on human rights

October 3, 2014

The Conservative plan for a “British Bill of Rights and Responsibilities” is finally being made clear today. Here is the full Tory policy document, with my detailed comments. The tone of the proposals is harsh and uncompromising, and politically calculated to be. Lawyers will be shocked, and yes, some of their clients will be worse off. Tory Eurosceptics and tabloids will […]

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“Protecting Human Rights in the UK”: the Tory human rights plan

October 3, 2014

Here’s the Conservative policy document to be unveiled today. Click on the bottom left of the viewer for full screen mode, if you’d like to see my detailed comments on the text, including quite a few points made in it that I see as misleading. Or if you prefer, here’s a “clean” copy without my […]

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What Cameron said about human rights today – and what he might have said instead

October 1, 2014

Here’s the human rights passage from David Cameron’s speech to the Conservative conference today. He gave no detail, but seemed to signal that the Conservatives will choose what earlier this week I called Option 2 – the relatively moderate choice of amending the Human Rights Act and relabelling it a “British Bill of Rights” without attempting to […]

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On Liberty, by Shami Chakrabarti

October 1, 2014

Liberty’s director is a great communicator, both in front of an audience and in the media; and partly because of that, this book is a little bit disappointing. The jacket calls On Liberty a “frank and personal book” and there are flashes of the personal about it. Chakrabarti talks to some extent about her son and her parents, […]

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What might the Tory human rights plan be?

September 29, 2014

#97434491 / gettyimages.com Although Tory hostility to human rights law is obvious, there’s been vagueness till now about what actual policy a Conservative government would pursue. For a long time the plan was to draft a “British Bill of Rights” the content of which was unclear – and the idea hasn’t gone away. There’s been talk […]

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Britain can lawfully attack “the Islamic State” in both Iraq and Syria

September 26, 2014

For once, there’s no legal controversy about American and potential British military action in Iraq. I don’t think anyone’s claiming it’d be unlawful for the RAF to carry out air strikes on “Islamic State” targets in Nineveh province, or near the borders of Iraqi Kurdistan. Not even the Stop the War Coalition raises international law […]

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Chelsea Manning’s “cruel and unusual punishment” legal argument

September 25, 2014

Private Chelsea Manning, currently serving 35 years in a US military prison for offences relating to the disclosure of classified documents to Wikileaks, is now taking legal action against the US Department of Defense and others to compel them, by means of an injunction, to allow her treatment for gender dysphoria, including hormone treatment. The Guardian has published […]

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Let’s avoid a huge constitutional talkfest

September 24, 2014

The main constitutional business that ought to be on MPs’ minds at the moment is how to deliver the party leaders’ “Vow” to grant “extensive new powers” to the Scottish Parliament. The extent of powers to be transferred, and particularly the extent of power over tax that will be devolved, is far more urgent and […]

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Two types of constitutional convention

September 24, 2014

The phrase constitutional convention has two distinct meanings, something it’s useful to be aware of when reading about plans for constitutional reform in the UK. The first is what I call the modest sense, corresponding to Oxford Dictionaries meaning number 1, of an unwritten understanding or practice by which people feel bound. In the context […]

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