Conservative proposals to repeal the Human Rights Act and replace it with a ‘Bill of Rights’ have hit a stumbling block as the European Commission has made it clear that adherence to the European Convention of Human Rights is a key requirement of EU membership.
The party has stated that should it win an outright majority in 2015 they would seek to ‘break the formal link between British courts and the European Court of Human Rights.’
In a statement outlining future plans it states that: “In future Britain’s courts will no longer be required to take into account rulings from the Court in Strasbourg. This will make our Supreme Court the ultimate arbiter of human rights matters in the UK.”
However the proposals have been met with anger by UKIP leader Nigel Farage MEP who said they were “utterly insincere” and “simply being done as a response to UKIP pressure.”
The anti-EU party has continued to see its poll ratings rise over the months since they won the European Elections although latest polls show the Conservative Party are currently leading in public opinion following a strong speech by David Cameron at the party’s annual conference.
The Conservatives have seen support drift to UKIP with particular peaks during high profile ‘Human Rights’ cases and when immigration failures hit the news.
Responding to the latest statement, UKIP has published answers by the European Commission to Mr Farage which state that:
“The Union’s accession to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms will confer to the latter the same legal value within the Union’s legal order as that which any other agreement concluded by the Union enjoys pursuant Article 216(2) TFEU. Such agreements have a lower rank than the Treaties but a higher rank than any other act of the institutions.”
They also confirmed that the ECHR is considered ‘primary law’:
According to Article 6(3) of the Treaty on European Union, the fundamental rights, as guaranteed by the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms constitute general principles of the Union’s law. The general principles of the Union’s law are part of the Union’s primary law.
This answer from the Commission fits with the rulings from the March 1989 ‘Factortame’ case where the House of Lords confirmed the supremacy of EU law over national law.
Breitbart London contacted the Conservative Party press office to request details on how these issues would be resolved but so far no answer has been received.
Whilst the Conservatives may be reticent on certain points of their new proposal, UKIP are confident that they will not be possible whilst the UK remains a member state.
Mr Farage added, “Unless and until we leave the European Union, this country will remain committed to the provisions of the ECHR. To pretend otherwise is utterly dishonest.”