MP Richard Bacon

South Norfolk MP’s bid to scrap Human Rights Act fails

Wednesday, December 5, 2012
9.59 AM

The House of Commons last night rejected a Conservative Norfolk MP’s bid to get the Human Rights Act scrapped.

South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon claimed the Act, passed by Tony Blair’s Labour in 1998, allowed the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg to unduly influence British law and to supersede Parliament.

In particular he highlighted recent controversy over the government’s failed attempts to deport the radical cleric Abu Qatada and the ECHR ruling which said prisoners in the UK should be allowed to vote in elections.

Mr Bacon told MPs in the Commons: “A supra-national court can impose its will against ours and, in my view, this is fundamentally undemocratic.

“Judges do not have access to a tablet of stone not available to the rest of us that allow them better to discern what our people need than we can possibly do as their elected, fallible, corrigible representatives.”

Mr Bacon introduced a motion to repeal the Act yesterday afternoon but Labour MPs, led by Thomas Docherty, defended the legislation as one of their party’s most important reforms during 13 years in government.

He said: “How can we ask developing countries, the new democracies, to respect human rights when we seek to remove them from our statute book?”

After a vote the motion was defeated by 195 against to 72 in favour.