Rt Hon Lord Lilley


    Mr Lilley yesterday said:

    “After the war we codified British liberties in the European Convention of Human Rights for the benefit of countries emerging from fascism. Everyone assumed it would have no impact on the UK since we already had those Rights. But we did not realise that we had given the power to a Court to interpret that list of abstract liberties as if they were absolute truths, and then invent, rewrite, or even strike down British laws. 


    But laws rights are not absolute. 
    One right must always be balanced against another. The rights to free speech and free expression must be balanced against the right to privacy or the right to our reputation under the laws of libel. That balance, reconciliation and limiting of extremes is essentially a political matter and it has always, in the last resort, been made by a political body-Parliament.   British liberties evolved through Parliament making laws and the courts elaborating and clarifying them, as well as common law, subject to Parliament having the last word if it did not agree with what the courts had done.


     “The long-term solution is for us to entrench the Convention on Human Rights in our own law and resile from the treaty on the European Court. Our courts should be able to interpret the convention rights, with Parliament having the last word.”

    “Although not binding on the Government, the fact that MPs voted ten to one in favour of the motion rejecting the European Court’s demand that Britain give prisoners the right to vote will strengthen the governments hand in negotiations with the Court.”


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