Site Meter

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Why Charlie Elphicke MP does not know what he is talking about and should be ignored

Why Charlie Elphicke MP does not know what he is talking about and should be ignored.

Charlie Elphicke MP: Why I'm introducing a British Bill of Rights and Responsibilities Charlie Elphicke is the Member of Parliament for Dover and Deal.  Follow Charlie on Twitter.

The reform of human rights laws should be a key pledge of a future Conservative Government. We should sweep away Labour's Human Rights Act and replace it with a British Bill of Rights and Responsibilities.

A key element of a British Bill of Rights would be to ensure our freedoms are under the control of the UK Supreme Court and not European judges in Strasbourg. It's wrong for judges in Strasbourg to decide these things. British judges in British Courts should have the final say in line with the laws passed by Parliament. Moreover this is what the British people want, with three out of four people citing the Human Rights Act as a charter for crooks and cheats in a recent You Gov poll.

The fact that the British people feel so strongly is not surprising when you look at what the current European human rights set up does - many feel it creates more problems than it sets out to correct.

All too often under the current human rights laws, it is villains and terrorists who appear to have the upper hand. Remember all that trouble about throwing out Abu Qatada? And the case of Aso Mohammed Ibrahim who knocked down and killed 12-year-old Amy Houston back in 2003, and yet was allowed to remain in the UK as immigration judges ruled that sending him home would breach his right to a ‘private and family life’? We should be able to secure our borders and deport people who commit crimes without delay. Nor should it be so difficult to uphold the principle that criminals should lose certain social rights - including the right to vote in elections.

There is a real sense among a lot of people who come to see me at my surgeries that our citizens do not have the protection under our laws that they should have.  If a Briton commits a crime in Britain, that person should be tried before the British Courts under our laws. This is why many of the recent extradition cases have caused so much public concern.

Many worry that our long held freedoms have not been sufficiently protected in recent times; fundamental principles like freedom of speech and freedom of religion too often lie under siege.

At the heart of any society must lie a basic social contract, a contract where rights are matched by responsibilities. You don't hear much about that when human rights are discussed. It always seems to be "I know my rights" but should we not instead hear more about knowing your responsibilities? Such a social contract should lie at the heart of a British Bill of Rights and Responsibilities.

 It is because we need to protect our ancient customs, liberties and freedoms that yesterday I tabled a British Bill of Rights and Responsibilities to replace the Human Rights Act.  This will be debated in due course. We have to be able to protect the freedoms we cherish, safeguard our borders and deal effectively with criminals and terrorists. I believe we – the UK - should have the final say on our rights and the social contract that lies at the heart of our society, not Europe or anywhere else. We can and should stand on our own two feet as a country.


It might be recalled that prior to the last general election the Tory party manifesto pledged to scrap the Human Rights Act 1998 and replace it with a British Bill of Rights. Charlie Elphicke MP, who used to be a solicitor specialising in tax, is advocating the same old message rather than dealing with the tax loopholes, such as that crawled through by Jimmy Carr, which are costing us £bns each year. Human rights law is a specialist area of law of which he knows very little or nothing about.

It is our HRA and not Labour's as falsely claimed by Elphicke, although Labour promised a British Bill of Rights in their manifesto in 1997, and subsequently the HRA became part of our domestic law. The Tories are not happy with this because they do not feel that we should be entitled to human rights unless they are balanced against our responsibilities. Under the Ministerial Code David Cameron is responsible for abiding by the UK's treaty obligations. However, in the Prisoners Votes Case, he has failed to act responsibly. Then there is the expenses fiddling by MPs and Lords, it cannot be argued that all those robbing the public purse were acting responsibly. The issue of responsibilities is separate from human rights which are fundamental and are granted because we are human beings and cannot be removed on account of a false balancing exercise with our responsibilities by a State authority.

Our freedoms are under the control of the UK Supreme Court. However, the UK has signed up to the Council of Europe, ECHR and ECtHR, and it would be unfair if the UK was allowed to decide for itself whether it has violated our human rights. Justice demands that an independent body be the judge in a dispute between the Individual v the State. The UK has been a part of Europe for a number of years. Although there are those who are opposed to this European integration, Britain is not an island entirely unto itself and it is in our best interests to remain part of Europe and not sever all links. For a member of the legal profession to mislead the public like Charlie Elphicke MP is doing is simply being dishonest. If all 47 Member States claimed the right for their courts and Parliament to have the final say on the protection of human rights, then there would be no Council of Europe and only 47 independent States. The British Empire is dead and gone, we are now part of a team and must engage as a team player and stop this false 1 of us and 46 of them nonsense mentality. If the British people wanted what Elphicke is claiming they want, the Tories would have got a mandate from the electorate at the last general election. The public were right not to trust the Tories with total power.

It is laughable that Elphicke is arguing for a social contract which is something that some 17th and 18th century philosophers argued we should have. I want to go forward in time not backwards to the bad old days. What the racist and xenophobic Elphicke is really arguing for is a totalitarian or authoritarian regime, and withdrawal from the ECHR. Britain is no longer a leading world power and we cannot go it alone. We would be declared a rogue or pariah State and our relationships with other countries for trade would be with other dictatorships. If Elphicke's ideas were not so funny he would be deemed dangerous and locked up in a mental asylum.

No comments: