HIS own constituents are now among those that Salisbury MP John Glen has deemed are not worthy of human rights.

In View from the Commons (Journal, July 11) he uses the final deportation of Abu Qatada to declare his support for proposals to scrap the Human Rights Act.

It’s not that he is against human rights as such.

He did, for example, respond magnificently to a campaign by human rights champions Salisbury Amnesty International against the horrendous concentration camps in North Korea.

But then things start getting confusing because he seems to link the length of time it has taken to deport Qatada with a call to scrap the Human Rights Act (HRA).

We may agree with him that the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) needs reforming in order to reduce its huge backlog of cases – but how does that link to scrapping the HRA?

The answer seems to be that he regards the decisions taken in this case were “unjustifiable”.

However, ECHR blocked Qatada’s deportation because of concerns that he would not receive a fair trial in Jordan. So, although we might disagree with the decision, it was hardly “unjustifiable”.

He makes no mention of a Bill of Rights to replace the HRA but only to reforming “our relationship” with the ECHR. This should be taken in the context of the Home Secretary’s announcement that withdrawal from the European Convention on Human Rights would not be ruled out under a future Conservative government.

Indeed, Mr Glen seems to forestall any real attempt to reform the ECHR by implying that it can only make decisions that he and the Conservatives happen to agree with – anything else must, by definition, be “unjustifiable”. And no court can operate in such conditions under the rule of law.

So, our MP appears to want nobody in the UK, including his own constituents, to be covered by universal human rights enforceable by law.

The irony is that the Home Secretary has managed to improve Qatar’s human rights by ensuring he receives a fair trial in his own country – albeit reluctantly – while threatening to tear up the HRA at home, which includes the right to a fair trial.


IT was alarming to read John Glen’s enthusiasm for the scrapping of the Human Rights Act. This act was introduced in the post war years to provide a civilised basis for Europe’s legal systems. It was largely written by British and French lawyers and the influence of the Magna Carta can clearly be seen.

The Coalition Government said when it came into power: “We will establish a commission to investigate the creation of a British Bill of Rights that incorporates and builds on all our obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights, ensures that these rights continue to be enshrined in British law, and protects and extends British liberties. We will seek to promote a better understanding of the true scope of these obligations and liberties.”

This is rather different from “scrapping it”, I suggest.

The act protects free speech and freedom of thought, conscience and religion. It requires that people are entitled to a fair trial and are innocent until proven guilty. It bans the use of torture, it prohibits servitude and slavery, it provides the right to an education and for free elections, and it gives us the right to privacy.

These are all things that we expect, and to some extent take for granted. Which of these does Mr Glen and some of his colleagues want to take away?