Human Rights Bill [Lords] — No remedial order before determination of European Commission of Human Rights — 21 Oct 1998

As amended (in the Committee), considered.

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

With this Bill we now turn from the damage being done to the economy by the Government to the damage which, alas, is being done to our constitution. I do not think that that is the intention of the Home Secretary, but he is party to it.

We have two main debates on this aspect. First, there is the debate on new clause 2 which relates to the need for an appeal to Strasbourg for the Government and for local authorities in certain circumstances. Secondly, there is our continued resistance to the Government's proposal for a fast-track system for remedial orders--in other words, for a system whereby, if there is a declaration of incompatibility by our courts, instead of the matter coming before Parliament for a proper Bill and Act of Parliament in the normal way, with full consideration by the House, the matter can simply be pushed through with a three-hour debate after a period of outside consultation. Both those matters are important if our constitution is not to be damaged.

The purpose of the new clause, to which we return because of the rather uncomprehending and unsatisfactory response by the Government in Committee, is to make clear what is unclear at present--that is, that the object of the Bill and incorporation of the convention is to bring our law into line with that of Strasbourg and make it easier for UK citizens to get a ruling from our domestic courts on issues that would hitherto have been taken to Strasbourg.

I hope that the Home Secretary agrees that the object is not to create a substitute constitution in the broad language of the convention, against which our domestic courts might be tempted to reshape our law in a way that goes further than the requirements of the convention. The

21 Oct 1998 : Column 1295

convention was not designed to become a substitute written constitution for the United Kingdom. It was designed to keep UK law in line with the human rights law of Council of Europe member states, as declared in Strasbourg.

Question put, That the clause be read a Second time:--

The House divided: Ayes 132, Noes 372.

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Party Summary

Votes by party, red entries are votes against the majority for that party.

What is Tell? '+1 tell' means that in addition one member of that party was a teller for that division lobby.

What are Boths? An MP can vote both aye and no in the same division. The boths page explains this.

What is Turnout? This is measured against the total membership of the party at the time of the vote.

PartyMajority (No)Minority (Aye)BothTurnout
Con0 127 (+2 tell)079.6%
DUP0 1050.0%
Lab328 (+2 tell) 0079.1%
LDem39 0084.8%
PC2 0050.0%
SNP3 0050.0%
UUP0 4040.0%
Total:372 132078.5%

Rebel Voters - sorted by party

MPs for which their vote in this division differed from the majority vote of their party. You can see all votes in this division, or every eligible MP who could have voted in this division

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no rebellions

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