Queen’s Speech 2015 - Plans for repeal of Human Rights Act on hold, but privacy and free speech under threat

27 May 2015

Today the Government appeared to delay plans to replace the Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights and Responsibilities.  While many of the Conservative manifesto commitments were in the legislative agenda, the Queen’s speech said only that ‘proposals’ would be brought forward for a British Bill of Rights.

Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty, said:

“It is heartening that a Conservative Government committed to scrapping the Human Rights Act has at least paused for thought in its first Queen’s speech. There is a long struggle ahead but time is the friend of freedom. The more this new Parliament understands the value of the HRA for all of us in this United Kingdom and our reputation in the world- the more it is likely to understand how dangerous it would be to replace human rights with mere citizens' privileges.”

However a number of concerning plans, trailed in advance of the speech, will be brought forward by the Government:

  • An Investigatory Powers Bill will revive plans for a Snoopers’ Charter, giving State bodies wide-ranging new tools to collect and process all of our communications data. 
  • An Extremism Bill will create new banning orders, extremism disruption orders and closure orders, curbing free speech under the guise of tackling extremist behaviour. 
  • And an Immigration Bill will include plans to criminalise undocumented migrants working in the UK and confiscate their earnings. It will also extend deport first appeal later provisions risking huge injustice and separating families.

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